Colour me happy: A Complete Guide to Mindful Colouring

Colour Me Happy: A Complete Guide to Mindful Colouring

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 to the present moment through colouring-in using a colouring book* or colouring sheet (ones usually designed for adults).

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Colouring Sheet & Pencils the only equipment needed for mindful colouring

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:


You might also like: A Complete Guide to Mindful Baking with a FREE downloadable recipe card

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 to.  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.  

RELATED: What I learnt about happiness from a Buddhist Monk

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):  

Colour Moods Chart to aid with selecting colours for mindful colouring. Read a complete guide here. #colourpsychology #colourmeanings #mindfulcolouring
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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.

Reltated: 5 Useful Ways Mindfulness Helps in Your Everyday Life

A Complete Guide to Mindful Colouring. What is mindful colouring? What are the benefits? How do you colour mindfully? Includes free printable colouring sheet #mindfulcolouring #colouringforadults #mindfulness #creativity #wellbeing
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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.


22 thoughts on “Colour me happy: A Complete Guide to Mindful Colouring

  1. I love coloring! Even though I’m not remotely crafty (I also can’t draw a stick figure) it is soothing and fun. I even downloaded a coloring app on my phone so I can get the same benefits when my book and pencils aren’t with me — like when I was sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, terrified of getting a tooth pulled. It helped!

    1. That’s such a good tip about the app – thank you for sharing it. I’m pleased you’ve found benefit from colouring too x

  2. I still colour, but not as much as I once did. Those times I coloured daily, really helped, as I needed to on my dark days. Now I colour when I want to and sometimes, some of those times I do, for needing calm and refocus on something else; the colouring and not what is causing me anxiety.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Liz – I think that’s the beauty of it isn’t it – it’s something that you don’t need to do consistently, but it is there when you need it x

  3. I love mindful colouring! I find it is a great stress reliever and really calming for my mind. Your guide on how to colour mindfully and your colour chart are both great as it has given me ideas of how I can make my next colouring session even more relaxing and enjoyable.

    1. That’s so good to hear you enjoy it too and I’m really pleased the tips are helpful – have fun colouring! xx

  4. I love the colour mood chart! Two of my daughters like to color to relieve the stress. When I color I have to be perfect at that too! LOL! I am going to have to try this. xo

    1. I’m glad your daughters find it works for them too! You should definitely try it – less perfectionism more artistic expression 😉 Thank you for reading xx

  5. This kind of activity is so therapeutic, it can actually reduce blood pressure and certainly helps to calm and focus the mind. Thanks for this

    1. I didn’t realise it can help to reduce blood pressure, that’s another fantastic benefit! Thanks for sharing xx

  6. Every now and then I get the colouring pens out and have a colouring-in session – bought a couple of books full of patterns. It does relax me and if I’m honest I’d like to do it more often. Super tips & advice as always Alex xx

    1. Thank you! That is very kind to say. I think it’s one of those things we can fall in and out of the habit of, but at least it’s always there whenever you need it. Thanks for reading xx

    1. Do you still colour now? I kind of did it the other way round to you, as I didn’t realise it was classed as a mindful activity until fairly recently lol. So pleased you like it xx

  7. I love colouring and anything stationery. So I enjoyed reading this post! I love the colouring pictures! I find colouring so relaxing and helps if I am anxious too! Thank you for sharing all about mindfulness colouring x

    1. It’s always wonderful to hear others also feel benefit from something so simple as colouring. I’m really pleased you enjoy it too & it helps with anxiety – I find it helps to quiet my mind which gets very noisy when I’m feeling anxious! Thank you for sharing your thoughts too x

  8. I didn’t know anything about Mindfulness coloring until this pandemic. I think this is great way to help children cope with what is going on with the pandemic and also tying it into social-emotional learning.

    1. Absolutely, it’s very therapeutic for them. I try to sit with my kids to do it all together, it helps me so much too. Thanks for sharing Sharon xx

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