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Anyone who has appreciated a meditative mental drift while knitting or mowing a lawn knows that there is something calming about engaging in a familiar, low-impact activity that requires minimal thought and bestows a clear sense of progress. Coloring in a mandala allows a person to turn down the volume of ruminations and focus on the task at hand.
There is mindfulness when we are not looking at our phones and focused on the here and now. They can be completed with minimal risk. Coloring is therapeutic but not therapy. For many adults who color, the process might well be a flow hack, a way of achieving a simulation of rapture but in a relaxed state. Coloring toward transcendence. In the process, you lose where you are. Coloring parallels with the idea of flow.
Flow fact-check. But where coloring seems to miss the bar for flow is in its inherent ease and accessibility — after all, anybody can do it! Csikszentmihalyi wrote that a child building a tower with blocks and a violinist mastering an intricate passage could each be achieving optimal experiences through different tasks. Feel the microflow. He himself found the work extremely stressful — and noticed that most of the veteran translators doodled while working.
Clay might be the next adult stress-relieving sensation. Another attractive element of coloring is that it allows us to regress and tap into our inner child. And yet, some adults find picking out the right colors and getting the shades just right to be too stressful.
For those people, Berberian suggests working with more forgiving material. Play-Doh, anyone? He writes a PBS. Justice Macy. TED Talk of the Day. Dan Schulman The future of capitalism, commerce and cash.