As part of the research for my next book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit, with Aliza Sherman, I’m not just reading, but actually testing out some of the techniques suggested for mindfulness. One of the most popular: coloring books. Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Adult coloring books, filled with mesmerizing designs and even swear words are a hit, not just because it is fun to color. Adult coloring books can help you de-stress.
According to clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, Psy.D., they can help us be mindful. “Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness. It is a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves and can be relaxing.” While coloring books have been around for a few years, their popularity soared this holiday season, adult coloring books were among the top selling books on Amazon.
When I was a kid, all you had to do to make me happy was give me crayons, paper, and coloring books. I could draw for hours. It was fun to re-experience the fun of drawing — and a good concentration booster in between staring at screens. I’m now a big fan of adult coloring books, markers and even the coloring apps you can do on your phone.
Here’s a few of my favorites.
- Adult Coloring Patterns – The most popular coloring book on Amazon!
- Color Me Calm – This coloring book has thicker paper, so magic markers don’t bleed
- Mindfulness Coloring Book – Its small size makes really convenient to take with you the plane when you travel
ArtMattersNJ has used coloring books as conference schwag. Anne Marie Miller shared that they gave adult coloring books & crayons out at their Art Matters booth at the NJ League of Municipalities conference last month. “They were a huge hit! The obtained them from a vendor and put their logo on it.
And, of course, you need to pick up some markers to color with. One of my favorites (photographed above) is the Copic Sparkle markers.
I also enjoy simple sketching because it is also relaxing. For 2016, I’m going to do a sketch a day to boost my visual thinking and note taking skills.
I also have coloring apps on my phone which are also relaxing, but much prefer paper and pen and an escape from the screen. There is a social component, so you can inspiration from checking out how others colored between the lines. Here’s a few apps:
And if you want to take this activity to next level, here’s a 3 D Coloring App.
Have you discovered the wonderful world of coloring books for mindfulness? If you’d like to get some more advice about how to de-stress, join Aliza Sherman and I for the Happy, Healthy Nonprofit Webinar hosted by Wild Apricot on January 14th. You can find out more and register here.