When stress and anxiety brew an unforeseen concoction, nothing can bring us more respite than a few minutes of mindfulness. But meditation is not my cup of tea, say some. Try colouring books, say the experts. Yes, adult colouring books are the latest trend catching up with people who have more than loneliness to battle with.
Retirement during the pandemic was not something Jayalakshmi Ballal, a banker, was looking forward to. Sensing her desire to spend time more productively, her Germany-based daughter ordered a couple of colouring books and colours through Amazon. “I always enjoyed drawing as a kid, but with job and family commitments, art took a backseat,” she said.
Resonating similar feelings is Karthika Rajesh, for whom colouring is akin to being a child again that reminds her of “happy carefree school days”. “It made me quite focussed towards colouring the intricate designs, choosing the right colour combination and a sense of happiness in completing the complex designs. If one can spend 30 minutes a day, it can be a good stress buster,” she reckoned.
Mumbai-based counselling psychologist, life and career coach, Nidhi Sharma, cannot agree more. “Over a period of time, since this soothing activity helped me manage my anxiety, I started recommending colouring to my clients, who faced anxiety challenges,” said Sharma.
Focus, is the key to all thinking; be it perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving or even decision making. With youngsters struggling with this at a frightening pace, the plight of the ones suffering from dementia can be overwhelming. But the story of Mumbai resident octogenarian Lata Chaudhry is surely creating a buzz. Having reached the final stages of Alzheimer’s, her memory today has gone back to almost 50 to 70 years. As a youngster, she always enjoyed painting; be it on sarees or canvas. Fully aware of his mother’s talent, her son Paresh Chaudhry did what was best for her. He got her a set of adult colouring books and brush pens. “Colouring got her back to focus,” he said. “Though she doesn’t recall what she has painted, showing them makes her happy and leads to conversation around those happy episodes of her school life when she won prizes for her artwork,” explained Chaudhry.
US-based Vimala Paranjyothi who dabbles in different art forms like Madhubani, Patachitra, Warli, Mandals to name a few, feels the same. “We all need a bit of colour in our lives; the world we live in right now with so much going on, chaotic and evolving every single day, we need that digital timeout to pause and create art.”
No doubt many have benefited from using colouring books, but many leave their projects midway or skip to finish a different design. At the end of the day, what matters is what helps us relax, what brings us joy. The quest for this alluring oasis in our lives is what keeps us afloat, reminding us of that silver lining or the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.