When was the last time you sat down, picked up a crayon, colored penciled or marker and colored? And I’m not talking about entertaining a toddler or child with coloring, I’m talking about coloring for your grownup self.
A few weeks ago Clickin Moms‘ daily photo prompt was “center composition” – there were lots of creative photographic options in the prompt, but all I could think was “mandala”.
“What’s a mandala” you ask?
Mandalas (roughly translated from Sanskrit means ‘circle’) are spiritual symbols originating from Hinduism and Buddhism.
Theses circular forms are traditionally used as a visual aide during meditation, and the practice of making mandalas is considered its own form of meditation. Buddhist monks work in teams for hours, even days, creating complex sand mandalas that are wiped away shortly after they are completed.
I’ve loved coloring since I was a kid, especially abstract and geometric designs. Coloring was one of the few activities this kid with undiagnosed ADD (’cause it didn’t exist back then) could sit still for and focus on for hours.
I first discovered mandalas a few years ago when searching the web for free coloring pages to print out for the boys. We colored a few simple ones, but it wasn’t until Clickin Moms’ prompt that something clicked in my head. I quickly abandoned my “to do” list for that day, Googled “free mandala coloring pages” and spent the rest of my afternoon coloring.
Whether simple or complex, angular or swirly, I find coloring mandalas to be very relaxing, mentally soothing, mediation for the stillness challenged.
A centering art activity, such as coloring a mandala (a circle design with geometric patterns), before a group activity has been shown to increase an individual’s attention span and decrease impulsive behavior, promoting better decision-making and focus during tasks. – ADDitude Magazine
While the boys did their homework that afternoon, I finished the mandala above and started another. The mandala madness quickly spread.
The boys and I spent the rest of our afternoon quietly coloring, and Daddy arrived home from work to an unusually quiet household and no supper in the works. When the boys proclaimed it the “best afternoon ever” I was granted a pardon and takeout was procured.
We’ve spread the mandala fever to our friends, too! It’s the perfect way to wile away time on the sideline of big brothers’ little league games.
You can also find mandala coloring books on Amazon. Here are two I like . . .
So what are some of the things you do to slow down, clear away the fog, reset your mental hard drive, relax?
Coloring is so soothing to me too—if I can sit still enough to do it. I was just diagnosed with ADD—it’s a frustrating thing to deal with—
So glad to know I’m not the only grownup that still enjoys coloring.
And welcome to the ADD club. Wrapping your brain around the diagnosis can be frustrating and overwhelming, but as you learn more about the wonderfully convoluted way our brains are wired, you’ll have so many “Aha!” moments.
We have a group on Facebook – MOMSonADD. It’s a small group of wonderfully supportive moms all dealing with the same daily ADD & momming challenges. If you’d like to join us, click on over to MOMSonADD, ask to join and I’ll approve your request straight away.
Those are the spiritual roots. But how did they come to get associated with coloring books or relaxation?
I think it was a natural evolution, until some entrepreneur a few years ago decided they could cash in on people looking for a quick path to calm.