Growing up, lots of us will remember spending hours with our head in a colouring book, tongue out in concentration as we tried to colour within the lines. It was the perfect hobby to while away rainy days. Not to mention, a chance for our mums to catch five minutes of peace and quiet!
Now colouring has had a revival, but this time it’s for adults. Today, millions of adults are finding that there’s nothing more relaxing than being able to unwind with a colouring book. Meanwhile, these very same adult colouring books are on bestseller lists in bookshops around the world and in the UK.
We find out the benefits that mindfulness colouring books can have on your wellbeing, as well as listing some of our favourites that are available to buy. That way, you can keep your mind occupied while creating some beautiful patterns in these mindfulness colouring books.
What is mindfulness colouring for adults?
Mindfulness colouring is the concept that colouring in helps to promote awareness of the present moment, much like meditation. Focusing the mind on a repeated task like colouring can help to bring awareness to movement, coordination and breathing.
What are the benefits of mindfulness colouring?
It might seem like a modern fad, but colouring has been prescribed to help people since the 1900s. Famous psychologist Carl Jung is thought to have been the first to suggest it, as he gave his patients drawings of mandalas to colour in. He believed colouring would help people express deeper parts of their psyche and calm their minds.
To support his theory, studies have also shown that colouring is a good activity for calming people with dementia and Alzheimers. Colouring requires both sides of our brain to work together, matching the logical side with the creative side. As a result, this helps to fine-tune our motor skills, which we use for coordination.
Does colouring help with anxiety?
As you can imagine, the benefits of colouring on the mind may also alleviate symptoms of anxiety. As anxious thoughts persist, distracting yourself with a creative task can be beneficial in calming the body and the mind.
Not only that, but studies have also shown that activity in the area of the brain called the amygdala, (which controls our fight or flight response and is responsible for panic attacks), is significantly decreased through colouring in.
8 of the best adult colouring books to promote mindfulness UK
Adult Colouring Book: Stress Relieving Designs
With thousands of positive reviews, this colouring book really has so many variations to offer. Over 60 gorgeous designs to colour, with a variety of animals, mandalas and paisley designs that'll keep your creativity flowing.
Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book
One of the world's bestselling adult colouring books with 96 colouring pages waiting to be brought to life with colour. This interactive colouring book takes you on a ramble through a garden created in beautifully detailed pen and ink illustrations by Johanna Basford.
100 Amazing Patterns: An Adult Coloring Book with Fun, Easy, and Relaxing Coloring Pages
There are so many patterns to colour with this adult colouring book. With 100 patterns that have satisfying symmetry, you'll get a sense of achievement having completed these intricate designs.
The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress Art Therapy for Busy People
Working with your hands is one of the best ways to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress. This stunning, pocket-sized colouring book offers a practical exercise in mindfulness that draws on your creativity and hones your focus.
Botanicum Colouring Book: Special Edition
Filled with flowers, fauna and fairytale-inspired illustrations, this whimsical colouring book for adults is the perfect way to let go of stress and create the most beautiful designs.
Art Therapy: An Anti-Stress Colouring Book for Adults
With designs ranging from themes of nature like animals and plants, to themes like architecture with intricate patterns, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
The Mindfulness Colouring and Activity Book
If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or agitated, and unable to think clearly, take your foot off the pedal, and clear your mind with The Mindfulness Colouring and Activity Book, from Gill Hasson, the author of the best-selling book 'Mindfulness'.
Colourful Creations Positively Inspired Coloring Book
Packed with motivational messages about hope and confidence, Colorful Creations Positively Inspired offers a uniquely beautiful opportunity to relax, renew, and recharge.
Fun facts about adult colouring books
The French started it
Sacré bleu! Like baguettes and berets, it appears our cousins across the Channel were the first to pioneer this hype du jour. It started a couple of years ago with publishers in France making a success of adult colouring books by marketing them as an escape from the stresses of everyday life. Soon, thousands of French women joined in on the trend and colouring books became fiercely à la mode. At one point, they even outsold cookery books.
There are coffee mornings for colouring!
In Australia, ‘colouring circles’ are all the rage, where groups of colouring fans scribble together at their local coffee shop. And in New York, Bring Your Own Crayon clubs are quickly gaining popularity. Doodling devotees in the US can also attend colouring parties, where you quaff wine and chat while scribbling the night away.
Celebrities publish their creations
In South Korea, colouring is a real showbiz affair as famous pop stars regularly publish their completed creations online for fans. Back in the UK, colouring books have had plenty of celebrity backers, including the likes of Nigella Lawson. There are plenty of celebrity-inspired designs on the shelves and even some where you can colour in portraits of your favourite stars.