As someone who struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, amongst other things, the dream of living fully is offset by the daily reality of having to manage the practicalities of these health conditions.
However, I have found a huge health benefit in the practice of adult colouring in. I realise that some people find the concept bizarre and even laughable, yet before you ‘turn the page’ if you are currently of that opinion, might I entice you to stick around for a while by telling you that I have found it immensely beneficial on a number of levels?
Anxiety and severe anxiety and depression are very difficult conditions to manage. Sufferers find that their minds and bodies are on a constant ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response. It is hard to calm the breathing, the nervous system, and at times this can even manifest as intense physical pain.
It has taken time, but I have found that the creative and ‘analogue’ outlet of colouring in has been beautifully therapeutic. When you colour you are more ‘present’ in the moment, your breathing slows and racing thoughts slowly settle on observing the image in front of you, thinking about colour choices, feeling the texture of the pen or pencil against the grain of the paper. Added to that, there is a satisfaction of having collaborated in creating something, adding life and colour to the artist’s beautiful illustrations.
The above images are pictures that I have coloured from the beautiful artwork of Johanna Basford’s ‘Secret Garden’, and Daria Song’s ‘The Time Garden’. Both of these illustrators are accomplished and bring their own sense of wonder to their pages. Johanna Basford is a great advocate of the idea of ‘collaboration’ between the illustrator and the ‘colourist’.
I personally find the world of adult colouring in a vibrant, enchanting and healing place to dwell.