Pink & Blue Mummyland

Pink and blue parenting through pink and blue moods….

To Colour, or Not to Colour?

on October 30, 2015

I saw an article via facebook the other day that in its title shouted “Adult Colouring is a Waste of Time!”  Apparently there is science proving that it’s pointless, has no positive effect on the brain, and that people should basically buckle down and do something else.

As a proud owner of an assortment of colouring books and ‘posh’ pens (aka pens the children are not allowed to even breathe on), it wasn’t a headline that made me feel all gooey inside.

After a quick chinwag with some colouring friends, all of whom were somewhat dismayed at the idea of having wasted a huge portion of their time, I came up with a number of positive facts about colouring, endorsed by…. well, me and my friends.

Conversation

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had my fair share of awkward conversations . From dealing with my own difficult moods to counselling people with eating disorders and self-harm issues, I have often had difficult things to say or listen to. All the advice about having a therapeutic conversation concentrates on eye contact and open, welcoming, body language. And yet, sometimes, things are so painful to talk about that eye contact is discomforting, if not threatening. Colouring reduces that discomfort. Sometimes, looking makes the saying harder, and colouring can bridge that in a way most things can’t.

Children

My children love colouring, especially as they have now graduated to what they call ‘grown-up’ colouring books. If I’m doing the same as my children, I am endorsing their love for it. They like colouring, so I will like colouring. In fact, one of my favourite colouring books is called ‘Colour With Mum’, and has two pictures facing each other, designed to be coloured simultaneously, which MiniMe loves. It’s something we do together and, as above, doing that kind of activity can induce some profound conversations because they are focusing  on what they’re doing, not what they’re saying.

Mental Health

If you are someone who struggles with anxiety, or – like me – find yourself jittery and fidgety during hypomania, colouring can provide a way to be still. I often find that concentrating on sitting still just makes me even more jittery, but because concentrating on something like colouring stills my mind, my body seems to follow suit. There are lots of people and organisations who claim that colouring can help in a more active way, and that mindfulness therapy can use colouring to bring otherwise hidden thoughts to mind. I don’t know about that, but I know it’s helped me, and I will never knock it.

Creating

I have a relative who thinks colouring is a complete waste of time, because you’re not actually creating anything. This is fine for her, because she comes from a family of professional artists, and she seems to have inherited the gene. I have no artistic cell in my body – not one. But I can still pick out colours, use them to fill in other people’s lines, and enjoy looking at the end result. It won’t ever hang in a gallery, but it’s the closest I’m going to get, and I’m happy with that.

Why Not?

When it comes down to it, I like colouring. I’ve always liked colouring – since way before it was trendy – and I don’t see why I shouldn’t do it if that’s what makes me happy. As far as I know, no-one has said it is intrinsically harming (although I did see a Colour Your Own Kama Sutra the other week, which I think would probably be detrimental to my childrens education…). If I enjoy it, and it’s not bad for me, does it matter if it’s good for me?

Adventures in Colouring - Bible Inspirations

Giveaway time!

This post was inspired by my lovely friend Pippa, who has produced her own colouring book, ‘Biblical Inspirations’. She has kindly agreed to do a give-away for us, and although I haven’t managed to get my pens on it yet, but I can promise it will be awesome. If you want to be in with a chance, leave a comment saying why colouring is cool, and Pippa can pick her favourite as a winner. Happy colouring!
If you are unlucky in the giveaway, you can order yourself a copy by going to Pippa’s Adventures in Colouring page on Facebook – just click here.

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20 responses to “To Colour, or Not to Colour?

  1. Viv says:

    I’m dubious about the so-called science. If someone enjoys doing something, that in and of itself is a benefit to them. There is a release of various hormones to boost well being.
    I have about six on the go. I’m not colouring every single day; sometimes weeks go by. But I do find that if I lose myself in it, it gives me a break from the constant pressure to DO something, be original, be creative, and so on. It’s down time.
    The ones I find the best are either ones which tap into ancient human archetypes (like some of the mandala books I have) or which touch my own love of green and quiet spaces in nature. I don’t like the ones with endlessly repeated patterns of cupcakes or cats.

  2. Who cares if some people deem it a waste of time? Most hobbies could probably be classed as a waste of time. But if you love it, do it. I didn’t like colouring in as a child but have discovered a real enjoyment of it as an adult. If I have a free evening, it’s hard to beat sitting down to a bit of colouring in front of a rerun of Downton šŸ™‚

  3. wjones642014 says:

    If something is working, there will always be someone to say it is not working. I believe that colouring frees up my mind to think. I find it calming, especially when adult colouring books are tricky to use. I have ones with complex patterns. I love the order in the and repeating colours to produce a glorious whole brings me joy. If someone enjoys doing something then this will bring them peace. Any hobby which is enjoyed will release chemicals in the brain which will make a person happier. That’s science.

  4. Lucy Mills says:

    I was relieved when adult colouring came into fashion. I’ve been craving it for years! Hobbies are good for you; different people like different hobbies. If you like colouring, colour! And the idea of using it to reflect on God is great for when words are just not adequate, or you’re too tired to think straight.

  5. Susan turner says:

    Sounds brilliant. I don’t colour usually but this has inspired me to have a go! Thankyou

  6. I love colouring, and it does break down barriers. We Brits aren’t very good at just walking up to someone and saying hello, let alone moving the conversation on to anything meaningful. On a recent church camp, however, when I sat down to colour, several other ladies joined me – some of whom I’d never spoken to – and as we coloured, the conversation flowed naturally and easily. So I’d love to win, please! šŸ™‚

  7. Ruth Martin says:

    Lovely article, and this book is a great thing to do! I keep seeing all these adult colouring books, and wondering whether to give them a go… I remember finding colouring frustrating as a child, because my brain was too fast for my hand…but Im pretty sure my brain’s mostly mush now!!! šŸ˜‚ I like the idea of relaxing whilst remembering the Bible…

  8. Karen Cairney says:

    Great thoughts on colouring Abbie! I remember probably over 10 years ago now, at the Friday morning Bible study group, leading a session where I’d printed out the mum’s favourite Bible verses with a variety of decorative borders, and we sat and coloured them in. So many of the ladies said how relaxing it was to just sit and colour and chat, I was on to something then and didn’t realise it! My own coloured in picture stayed on my kitchen wall for years, giving me pleasure and encouragement. Happy colouring!

  9. Corinne says:

    I could have written so much of this myself! Colouring has been SUCH a huge release to me over the last 6 months, giving me time to chat to God as I’ve doodled, safe space to have awkward conversations with friends, time to relieve my hurt, frustrations and anger. Some pictures are pastel serenity when God has met with me, some are fiery and bright when I’m cross, some are dark when life has weighed heavy, but each tells a tale of times of healing and change as I’ve released the inner “yuk” through my pens (mummy only ones of course!)
    To have a bible based one is truly amazing – I wish I’d had one sooner. Can’t wait to see this one in the flesh and to seeing what God speaks to me through the pages. What a blessing Pippa will be to many through her beautiful book. Now, where’s my pens……

  10. Natalya says:

    Science may say today that it is not beneficial and change its mind tomorrow – so many different ways to measure if something is ‘working’.
    Being relatively new to colouring I find I love it and don’t let anyone else get their hands on my book or lens unless they’re colouring with me!

  11. MariHoward says:

    Very difficult to admit that when the colouring books began to pile up in the shops, I honestly thought, “Oh dear, another cuddly craze for those who wish they’d never grown up …’ Okay, I have a cynical gene, I know that. I’m suspicious of stuff that soothes and even the word. However, all the replies above make very good points indeed, especially those ones about the help with difficult conversations … after all, don’t we all ‘doodle’ during those, if there is paper to hand? And, as a person who, while not being a whizz at anatomy I am a person who is a painter and a draw-er, which means, I guess, that colouring (and I ADORE colour & pattern) is kind of, well, it could be viewed as ‘step down’ from what I can or should do … anyhow, have been converted, revised my views! ) (PS am not ‘artistic’ or ‘arty’, I just do it!)

  12. Colouring is loved by everyone in our group for adults with learning disabilities. Would love some adult based bible colouring as its been difficult to find appropriate colouring pictures that don’t patronise them.

  13. Kate Foster says:

    I haven’t had the colouring pleasure yet but I can see that it would be very therapeutic. I am a depression sufferer & wish I had had this activity to help me when I was particularly bad a few years ago. Spending time on Facebook or playing cards on my phone helps me to have ‘me’ time whilst sitting with my son whilst he’s doing homework, I have to be there but not there, or waiting to collect him from somewhere. Colouring is a more constructive & creative way to pass time. Any activity that someone else doesn’t appreciate can be deemed pointless ….. it’s not for anyone to judge another’s choice. I’m rubbish at drawing but love colour and I would really like to give this a go and a book with a religious theme is even better! Well done Pippa and may the colouring community silence the scientists ….

  14. Coloring is cool because it’s an activity to do while praying.

  15. Abbie Robson says:

    Thank you so much for your all responses – it’s been encouraging for both myself as a blogger, and for Pippa as she’s produced this awesome little book. All your comments have given me something to think about, and I definitely feel some colouring solidarity here!

    The winner of the freebie copy is includedbygrace, whose comment touched both Pip and I in a personal way.

    Please do go over to Pippa’s Adventures in Colouring page and think about ordering your own copy, and do consider following my blog to read further about faith, mental health and writing.

    Keep colouring!

  16. Bee says:

    As far as I’m aware Science can’t track the effect something has on your soul yet! (I doubt it ever will be able to do that!). I colour, I love it. I even get my kids at school to colour in regularly(in my maths class, at high school, its like colour by number, but the number is the answer to the maths question!) They love it. I colour for pleasure, I find it relaxing, and it doesn’t require artistic talent (although the time I spend choosing my colours might lead you to think otherwise!). It looks like a lovely colouring book šŸ™‚

  17. Liese says:

    I enjoy colouring alongside my children, and without them! They see that anyone can be creative, even if they aren’t naturally artistic. It reminds me of the need to be still sometimes, and doing something simple allows my mind to wonder and ponder.

  18. Lilian Gill says:

    Well I heard the opposite- that colouring helps concentration in the same way doodling on phone can aid listening. I love my audio Bible but listen while baking. I do draw and paint. I found another artist disliked colouring because she preferred to draw first- it had to be her own But then some artists do amazing portraits while other prefer flowers or houses- -we are all different. However we are creative because we are made in God’s image and he is creative. If someone is happier choosing the colours on a pattern why is that not creative?

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