Recently, I watched Russell Brands episode of “Trews” (True News), about new colouringbooks for mindfullness. If you haven’t yet watched “The Trews”, I highly reccomend it. His insight on many news stories show a great form of critical thinking. The newest trend of colouringbooks for adults is topping the best-seller charts, and seems to be both popular with the general public and psychologists. Though seeming like a nice initiative, and probably a great way to de-stress, one could wonder if perhaps there are some more deep rooted issues that need adressing.
The main selling point (because, all in all, this is a product that needs to be bought) is that the activity is something that you do only for your own sake, and that you aren’t going to be evaluated for it. Also, that there are no rules for how it has to be done. Apparently the colouring book has shown results of reducing of sleeping disorders as well. Now, whilst this is a harmless trend, and actually quite positive, one could wonder if perhaps it is all to telling about our society today. We live in a time where everything is documented, and where we find ourselves almost uncertain if anything actually did happen if we didn’t take a picture. We have gotten ourselves in the habit of posting our lives online, pendig judgement from friends as well as strangers. And though there are a lot of positive aspects of social networking sites and blogs, there is still a fundamental insecurity that shines through that we tend to loose sight of when we take part in it ourselves. This need for approval is hidden in it’s own collectiveness.
Where people have always needed a certain amount of approval, it has never been so easy to find – and measure – in number of likes, retweets or comments. Also, the times we live in are incredibly stressful, and even traditional forms of de-stressing are measured and documented, that being running, meditation, or cooking. Programs such as “cupcake-wars” (which in itself is the most contradictory thought!) confirm our idea of everything that is done needs to be done for a purpuse that exeeds the activity itself. Even gardening, perhaps the simplest way to relieve stress, and feel connected and in touch with this world, and life in itself, has been made into a televised competition. Both competitive, and documented. What these colouringbooks are inadvertiadly doing is de-clothing us, and showing us for what we are; scared, uncertain and incredibly stressed.
Perhaps we have to look at the true issue at hand, like Russell Brand also suggests, and not just cure the symptoms of a much bigger, all compassing, problem. For these colouring books are not a permanent soloution, but they can be a starting point to finding better ways to communicate with others as well as ourselves.