Why Are Adult Coloring Books So Popular?

The coloring books for adults have intricate patterns to color. Some say these are psychologically based patterns to relieve tension. Actually, it’s the coloring we do that causes us to relax and as a result these books are extremely popular.

Years ago, I remember catching my wife coloring away with a quiet yet enthusiastic demeanor when I came home from work early around 4:00pm. She was sitting with our three children (all under 8 years at the time and all quietly coloring) in our den. I went up to give her my usual hello kiss and didn’t get her attention right away as she was totally absorbed coloring.

“Oh you’re home early?” she said continuing to color.

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“We’re just keeping out of trouble… , kids like to color… ” I didn’t think much about her enthusiasm at the time, and was happy she was having a break.

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Remember the Wham-O’s Hula Hoop rage where millions found a lot of enjoyment and fun with such a simple hoop. But coloring is different? It’s more individualistic and peaceful to yourself and others around you. Adult coloring now is a rage for adults in the modern world.

I researched adult coloring and read the back and forth movement of the crayon, colored pencil, or marker does in fact have a calming effect since it requires the use of both sides of the brain causing neurons to reinforce their connections between both sides while shutting down the frontal lobe which controls organization. So, a feeling of balance occurs after a stressful day. Coloring gives relief to the daily demands of attention focusing at work, stress of everyday life, information overload, intense competition, intense play, intense everything at times.

Johanna Basford’s, “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book” seems to have started the adult coloring book rage in 2011. This book may be a collector’s item someday – like an original hula hoop.

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