Adult Coloring Books, All The (not so new) Rage

 

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There is a general buzz around the water cooler and for the first time in a while it’s not sport point spreads or Pinterest boards…well, kind of.

This latest and greatest rage was actually brought to my attention from a friend who mentioned the growing popularity of Adult Coloring Books on Pinterest. At first I was aghast, then sort of guffawed. It just seemed so out of the ordinary, but, if true, what an amazing relationship between what we are doing at The Crayon Initiative and this new rumor. So I went and checked. THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of pages and pin-boards dedicated to adult coloring! So I dug a little deeper. Turns out that this movement has been going on underground, for fear of being laughed at, for a very long time.

It also seems that within the last few months, this topic has gained steam like a 100 car freight train approaching a 10% grade….(did I ever tell you that I am a model train enthusiast?) I digress. Most of the pages dedicated to adult coloring books have just as many different places to purchase full books. These are not slightly more challenging pages from the movie Frozen we are talking about, these are often artist inspired templates replete with the details of a Sanskrit Mandala. The are designed to look like the type of meditative walking mazes you might find at a monastery, and for good reason, they serve the same purpose.

Psychiatric professional and Art Therapist Cathy Malchiodi said, “coloring books are a path to mindfulness, meditation and some kind of psychological nirvana” and medical professionals are seeing medical improvements in cancer patients and anxiety disorder patients. We kind of hate to say, “we told you so”, but…

But seriously, this is wonderful news. The benefits of art are not relegated to the youth. Many fortune 500 companies have begun putting coloring books in their break rooms and some college professors have been noted as incorporating them into their syllabuses.

If you really think about the timing of this therapeutic surge, it makes a lot of sense. Studies indicate “most people take a break from their creative hobbies during their transitional years of high school and college, but often return at the age of 26.” Who are these 26-year-olds? Well, they are the Millennials, the very group of people that are shaping all facets of business today. They are outside the box thinkers who are so technology savvy that they demand attention and are getting it. They are also extremely plugged in but know when they are reaching a max capacity for tech activity. Is there really any better way to unplug literally and figuratively than staying inside the lines with bright colors?

We for one applaud the movement and have always stood by the healing properties of art and coloring, heck we are building a company on the principal, but to see the thought of coloring books take center stage and not be scoffed at is more than we could have hoped for.

 

Am I “Happy”~A Checklist

 

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I am a happy person by nature, but just like everybody else, I can slip into doubt on a moments notice. Insecurities coupled with a general sense “this can’t be right” will have me questioning whether I am actually happy or have I just gotten really good at pretending. After a quick completion of my general checklist, I always come to the same conclusion. I am traversing this world as a generally happy person and my insecurities or doubt stem from the brooding artist in me. This is my nature.

But what is this checklist I use? I have a series of beliefs that I check in on to remind myself what happiness is actually made of. A quick tune in/up reminds me of my perspective goals and brings the needle back due north. Here are four of my favorites:

 

“I Love You Man”

This scene is most often depicted in film by a guy who has imbibed too much and draped over his friend professing his deep-rooted love. I see this more as a general love for other people. I like to make sure I truly care about other people’s happiness and let them know, within reason. I really love celebrating other people’s successes and I want to be the person that they go to first if they need a shoulder. Even if I have never met them before, because a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.

 

Right Here, Right Now

I am a parent, and one of the first things people love to tell you is “it goes so fast”. My observation about that truth is life seems to pass you by quicker the more you live in memory. I try to be eyes wide open all the time and really pay attention to every nuance that constructs every little moment in the present. My favorite movie quote of all time is from Joe Versus the Volcano ~ “My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement”. I try to stay awake because I have never met an unhappy person in a state of amazement!

 

Eyes on the Prize

“Mo money, mo problems.” I have the general understanding that money is not the source of happiness. I have had some and I have had none, so my litmus test kit is in order. Most people have money as their goal. Don’t get me wrong; I am not going to go all “possession free yogi” on you because money is important. Everybody needs to generate enough to live a quality life on, but for me, a speed boat and plane are not desirable objects. Instead I truly load my basket with the eggs of my children’s health, quantity time with my wife and dinners at long tables full of family or friends. Not only does this fill my happiness reservoir every time but these goals are more achievable on a regular basis.

Sound Sleeper

When is the last time you took a sleep inventory? Look back at last night and assess how you have slept. I take an inventory every morning. It’s not necessarily the amount of time you slept, although that plays a part, but rather the quality of sleep you got. Did I have good dreams? What were my dreams about (I try and remember as much detail as possible)? How does my body feel this morning? If something is off track then I try and figure out how to improve on it. I analyze my own dreams to find the source and see if something can be corrected physically to change or repeated to secure the good ones. This takes some practice but is my path to sound sleeping and excitement getting there.

 

These are just 4 ways that I track my happiness to make sure that I am on point, but more importantly to remind myself to ignore the doubts in life that have me questioning my happiness and simply trust the process. How do you measure your happiness?