Sunday, December 13, 2015

Adult colouring - a mindfulness success!

There's nothing like a good fad to get tongues wagging at the water-cooler. Adult colouring seems to tick all of the fad boxes as far as conversation fodder goes: the books are everywhere, people are spending money on it, there's some who are evangelical converts, and it's slightly unusual enough to make people notice. Adult colouring, they say. Isn't colouring for kids? What's the point? Isn't it boring?

Then there are the people like me who heard about it and thought "huh." I liked colouring in as a kid, but haven't done anything that moderately resembles art since on account of being artistically impaired. Hearing about colouring also coincided with my mindfulness experiment failure, so I decided to give it a go.

It didn't take long to become a convert. At first, colouring was something I did with my kids. We have a colouring book each, and have spent many an hour sitting at the table, colouring. It's a nice activity to do together, so from that point of view alone the book was a worthwhile purchase.

After a while, though, I started colouring just to chill out and clear my mind. While some people are critical, for me it's a chance to clear my mind of clutter. The best thing is how, once the clutter is cleared, my mind starts to wander and I do some really good thinking. Not active mind-churning-problem-solving thinking, but relaxed non-thinking that is much more creative - the kind of thinking I only usually do during a long lonely car trip, or while going for a run. The kind of thinking that helps you solve problems, think about your priorities and daydream.

At risk of sounding like a the creators of this new fad are paying me a fee, I also think being forced to be mindful by colouring makes me happier. It's satisfying to create things, and that sort of active relaxation is much better for my mood than passive relaxation of the blobbing-in-front of TV variety. The other week I had one evening when I was feeling  listless and sad, so got out my pencils and book. It didn't take long to feel much better - more at peace, and much better within myself. Colouring is something that has now gone in my "how to cheer myself up when I'm down" toolbox, as it really does work.

I get it's not for everyone - I know some people think it's silly, don't see the point or don't have the attention span.  I like it though, so am very much on the adult colouring bandwagon. Finally - after all of this time - I've had a minor mindfulness success. 

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