The Adult Coloring Craze
by Maggie Amjad
Over the past year, coloring books have come back into the everyday life of adults. When browsing any book store entire sections are now dedicated to the latest phenomenon of adult coloring books. The books are filled with intricate patterns and designs waiting for a stressed students to spend the time coloring each tiny shape. Originally I was opposed to the new practice, and could not see the good in wasting precise time that could be used to conquer the tasks at the root of my anxiety. Over the holidays, I received a coloring book, and a coloring calendar from relatives. As I opened to page one of the book excited to kill some time on a road trip, I found a few diagrams showing the most appealing color combinations, but this truly just further stressed me out. I was beginning to feel like there was a right and wrong way to color. I pushed my qualms aside and whipped out my new pack of colored pencils, only to feel dissatisfied with the single kaleidoscope flower I colored in. Since then, my coloring book has sat on a bookshelf mocking me.
Despite my rocky relationship with adult coloring books, all I have heard from others is praise. Sophomores Colleen Lux and Brooke Sheffler agree that coloring books are “the best things created on earth, and there should be clubs for adults to go to and color together.” Erica Kahn, and Emma Borrow feel the same way. Sophomore senate representative Ela Passarelli closer aligns with my opinion and feels that “Adult coloring books are kind of dumb because as adults we should be able to draw the things ourselves if we want to draw and not just color shapes in an adult coloring books are no different than children’s coloring books just more expensive.” Our opinions differ due to my continual feeling that coloring is a waste of time, and just increases my stress while decreasing my allotted time for a specific task. I am obviously an outlier in my opinion of coloring, so I began researching the claimed benefits of taking time each day to color.
Most coloring books are purchased as an outlet for stress, or as a mindless activity. Similar to practicing yoga, meditation or aromatherapy, they are meant for relaxation and as an opportunity to escape the daily grind. Many of the books, promise stress relief and despite my doubts, there are many doctors that support the use of coloring books. A neuropsychologist, and coloring book author, Dr. Stan Rodski, finds the effects of coloring similar to those of meditation where the subject is able to focus on one single task of coloring instead of multitasking (medical daily). In addition to this, a 2006 study found that art therapy decreased physical and emotional symptoms during treatment, and can also suppress anxiety, depression, dementia and PTSD (medical daily).
After researching the medical effects of coloring, I was really surprised. I never knew how beneficial the simple act of coloring could be, and I know I definitely will be pulling my coloring book off the shelf sooner than later and once again test out these theories.