Could colouring books for adults be a stressed out Pakistani’s saviour? We find out



Remember when you were younger and a colouring book and some Crayola was your best friend?

No, right? Thank God because that would have been really sad.

Though you probably do remember that when the parental unit needed a little breather, they’d shove these items in your hands and you’d be distracted for a couple of hours. Well, who decided it was time for colouring book conquests to end?

It’s just time for an upgrade.

A form of psychological nirvana?

If I went to a shrink a year ago to grapple with my stress and he told me to start colouring, I’d start wondering if him and I should switch seats.

As a 23-year-old juggling a full-time job with law classes, it’s safe to say I experience my fair share of anxiety, cynicism and have zero time to go see an actual shrink. That’s why I usually end up indulging in some retail therapy but that isn’t too healthy for the soul or my wallet. I knew I had to find a substitute.

Two words: colouring books.

Although adult colouring has all the markings of a fad, it’s the therapeutic properties associated with the activity that’s got these books flying off the shelves and that prove it’s a bandwagon that’s here to stay.

Staying inside the lines isn't as easy as it sounds.Staying inside the lines isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I’m not saying it’s a cure for all your worries but rather an effective coping mechanism.

The fun exercise activates different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres, such as the ones involved in vision and fine motor skills.

Clearly, journalist Saher Baloch is much better at it than I am. Pro tip: don't be afraid of white spaceClearly, journalist Saher Baloch is much better at it than I am. Pro tip: don’t be afraid of white space

Psychologist Gloria Martinez Ayala states, “The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colour. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.”

A lucrative business

For an artist, creating a colouring book for adults right now could turn out to be a profitable venture.

Ilham Taufiq, the assistant marketing manager at Liberty Books shares, “Recently, in the last year since we launched adult colouring books in stores, we’ve seen an overgrowing demand for them. Teenagers and middle-aged women in particular always come in asking for these. There’s two kinds of customers: one category is already aware and comes in asking for these colouring books and the other is those consumers who come in, see these on the selves and are intrigued.”

At nearly Rs. 1000 a book, these still run much cheaper than a shrink —Screenshot of the Liberty Books websiteAt nearly Rs. 1000 a book, these still run much cheaper than a shrink —Screenshot of the Liberty Books website

She adds, “We have a wide array of interesting designs available like books that feature architectural designs, vintage floral designs to meditation drawings.”

A no hassle hobby for the not so artistically gifted

An easy way to escape the everyday grind and take a breather from technology, colouring is a way to get away for a bit and reboot your brain. Yoga or hitting the gym can’t be everyone’s release and it feels good to do something meditative that’s not purely meditation.

Colouring time can be mindful; I can sit down with the canvas in my lap, think long and hard about what colour combos I want to incorporate. And these ones are no joke — the designs are intricate, you can’t just use chunky crayons or blunt colouring pencils. High quality felt tip markers make all the difference.

My preferred weapons of mass distractionMy preferred weapons of mass distraction

Or it can be mindless. Either way, it gets me away from my phone and helps me disconnect, even if it is for a little while.

The best part? You feel creative without actually having created anything. Colouring will stimulate your imagination and take you down memory lane, back to your childhood, unconsciously leading us to simpler times.

Friday nights in never looked this goodFriday nights in never looked this good

The key to a good colouring session is an exceptional cup of chai or coffee, and being seated in a comfortable position. It takes a good while to colour one of these things in completely; a minimum of a couple of hours, if you want to be satisfied with the way you fill in the patterns and stay inside the lines, which is not easy as I remembered it.

And the thing that ties it all together is the background music. Here’s what works for me in that department: