Unplug and Color

By Ajai Shaw

“I am at ten percent!”  Ever watch a teenager when their phone battery flashes red? They panic and search for the closest electrical plug.  Many teachers have taped their electrical outlets to stop these students from using them as charging stations.   A teen and their phone goes hand in hand now a days.  It is nothing new.  For some though, unplugging is the latest craze.

Around Thurston, more and more students are coloring.  In fact, they bring in an elaborate coloring book with a pencil case full of sharpies.  Whenever downtime becomes a part of the school day, instead of reaching for their phones, many teens are reaching for their coloring books.  As more students catch on, more teenagers are purchasing coloring books rather than the latest iphone app.

Art therapists have always known that art is a great stress reliever.  Believe it or not, teenagers do have stress.

“Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas, which are round frames with geometric patterns inside. Simply doodling, though, had no effect in reducing the other subjects’ stress levels.  Just like meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety,” (CNN Health).

For sophomore Kentia Fearn, she often takes breaks from homework just to color.

“I like to color because it calms me down and it’s relaxing, “ said Fearn.

Most popular, are the mindful coloring series which can be purchased just about everywhere now.  Other books with the same idea have emerged as well and can even be found near a lot of grocery line check outs.

On Amazon, the Mindfulness Coloring Series books are marketed as “In today’s busy world, finding a moment of peace and calm can be a challenge. Mindful coloring is a simple yet powerful practice that combines the proven, time-honored tradition of thoughtful meditation with the growing popularity of adult coloring books, and shows that any activity, done right, can be an exercise in mindfulness.”

I started coloring once a friend of mine showed me the adult coloring books. She figured I’d like them for dialysis treatments or when I’m bored and stressed. It really does take time, and patience. It helps relax my nerves for the moment and they’re perfect to color when I’m in dialysis. I can finish two or three pages in that three and a half hours. It gets a little sad in dialysis sometimes and a little boring, so instead of spending a bunch of time on my phone on social media, I decided to begin collecting the adult coloring books and sharpies. Coloring has taken up my free time. When people see me coloring, they ask what I am up to and I have hooked so many of my classmates to this latest fad.

If you have not tried it, you should definitely give it a shot.  You can even keep free coloring sheets in google.

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