I know that if you are anything like me you have looked at that color book on your child’s desk or the placemat at the restaurant for children and wished you were a child again if only for a moment in time, just so you can color. And if you are even more like me then you have actually taken over the color book a time or two in the name of showing the child where the lines are that need to be adhered to.
Well, great news! It would appear that you can now color without people looking at you like you lost your mind. Last week I opened my mail and my mom sent me a color book. (Thank you mom!) So this reminded me of sitting at the train station in Brussels and texting my mom, “I am in the wrong business, they have color books for grownups starting at 48 Euro each!” She said that is a lot of money. Almost a year later I get a grown up color book, it’s not polite to ask how much she paid (so I won’t), and I broke into my five year old’s color box and started to color. I felt so relaxed, I fell to sleep without much trouble.
I journaled (my client’s will tell you that I love to journal and love to assign it as well) about why I thought I felt relaxed. I discovered that while I love art, I often feel a lot of pressure to be creative. I am also short on funds, oils and canvases are expensive. I also find myself fighting with my daughter about why she can’t paint with my paints. Then there is the time, I always run out of time, mostly because I am always tired (lots of reading, Lupus, Military Spouse, 5 year-old daughter, starting my own business). So finding something I could do in bed was crucial. My go to’s, painting, stained glass, sewing, knitting (none of these recommended when you are tired). Oh and most not recommended in bed.
Then there’s the amazing drawings that someone took the time and control to draw awesome pictures that I just know were meant for me to color. Thank you artists! Without you I would be still in a forever quest to find stress relieving activities. Because of these artists there is no need for me to be creative. I just color the pictures. However, I do really enjoy making simple rules like no two colors of the same family touching each other. Or opposites must touch only. It gives me control over my creative freedom, allowing me the opportunity to allow chance to show me the beauty of chance.
I liked that I didn’t have to do math, measure, set-up, tear-down, fight with anyone and it only requires a box of colors, chalks, pastels, and whatever you have lying around.
Just the other day I opened the newspaper at the library and came across an article about coloring. I set out to do some research on this (I don’t put a lot of stock into commentary pieces). I do love the option to research what I want, sorry fellow grad students. This is what I found…
…As it turns out it is good for your health to color. It lowers your stress levels your anxiety and best of all it allows you to sleep better.
Sleep adds to your health and wellness. This is something that all people can benefit from. According to the Center for Disease Control we all could use more sleep, only 1/3 of people in America get good sleep. So many people complain about sleep and the lack thereof that pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars a year off your need to get sleep
Coloring also leads to quality conversation around the dinner table. It makes it easy to put the phone or tablet down if you are coloring and your family can engage in thoughtful conversation while you color together. As they may soon be saying “A family that colors together, stays together”.
There is also the need to just let go! Let the creative juices flow and let go of all the stressors of the world. One of my favorite Psychologists, Carl Jung would apply coloring to his stressed clients for relaxation. You have heard of the homework before they are called Mandalas. Dr. Ayala suggests we activate different areas of our brains when we color.
So are you worried about things out of your control, I know you probably are, so google adult coloring books or pages (I can’t guarantee G rated results) and color your way to a restful slumber. This is a lot cheaper than your therapist but not as dynamic J
So grab those colors and start coloring! Enjoy your sleep!
Shannon Shadman, LPC, MSMHC, NCC, M.Ed.