The art of mindful colouring
On 2 August 2018 it is Colouring Book Day.
Colouring has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years. It is enjoyed by children and adults alike as a hobby, part of larger art projects and to assist with Mindfulness.
The first colouring book was, apparently, established in the late 1800’s in America by the McLoughlin Brothers. They released “The Little Folks Painting Book”. They continued to produce these books right up until the 1920’s. Since then the colouring book has evolved into something that the McLoughlin Brothers probably would not have ever imagined.
I have always loved to colour, since a child. When I was little I used to take great pride in keeping my bold and bright colouring between the lines and ripping the pages out of the book to present as loving gifts to my family. I remember quite vividly a crudely coloured jungle scene pinned to the wall in our kitchen for many years. I do the same now with my own children.
My colouring has evolved though.
As a Mental Health Lawyer I receive information from Occupational Therapists and Art Therapists all of the time. I see how art and colouring is used to calm an anxious mind.
I decided to try it for myself.
In shops and online there is a myriad of Mindfulness Colouring books that there are on the market and I wonder, does it really work?
The sheer intricacies of the designs to colour make me think that actually colouring maybe anxiety inducing. But I was wrong.
I purchase a colouring book. And a set of colouring pencils that made my old stubby crayons I had as a child look very old fashioned.
With a design in the book that I liked the look of, off I go.
Hunched over that book I am completely absorbed in the task. Picking the colours without rules was liberating. Colouring and shading might seem monotonous but it is so soothing and, yes, my anxious mind is well and truly calmed.
I have since purchased and completed a number of these colouring books.
In fact I carry a pocket sized one with me. I colour at lunch time if the day is stressful. Or if I simply need a moment to still my mind. To remind myself to experience that moment as fully as I can rather than constantly anticipating the next problem, the next hurdle, the next task and so on.
Just to prove the point, here is my latest project….
Give it a go – being mindful doesn’t have to mean meditation, personal contemplation or other grounding techniques.
It can be the quiet and satisfying pursuit of pencil on paper.