We usually think of coloring as something kids do but have you noticed the growing popularity of adult coloring books? More and more, I find myself recommending adult coloring books to patients, especially elderly or medically-compromised, chronically ill patients, as a way to keep their minds off of their pain (physical and emotional). Not only can patients get lost for hours in coloring, but there is a sense of pride in what they subsequently create even thru their pain. I teach patients that art is about the process not the product or outcome. It’s about expression thru creation. That said, I’ll never tire of my patients proudly sharing with me their pieces and creations like this beautiful piece a patient allowed me to share! Another patient has created a near gallery of the stunning and vibrant pieces he’s created over the months. Not only did doing so help him feel in control of his immense anxiety and depression around health issues. This sweet man’s passion for art and creating beautiful pieces to gift his family have helped him get thru coping with a return of his cancer and decision to discontinue chemo/radiation while enjoying quality of life. He proudly shares his creations with me each meeting, and the peace that has overcome him despite months of medical stressors is unforgettable.
An adaptation to the coloring that incorporates elements of the therapeutic art and benefits of meditation is mindful coloring. Next time you have a few minutes on your hands, try it! Go to my page on Emotional Confidence, choose a guided meditation to play from the section on relaxation/sleep, and listen to it while you color in an adult coloring book. Guided meditations are unique in that they offer scripted audio that walks you through a journey (thru the clouds, by the ocean, down a creek, in the jungle, etc). You can find guided meditations to help you cope with a variety of challenges in life from regret and grief to pain, insomnia, nightmares, love lost, and the pursuit of love!
When it comes to choosing the adult coloring books, many of my patients choose to order mandala coloring books as they allow for a unique intricacy in the use of color and design. You can order these books at any bookstore, many dollar stores, and of course online. Click here are a few examples on Amazon, and enjoy! Pay special notice to the words and phrases that stand out to you from the guided meditation as you color. It’s pretty remarkable how these sometimes transition nicely into life-changing affirmations that are more easily committed to memory, such as “I am safe,” “I am loved,” “Tomorrow’s a new day,” and “I’ll be just fine.”
By the way, clients have shared that they have found several apps to be great for coloring if not on paper: “Happy Color” is one; 10 x 10 games is another. One referred me to the TedTalk: “Embrace the Shake” for those who develop a hand tremor that interferes with their art…clients inspire me everyday. Enjoy!