Sharpen your pencil crayons and get your erasers ready, because a new trend is on the rise and quickly gaining momentum! Thanks to the genius of artists such as Johanna Basford, colouring is no longer an activity just for kids! Basford’s colouring books for adults alone have sold more than a million copies, proving that many us are still kids at heart. I myself couldn’t resist the urge to purchase The Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Colouring Book after stumbling across it at Chapters, and I’ve been amazed by how much fun I’ve had using it since!
Surprisingly, colouring for adults isn’t exactly a new concept. For years therapists have been prescribing colouring as a method of coping with stress and depression. My personal method of coping with anxiety and stress is typically to pick up a book and start reading, but sometimes a book just won’t cut it. On days when I’m super stressed out, I find it almost impossible to focus on the words in front of me, and I usually end up reading the same paragraph over and over and over again until it finally sinks in. For some reason, however, colouring is different. As soon as I pick up one of my pencil crayons it’s like the rest of the world just melts away and the only thing that I can focus on is filling in the blank page.
Not only is colouring good for helping you to unwind and relax, but it can also improve your memory! A study in 2009 found that subjects who listened to a list of names being read out loud while they coloured could remember more of the names than those whose hands remained still. The researchers believe that doodling or colouring helps the brain to remain active by engaging the cerebal cortex, and as a result your ability to remember is improved.
These findings weren’t much of a surprise to me. For the past few years at work we’ve run a program called Cocoa Club, where school aged kids come each week to listen to a novel being read out loud. One of the librarians decided to give some of the fidgety kids colouring sheets to work on while they were listening, and quickly discovered that the kids in her group who coloured could remember more of the story then those who didn’t! Needless to say, colouring quickly became a weekly aspect of the Cocoa Club program!
On a more personal note, one of the things I’ve found that I love about using a colouring book is it’s ability to make me feel creative. I’ve always thought of myself as a creative person, and yet I can’t draw or paint to save my life. My attempts at doodling or drawing usually just end up making me feel frustrated and discouraged. Unlike drawing, colouring gives me a way to feel creative and inspired without the pressure that I put on myself for my art to be perfect.
So the next time that you’re feeling anxious or depressed, just pull out a box of crayons and let the stress just melt away! Whether its a Disney colouring book from the dollar store, or the beautiful, inky creations by Basford (seriously they are gorgeous!), colouring is a great past time that adults should start embracing with open arms!