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What used to be one of our favourite pastimes as kids has now returned to our grownup lives. I am talking about adult colouring books, of course! Grownups around the world are going back to colouring and sharing their artwork proudly on social media too. On Colouring Book Day today (August 2), let’s take a look at what this trend is all about.

What is an adult colouring book? Is it a colouring book with mature themes?

Despite its misleading name, an adult colouring book is simply a colouring book specifically made for adults instead of children. The designs of course, are more intricate than those made for kids, the popular ones being mandalas, abstracts, nature, even cartoons (my favourite)!

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The basic aim of these books is to entertain and de-stress. And no, they aren’t just a recent fad. These books first became popular in 1962 and the trend reemerged in 2013. Back then, the books were of a political nature. Today,they are available in all kinds of themes.

Why should you reintroduce this activity in your busy life?

(1) It lets you reconnect with your inner child

As we grow older, we tend to lose the unbridled creativity we had as kids. ACB (adult colouring books) help you get some of it back. Dentist Humerah Inamdar talks about how colouring helped her embrace her inner child, “My son started colouring at the age of three. Seeing his enthusiasm made me want to colour too. This was two years back, when adult colouring books had just started to become popular. I ordered an ACB online and was hooked the second I started to colour. I could not connect better with my son as we bonded over our shared love of colourful wax crayons and pretty pictures. But that’s not the best. When I colour, I don’t think of anything else. My mind is completely at peace, focusing just on the picture in front of me.”

(2) It is therapeutic without you having to talk about it

In hard times like ours, we need to find something that soothes us. Therapy, although effective, isn’t for everyone. That’s where ACB comes in. Writer Vandana Arora shares her experience, “Calm colouring is quite therapeutic. It soothes the raging mind, irons out the stress of the heart and carries our soul to heavenly dimensions. The beautiful tapestry of vibrant colours that we weave brightens and enlivens our otherwise dreary life. It is a serene mode of digital detoxification too. I feel rejuvenated whenever I immerse myself into the world of colours. I feel the grey areas of my life being cleansed with vigour. The calm colouring allows me to introspect, retrospect and evolve.”

(3) It builds patience

You are not going to feel any better or different the second you begin colouring. Just like any therapy, you need to give it time. For research purposes, I spent an hour every day of the last week colouring in a Game of Thrones book gifted by my sister. To my dismay, it was no fun in the beginning; it was quite tedious actually! But after two days of boredom, I switched up my colouring materials–colour pencils to sketch pens–and stopped fixating on making everything perfect and pretty. I mixed shades, coluored outside the lines, pretty much made my own rules. Almost instantly, it became something I looked forward to for the remaining five days. I could now do it without any distractions for a couple of hours, and actually enjoyed it.

No matter how busy you are, you can take out a few minutes to de-stress and improve your mental wellbeing in what’s probably the most creative way. And there’s so much variety for adults now–from the classics (Harry Potter series, and Alice In Wonderland) to the contemporary (snark and feminism), science fiction (zombies and dystopia) to fantasy (mermaids and unicorns). The verdict? Adult colouring books actually live up to the hype. Try it for yourself! You can download free pages online, or purchase a copy from online stores like Amazon and Flipkart. If you’d rather buy offline, head to Crossword. Just pick a theme you are passionate about, and add more colour to your life.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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