Mindful colouring first entered my life in Costco. Yes, in the most overloaded of places I was introduced to one of my most calming pastimes. In the book section, my sister-in-law – an occupational therapist – handed me a book she claimed would benefit me (and my stress-levels) massively. It was a colouring book for adults.
Now, I’m not crafty. I actually get frustrated making things and the only thing I can convincingly draw is a stick man (and even then only just) but there was something about the idea of sitting and colouring in – something I had enjoyed in childhood – that actually quite appealed to me. So I bought the book.
What is mindful colouring?
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in the present moment. With mindful colouring, we draw our attention into the present moment through colouring-in using a colouring book* or colouring sheet (ones usually designed for adults).
*Affiliate link [find out more here]
So as my children sat and coloured in that afternoon, I too got out my book (stole their pencils) and started my mindful colouring. It was so absorbing. I obviously was aware my kids were there, but I was relaxed. We chatted about colours, whiled away a good hour & then admired each other’s creations. As time with children under 5 goes, it was pretty stress-free and enjoyable. It soon became a habit.
What are the benefits of mindful colouring?
At the time I wasn’t aware of mindfulness and so didn’t understand that this whole colouring thing was actually a mindful activity. It’s only now that I’m more aware that I understand why it had such a positive impact on me.
Here are just some of the benefits mindful colouring can provide:
- Potential to lower stress & anxiety levels
- The semi-mediative state can provide us with some much-needed brain relief through lowering the activity of the amygdala – the part of our brain that controls emotion.
- Greater focus, which can help build our focusing skills in other areas too, such as studying.
- Promotes creativity, which can increase our ability to creatively problem-solve
- Fosters a sense of compassion
Mindful colouring is inclusive, it’s open to anyone of any skill level. Plus it’s very accessible, there is little to no cost involved with it – there are multiple free colouring sheets available online and there’s also no need to invest in a fancy set of colouring pens – unless you feel the need to.
Here’s a free printable colouring sheet to get you started:LPH-Mindful-Colouring-Sheet
How do you mindfully colour?
It really is as simple as sitting down and colouring-in, but there are some things you can do to heighten the positive impact:
– Try to avoid distractions, this is about gaining focus. I did mindfully colour when my children were around but I find I’m more absorbed when I’m on my own.
– Take a few deep breaths before starting to ground yourself and make sure you’re sitting comfortably.
– Pick a picture you feel connected too. You may have started one already, but if the image isn’t connecting with you, there is no harm in switching to a different design.
– Just because a tree is green and brown doesn’t mean you have to use green and brown – use any colour you feel like using. You don’t even need to colour in the lines. Go with what feels right to you at that moment.
– If you find your mind wandering, just make a non-judgemental note of it and allow yourself to return to the moment.
– Another technique to ground yourself and create focus is to mentally state what you’re doing, so, I’m using a red pencil or, I’m colouring in the sky now.
– Don’t judge your work. Mindfulness = no judgement. There is no right or wrong, it’s just a form of self-expression.
Colours to influence your mood
Colours can affect our moods, feelings & emotions. Why not try selecting colours to influence your mood? Or, after you’ve finished colouring, look at the colours you were drawn to, to see if their meaning uncovers anything for you. Here is a basic colour moods chart to get you started (keep in mind colours have different meanings in different cultures):
How often should you practice mindful colouring?
Personally I don’t see it as a practice, more of an enjoyable pastime. Do it when you feel like doing it, for as long as you’re enjoying doing it for. If you’re feeling particularly anxious or you need to focus your mind, that’s potentially a good cue to pick up the pens.
Colour me happier…
There are so many ways to be mindful even if you’re not into the whole meditation aspect of mindfulness. Any activity that brings you into the present moment, makes you feel calmer & more at peace – such as mindful colouring – is definitely worth trying. You never know, something so simple could be the stress-relieving answer you’ve been searching for.
Have you ever tried mindful colouring? If you have, what has your experience been? And, if you haven’t, is this something you think you’ll try? Do you find creative pursuits help calm you? If you have any questions or anything you’d like to say, please do get in touch via the comments box below. I’m happy to help & I always love to hear from you.