Who knew our Facebook post on adult coloring books would cause such a stir? The post and article – Why Coloring Could Be the New Alternative to Meditation – received numerous comments and photos of your beautiful artwork. Many of you said that coloring relieves stress and tension of your pain condition. So, we wanted to learn more about this coloring craze and reached out to Gabe Coeli at Blue Star Coloring. Here’s what he shared:
Make sure to read to the bottom for a chance to get your own coloring book!
When Camden, Peter and I first formed the startup, we were interested in publishing educational materials. It was actually Camden’s wife, Abby, who had the idea to publish a coloring book for adults. We were intrigued by the idea, but none of us knew that it would become our company’s new direction.
PP: What happened?
We published our first book, Stress Relieving Patterns, in March of 2015, and in less than two months, it hit #1 on the Amazon Best Seller List. We were floored. We scrambled to find artists and art so we could get more titles out as soon as possible, and within a couple of months, we had four national bestsellers. It was wonderful, but also surreal in that it felt like a dream. It was a dream – come true.
We get so many great e-mails and messages from people telling us what coloring means to them. For most folks, it’s a great way to blow off steam at the end of the day or on a weekend, and it’s a fun outlet for artistic expression.
Most often, people express gratitude to us for making coloring books, which I think is backwards – we’re the ones who are grateful to them for buying our books and supporting our dreams!
For a lot of folks, coloring is fun, sure, but also something really meaningful – they’ve made it into a kind of meditative practice, or they use it as a positive, relaxing daily activity to help them cope with anxiousness or sadness or other difficult emotions.
Of course, coloring on its own is not therapy or medical treatment for a clinical illness, but we’ve heard from people who have worked with doctors and other health care professionals to incorporate it into a broader treatment plan.
PP: How does coloring help relieve stress and distract from pain?
I think it’s different for everyone. Some folks really enjoy finishing a page – the satisfaction that comes from having created something beautiful that they can display in their home or upload to Facebook.
Some folks love the mindful calm that descends when coloring a really detailed, ornate image – feeling the breezy weight of the pencil between their fingers, brushing away the waxy trails of flakes, enjoying the slow, steady transformation of a black-and-white outline into a vivid explosion of color.
There’s this rich emotional texture to the act of coloring that’s really beautiful, and I think that’s at least partially what makes it a great distraction from pain and negativity.
I couldn’t tell you for sure. Maybe part of the appeal is creating something that is beautiful and ultimately useless – as all art is, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde. That is to say, doing something for its own sake, without needing a reason or justification.
Maybe part of it is that coloring inspires playfulness, which is one of our primal human emotions, but which so many adults don’t let themselves feel – or don’t acknowledge when they do feel it.
PP: Anything else our audience would want to know about coloring?
I want to take a moment to say that our hearts and prayers are with your readers that are suffering, and we hope that they find peace and relief from whatever ails them.
On the subject of coloring, only this: it doesn’t have a point. It is the point. Which is to say, if you love it, that’s literally the only reason to keep doing it!
Coloring has been a wonderful way for millions of adults to relax, de-stress, and distract themselves from negativity and pain in their lives, but if it doesn’t work for you, don’t give up – because something else will! Ask your heart what it truly desires – ask yourself how it truly wants to come forth into the world – and do that. You can’t go wrong.
If you want to learn more about the self-healing powers of meditation and how to do it, read our article on the Benefits of Meditation.
Comment below on how coloring helps you. The first ten people will receive a free adult coloring book – we will respond with instructions for getting your book. Check back to see if you’re a winner. Thank you Blue Star Coloring!
PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.
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