Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

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The Merits of Coloring

When I was in my twenties and first tasted therapy, we used to talk about simple ways to take care of my “inner child.” That concept is still around, but not as much as it used to be. Anyhow, that is when I started coloring. I just used coloring books that were lying around. I did find them soothing and it tapped into something young inside me. The goal was to nurture myself.

Too bad I wasn’t more of an entrepreneur back then. I could have marketed the idea. Adult coloring books are all the rage now. Hell, I knew they were helpful a few decades ago!

I got some adult books for my birthday this year. Frankie thinks I’m ridiculous because coloring is actually on my to-do list. But that’s the way my mind works. If I think it’s important, it goes on a list. Otherwise I just don’t remember. I’ve got way too much spinning around my head all of the time. The only bad part about that, is that something that starts out as a pleasure then becomes a duty because it’s on the damn list.

It’s right at the top of my daily list. I fill a fresh glass of lemon water and then it’s coloring. I spend about 15 minutes a day, sometimes less, sometimes more. And I must admit that I roll my eyes when the day is daunting and I’m sorry I ever put it on the list. I sit down and pull out a color pencil and start. I think if I go faster I will get it done more quickly and can move on to the more important things on the list.

It never fails. Not once since I’ve started doing it. About 30 seconds in (maybe a minute on a tough day) I find myself breathing slower and starting to relax. That’s why the cover of the book says “have a calmer life by coloring.” For me, it really has been true. It is my centering time in the morning.

I admit that I long for my simpler kid books once in a while. Some of these adult pictures are so detailed and tiny. My poor old eyes can’t take it. In the end though, I have to say they are pretty cool looking. Maybe even gift worthy. They take hours and hours to complete, but it feels good to watch it take form.

If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d do some research as to why coloring is so calming. There has to be some scientific reason for it. The truth is, I don’t really care. I just know for those brief moments, I am lost. I don’t think about the millions of things that lay heavy on my heart every moment. I forget and just stroke the page and see the colors. It’s quite lovely.

Don’t be surprised if your Christmas present is a page ripped out of a coloring book. You might think it’s lame, but know I spent many, many hours with my mind and heart at its best.