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My Grown-Up Coloring Experiment

Just a little over a week ago, I found out about the new trend of grown-up coloring. I was talking to my sister on the phone and she mentioned she was in a craft store looking for colored pencils. When I asked why, she explained that she has a new hobby of coloring.

What? Coloring?

I tried coloring as an experiment but found it to be calming and lots of fun.

I had never heard of coloring books specifically for adults. I know. What rock was I hiding under? My sister was clearly infatuated with her new hobby and her enthusiasm was infectious. I was intrigued and went out the next day and bought my own coloring book and colored pencils.

Day 1
I had picked a book of flower arrangements. Easy right. Wrong! I’m an adult and I’m coloring. No big deal. Seriously, I was going for the stress relief-meditative angle. And oddly, I immediately felt some stress arise.

First, I could tell right from the get-go that it wasn’t going to look that pretty. It wasn’t going to be artistic. The pencils I picked weren’t going to be the right colors. There would be no depth; just flat colors. I couldn’t do it right. It was not going to be perfect. God forbid that I go out of the lines…


First PictureI realized right then and there that it was strangely therapeutic and meditative. It immediately accessed and stirred up my “monkey mind.” I want to enjoy the process but this first time around my mind is not going to let this happen. I don’t know exactly what coloring is “supposed” to do for me. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to make me more anxious.

However the fact that such a mundane activity did stir up anxiety is enough to hook me into giving this coloring stuff a serious try. I decide to spend 20–30 minutes daily on coloring.

Days 2 and 3
I finish the “flower picture.” I don’t love the flower picture but I committed to finishing it. I can’t say I love coloring yet but something odd happened. I had the energy to start a new project I had been thinking about for a while.

Days 4 and 5
I start a new picture from my other coloring book. It’s more detailed and more abstract. I find myself coloring to relieve stress or as I’m talking on the phone. I don’t like some of my coloring choices so I abandon this page. I find myself working on creative projects. I have so many ideas bubbling. Better than just having ideas, I am writing and creating. Start to wonder if coloring is magic.

Days 5 and 6
Start my third picture. Grown-up coloring pages can look complicated to me. I still have not read any information about grown-up coloring, as I still want to experience it first hand without preconceived notions. I do find myself enjoying it more. I know it’s more about the process than the end result at this point. While I have not read anything specific, I suspect that some people do create beautiful creations.

You wouldn’t think that there would be an “art” part to coloring. I can clearly see that there could be. So many ways to enhance your coloring efforts! Different pencils, color choices, and shading to name a few. I can’t get into that yet. I’m still at the there-is-a-lot-to-color-here and just get it done stage.

Another odd thing is happening. I am feeling more social and relaxed. I went out on three dates this week. I planned a girl’s night with my daughter’s and a family evening to watch football. I even cooked a couple of times.

Day 7
I’ve borrowed some “good” colored pencils to see if I like them and I’ve purchased a pencil sharpener. Both have greatly enhanced my coloring experiment. I know from having raised a family that colored pencils can clog up your pencil sharpener. I spent a little more to get electric and good blades. It also turns off automatically when the pencil is sharp, so no waste.

I am definitely intrigued with the coloring experiment. I feel more grounded and confident than I have in a long time. I honestly can’t explain this. It truly seems incredible that coloring could actually have a positive affect in such a short period of time but something has had an effect on me.

Oh, and I lost a couple of pounds. Maybe coloring helped with that too???


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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.
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