Mindful coloring is when you are able to be so focused on your design in front of you, that you do not give any attention to your negative thoughts that occupy your mind. It is very similar to meditation in that way. Mindful Coloring is not to be confused with art therapy which you need to do under the supervision of a therapist. This is just one form of grounding, and if it works for you then that is great, but if it does not, that is okay too. Please feel welcome to reach out to SSAC to learn more about grounding techniques and receive support!
History of Mindful Coloring
Carl Jung, a prominent figure in the field of psychology, is one of the first people to have started this form of meditation. He focused on the drawing and coloring of mandalas. Mandalas are Buddhist devotional images and are considered sacred in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. They are a reflection of an ideal universe. When using mandalas, the focus should be on the culture it comes from and be a form of honoring the history behind it. The purpose of mindful coloring is to ground oneself and be in tune with our bodies.
How it Works
For mindful coloring to be effective, the image must be complex enough to require a fair amount of attention to complete it. The complexity of the mandala is why they have become so popular in stress-reducing coloring books. A study by Curry and Kasser (2005) found that complex images create a meditative state. If you are choosing a coloring book of some sort please keep this in mind when choosing your image.
If you would like to see if this grounding technique works for you but do not have access to coloring pages, art supplies, or would like to try it in a different way you can do what I like to call mindful doodling. When creating your own image, doodle, without planning out your drawing. Just relax your mind and see what happens on the page. Have no judgment and do not worry about mistakes, just focus on the pencil gliding across the paper and try to remain focused on that throughout the exercise.
There is no specific length of time that you have to do this technique for it to be effective, just listen to your body and do what is best for you. This is just one form of grounding and it may or may not work for you. That is completely okay, just try it out and see what happens. If you find that your mind strays, that is okay also, just do your best to bring your attention back to the page.
Here is a link to free PDF pages if you would like to check them out!
Free PDF of Coloring Pages: https://www.betweensessions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/mindfulness-coloring-book-4_25-16.pdf
-Catherine BSW Advocate Intern