Be an adult: pick up a coloring book

By Becky Wandel

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Chris Metcalf/Flickr

(Chris Metcalf/Flickr)

If you’ve paid any attention to Internet trends lately, or been inside a bookstore (or perhaps done both – good on you, manic pixie dream girl) you’ve likely heard of something called “adult coloring.” Much like how a “man bun” is just a regular bun on a man, so-called “adult coloring” is just normal coloring, but done by adults (or sometimes done by the charmingly half-formed quasi-adults that are us college students).

On Crayola’s website for their just-announced line of grown-up coloring supplies, Color Escapes, they advertise a “soothing, creative experience” that’s all about “tapping into your peaceful place.” I can personally attest to being soothed on more than one occasion by the creative experience of coloring, and to finding it very peaceful indeed. As I go about my days as a college student, I see my peers frequently in stressful, taxing situations, and I would like to offer them the chance to tap into their own peaceful place. No intoxicants required – just crayons.+

My favorite coloring books are produced by a company appropriately named Creative Haven and sold for $6-$10 a piece. With more than 100 books to choose from, everyone can truly find their niche. See for instance, Groovy Mandalas, Vintage Hand Fans, and Horses: color by number. There’s even one that’s all Mary Cassatt paintings if you’re looking for esoteric knick-knacks for your off-campus apartment! But this is just one company in an ever-expanding sea of brands trying to break into the adult coloring game, so feel free to email me for a more personalized recommendation (seriously).

The Zentangle Method, a technique of guided meditative doodling that arguably spawned our current coloring renaissance, says their method can alleviate the symptoms of stress, insomnia, panic attacks, addiction disorders, attention disorders and anger problems. Now, Zentangle claims their method is especially therapeutic, more so than simple coloring, but truthfully, having done both, I would be hard-pressed to find a benefit to Zentangle one couldn’t also attain from simply coloring in the lines of a dollar-store coloring book.

That being said, I encourage you to check out their website, especially their story booth, where people give first-hand accounts of how doodling has changed their lives. Tina Hunziker says it helped her quit smoking. Laura Harms cites the “therapeutic qualities” of Zentangle as crucial in her dealing with the hospitalization of her young son.

Although the stress we go through as college students may seem like peanuts compared to the struggle of dealing with addiction or trauma, the truth is that school stress isn’t something to be taken lightly, not to mention the fact that many of us are dealing with more serious things simultaneously with our schoolwork. Whatever kind of life you’re living, if you’re in college there’s at least some stress that you have to deal with daily, and coloring is a productive, safe way to work through it. Study after study proves this true.

Personally, having turned some of my friends and family on to the beauty of coloring, my favorite part is that it’s a productive hobby. When you’re done (these pages can take hours if you want them to) not only do you have a clear head to show for it, but you have something beautiful to hang on your wall or give to a friend.

So, peers of mine, I humbly ask you to give coloring a shot.

Look beyond the trending topic, and see “adult coloring” for what it really is: an adorable, healthy hobby that’ll help you stay on top of things without losing your mind.

And if you’re still doubting whether it’s for you, ask yourself this: when has coloring ever brought anything but positivity into your life? That’s right, never. So what’ve you got to lose? Pick up those crayons and get to it.

Email me your finished creations and we can talk about this some more. Again, I’m serious.

Rebecca Wandel is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]