Adult coloring books are winding up on bestseller lists around the world, and it turns out that coloring is more than just a fun way to pass the time. Studies show that the structured, rhythmic motion of coloring eases you into a meditative state, which allows you to push negative thoughts and worries out of your mind, and which induces a profound sense of relaxation. Coloring is also a great way to explore your creativity. Spending 15 minutes coloring an image can give you a sense of having accomplished something beautiful, and that can carry over into other parts of your life.
I’d been wanting to give coloring a try, so when Margaret Gates Root, the founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation, sent me a copy of her first adult coloring book, Color Cats, I ordered a set of gel pens, and got to work. And I had a blast. (And so did Allegra and Ruby. Batting gel pens all over the place is great kitty entertainment!)
Coloring brought back lovely childhood memories. I also enjoyed using a different aspect of my creative self. It was very apparent to me that coloring uses a different part of my brain than writing does. Even though writing usually comes fairly effortlessly to me, coloring seemed to just flow without me having to put any thought into it. I wanted to learn a little more about what the brain actually does when you’re coloring. What I came across in my research made me even more excited about coloring.
Dr. Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, says that concentrating on coloring an image may help replace negative thoughts and images with positive ones. Studies have found that playing the computer game Tetris can help people with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder.) Pearson thinks that coloring might work in similar ways. “You have to look at the shape and size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color,” Pearson told Nine MSN. “It should occupy the same parts of the brain that stops any anxiety-related mental imagery happening as well.”
Color Cats features 32 whimsical drawings. They are presented as single-sided images in landscape view, with the binding at the top of the images. This means they’re friendly for right or left-handed colorists, and there’s no binding to get in the way. You can view thumbnails of all 32 drawings or download sample pages at colorcats.org.
You can see my first attempt at coloring above. Unfortunately, making one of the cats a tortie did not quite turn out the way I had intended. I blame the fact that my set of pens had no shades of brown in it, and blending the gel pens didn’t work too well. Then again, it could be that I just need a lot more practice – Ruby certainly seems to think so!
Have you tried coloring? What has your experience been?
Color Cats is available from Amazon with free shipping for Prime members.