Is colouring the new Yoga?

Adult colouring books have become a popular way to de-stress. But what is it about colouring that can make us calm? 

You don’t have to look far to find mindful colouring books on the store shelves. Make no mistake adult colouring is fashionable but it’s also a new way to help some people deal with daily stress and unleash creativity and imagination. 

Why is colouring considered relaxing?

We all relax in different ways for some it’s running, others practice yoga or read a good book, but colouring is also considered a great way to wind down. It’s believed colouring allows us to focus on something that’s not linked to a source of stress.  There is no need to think about anything other than filling in the gaps with colours. It also encourages creativity and constructive thinking. It doesn’t only work for adults, children have been doing this for years.

Colouring is a manual activity that keeps us away for a few minutes (or hours) from the virtual world we live in. We work with computers, write messages with our phones and communicate with the keyboard. It seems that little by little we are putting aside all those manual activities we once did. Reconnecting with a paper and pencil helps us to reconnect with ourselves.

It’s also something that’s free in more ways than one. There are no rules when it comes to colour, except perhaps staying in-between the lines. You can use any colour you want and nobody will tell whether it's right or wrong.

colouring pencils

What is Zentangle?

Another activity related to manual work that is growing in popularity is Zentangle patterns or drawings. Zentangle is a relaxation technique based on free drawing that helps us relax (like colouring , it becomes a mechanical action) and encourages creativity.

To practice all you need is a piece of paper that’s preferably square, although it can also be rectangular, and black markers with tips of different thickness. The idea is to cover our sheet in different ways so that the page is completely full, and then fill each space with different patterns. 

In Zentangle there are no rules: it’s all up to our imagination. We can fill in different forms with patterns of parallel lines, cross, wavy, with spirals, dots ect. Anything is possible if you believe it’s possible. In addition, you can also choose to make a figurative drawing (of an animal, for example) and fill it with different patterns.

An interesting way to connect with friends or with your family is to make a collaborative zentangle; which you can start and let someone else follow. When you are finished you will have a unique, inimitable and authentic design that can become your own "artwork" and adorn the walls of the house or office.

The benefits of drawing 

Colouring and drawing is an exercise of imagination and creativity, something in great demand today, as we depend on technology to perform most of our daily tasks. Making this kind of "technological switch off" for a few minutes a day can help to focus on activities that connect our mind with visual tasks, developing creations made with our own hands. These activities enable us to devote a small space of time of our day to day ourselves. If we place a colouring book or our notebook with pen near the couch, it can be a lovely way to relax when we got home from work.

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