You may know that adult coloring books are one of the hottest things around these days. As I write this, they make up four of the top ten best selling books on Amazon. Yes, coloring books! A lot of people, sociologists and psychologists included, have been weighing in on the reason. So I figured, why can’t an unqualified, armchair psychologist like me take a swing at it, too?
People say the act of coloring is relaxing. It allows for a kind of focused effort that takes them away from their nagging To-Do lists. It’s an inexpensive escape from life’s stresses. A time machine to childhood. A mental vacation. A simple form of meditation.
Sure, coloring is all that stuff. But I think the best part is that it’s so dang easy. Most people appreciate the need for a creative outlet. Problem is, learning an instrument takes skill. Knitting takes skill. Painting takes skill. Not to mention years of dedicated practice.
Coloring takes crayons.
And that’s about it. No months or years of frustration and angst. Just a black and white sheet of paper and a good old box of Crayolas.
Yet there’s still a creative component to it. You need to make color choices. You need to have a bit of hand-eye coordination. It’s physical and mental. You can do it anywhere, on any budget.
The key to happiness in any creative endeavor is the ability to focus on process rather than product. To enjoy it for the sake of doing it, without stressing out about how it looks, or sounds, or whether you’ll sell it or become famous from it.
With coloring books, the expectations are nil. Heck, if toddlers and monkeys can do it, why not a full grown adult? Coloring reminds us that it’s okay to enjoy the process. Like when we were kids. Like when we did things because they were F-U-N. Without judgment. Without purpose. Without any goal to work toward. Not because our jobs or our egos or our livelihoods depended on it.
Everyone should have something like that. A creative pursuit they practice for pure enjoyment and nothing else.
I admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve peeled back the lid on one of those 128-pack boxes of crayons. But maybe I should.
I’d probably be a lot less stressed out.