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Day 3 | Adult Coloring: A Complete Waste of Time or Way to Get Zen?

Day 3 | Adult Coloring: A Complete Waste of Time or Way to Get Zen?

The argument continues: Is the new adult coloring craze a complete waste of time or a way to get Zen? Does it have brain/body benefits? Or does it prove you never moved past 2nd grade? And what if the answer is both??

You can weigh in with your vote in the comments section. Feel free! If you want fuel for your fire, click these links to hear some of the thoughts people are already sharing on both sides of the fence. Just look at the titles for a clue.



And here are a couple of quotes if you really don’t want to click around.

From BestKeptSelf.com: “According to psychologist, Gloria Martinez Ayala, … coloring lowers the activity of the amygdala in the brain which is involved in controlling emotion when it’s affected by stress. Because we are focused on coloring and coloring only (not checking our phones, while on our laptops, while also watching TV), we’re distracted from our worries while mimicking a childhood activity that brings out our imagination. By keeping our hands and our brains busy on something creative, we’re staying entirely in the present, blocking out any debilitating and intrusive thoughts.”

On the other hand, Russell Brand scoffs in a YouTube video, “’Move over meditation?’ Ha! You can’t replace meditation—contact with your innermost self, true consciousness & perhaps a cosmic consciousness behind all reality—with coloring in!”

Personally, I think they’re both right.

In college, I was legally an adult. But my friends & I thought nothing of having coloring parties. Sometimes beer was involved, but often it was just a case of a stressful week of test-taking & waiting tables that drove us to spontaneously gather en masse & dole out copies of The Lion King & Snow White coloring books, a fat carton of Crayolas & some good ‘90s grunge music, then sprawl out on couches, chairs, love seats & floor pillows, & color our little ‘adult’ hearts out. More often than not, males & females both joined in. I was always amazed at how creative my guy friends would be when coloring, drawing psychedelic rainbow-colored Simbas or sometimes adding—*ahem*—anatomy to Snow White’s image. Their creativity challenged me to step up my game in a way that coloring alone for peace or boredom—something else I did into my 20s—did not usually do.

Admitting that I’ve succumbed to the adult coloring craze, for me, is akin to admitting I ever went through a phase of reading Harlequin romance novels (fortunately, pre-adulthood, that phase hit me in middle school) or watching The Real Housewives series on TV. … Sadly, I must confess, that one I did in my 30s.

But last weekend, while speaking on a panel at the LiveWell Retreat (post to come), I was pleasantly jolted when fellow panelist & career coach Maria Faletti shared unabashedly about how she accepts that she enjoys watching “really bad TV,” because it centers her & allows her to unplug from her real worries for awhile. My chosen coloring page today depicted a collage of flowers, seeds, wheelbarrows & other gardening implements. Would I have connected even more healthy neuro-pathways & strengthened myself more soundly, spiritually & physiologically, by actually gardening? Hands down, the answer is yes. But after a day spent doing laundry, tidying up the kitchen, taking the kids to the park, the lakefront & a festival, & answering fifty million mommy requests (give or take), 6 minutes spent coloring in pretty pictures before I made dinner gave me just the right hit of mini-mindfulness that I needed. And as a bonus for me, there are times when my 3-year old colors pictures of Iron Man while I color mandalas, & we share colored pencils & bond together. Getting a little mindful me-time while also crafting quality-time memories with my child? I consider that priceless!


Day 3 Mini-Mindfulness Tool:
Adult Coloring
. … So, what do you think? Am I cool or am I a fool?!ae-day3-adult-colring

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