A lot of people think that coloring is just one of the activities that help with keeping children occupied and engaged. It is usually associated with kids but in reality, coloring also gives therapeutic benefits to adults. No wonder it has become so popular these days. Unlike many popular ‘trends’, adult coloring is one that is beneficial to our well-being; and this has been proven by several scientific studies. Though some people argue that coloring can’t be considered ‘art therapy’, most colorists keep doing their stuff because they actually enjoy its numerous benefits.
In Korea, anti-stress coloring books and art materials (especially color pencils, markers and crayons) are having a moment being the bestsellers in lots of bookstores and online shops. The main reason for this craze is most probably the people’s state of mind. Not only adults are into coloring but also students who are dealing with a stressful school life everyday. If you only know how stressful it is to be a student in Korea, you would surely want to live in another country. Hehe! Anyway, I bought my first few adult coloring books almost a year ago at Kyobo Bookstore (교보문고). I hesitated at first because I have a very limited ability in coloring or drawing -Gosh, I can’t even draw a perfectly straight line! I was also anxious that I would be more stressed if I couldn’t do the coloring properly (Oh, the perfectionist in me -slight lang naman! Haha!). I just started coloring anyway; and I am glad I did. Coloring has not only given me a fun way to relieve stress but also taught me some life lessons.
- Each coloring page represents life. Our emotions, attitudes and actions are the crayons or pencils that give color to it. Life becomes so dark and dull if we fill it with negative thoughts and bitter feelings. If we fill it with love, compassion, kindness, laughter and dreams, the picture of our life will brighten up.
- Coloring is about being yourself. So what if you color the tree trunk purple or pink? Coloring is a personal pursuit; therefore, you can color however you want and no one has the right to judge your work. You don’t even need to show it to anyone else if you don’t want to. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter what others think of it.
- It’s okay not to be perfect. My coloring and my life aren’t perfect; and I am okay with it. We have to let go of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations of ourselves so we can truly appreciate the real life that we live as well as the person that we are. My picture may not have perfect line strokes, shading and lighting, but at least, it is colorful. And in my eyes, it is more than beautiful! Coloring has taught me not to focus too much on perfection at the first step of every journey but on making little improvements instead. It also taught me not to judge myself based on other people’s standards. As long as I am learning and making progress in what I do, I believe I am doing well.
- Color to express, not to impress. Coloring is self-exploration; it is a journey towards knowing your inner self more. The aim of this activity is to express one’s heart through colors and not to satisfy one’s craving for spotlight. Living life to please others is not the best way to find inner joy. You can’t please everybody; and there will always be those people who see only your mistakes and imperfections. If you live life to impress others, it would be hard to find peace of mind because you will always worry about not being good enough to look impressive or to meet other people’s standards. Your work should be the representation of everything that makes who you are (your passion, emotion, advocacies, etc.) and not just of what you think others would love. Think of those great artists; they express themselves regardless of how misunderstood they are.
- Good maintenance and tools increase effectiveness and make better results. In coloring, good quality materials (paper and pencils) help make beautiful and vividly colorful images. In life, our health, talents, mental state and relationships should be in balance and good condition to be able to achieve success and happiness.
While coloring may seem quite preschool-esque, I would definitely argue that it’s a fun activity for people of all ages and all walks of life. It’s something we can do not only when we are stressed but also when we are just in the mood to have fun with colors! 🙂