There are numerous therapeutic benefits of coloring mandalas. Mandalas are intricate geometric patterns and more and more adult coloring products are utilizing them in their products. Coloring mandalas might seem like a trivial activity but it has hundreds of healing and relaxation effects on the body.
Why is mandala coloring for adults and children so effective?
Today, a lot of research has been conducted on the benefits of coloring for adults. Doctors are now convinced that engaging in fine motor movements of the hands has numerous stress reduction benefits. The reason behind the enhanced therapeutic effects of coloring mandalas is the use of fine repetitive movements that give one the ability to stay focused on the activity at hand leading to mindfulness or ‘being in the present moment’. The result is positive physiological changes and a relaxation effect within the body.
Some of the many benefits
According to a Harvard doctor named Dr. Herbert Benson, coloring mandalas leads to a relaxation response due to repetitive movement that require us to put aside thoughts that arise and return to the point of focus or repetition. He further states that the relaxation response from mandala coloring instructions results in the following benefits:
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Reduced pulse rate
- Decreased oxygen consumption
- Lower cortisol production (cortisol is a stress hormone)
- Increase in release of feel good hormones
Why mandalas and not free form coloring
According to authors of the study ‘Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety?, coloring the symmetrical form of mandalas helps draw the mind into a state similar to that in meditation by calming inner chaos and organizing frenzied thoughts. The authors of this study tested their theory on 84 undergrad students with anxiety. At the end of the study, they concluded that coloring a mandala for 20 minutes was more effective than free form coloring for 20 minutes. The authors were also able to demonstrate that students who colored on a blank piece of paper showed no reduction in anxiety while those who colored mandalas actually decreased their anxiety levels to below those of before they started the coloring.
How to color a mandala for therapy
We will now discuss mandala meditation instructions using coloring therapy for adults:
- Choose your patterns. I have discussed a few websites where you can download and print free coloring mandala pages. If you are a beginner, opt for less intricate patterns.
- Select your coloring medium. Color pencils are the best.
- Color in layers. First fill in a shape with light shade so that you can go back over it again and again making it a deeper color.
- You can also use two different colors and blend them to create shading effects or make a new color.
- Never lay too much pressure on the color pencil as it can break the tip or worse, injure your wrist.
- Do not hesitate to use white color pencils to color over the parts you have already colored. When done right, this can help create a beautiful even blending effect. It can also give a smoother appearance to your mandala. White color pencils also help you fill in the ‘valleys’ left behind while coloring.
- Another great trick to use when coloring mandala patterns is use a colorless blender. This is a pencil that does not have any pigment and when you use it to color over the already colored parts, it removes the excess, uneven color helping you achieve a smoother, more even shade similar to white color pencil effect described above.
- When it comes to picking colors for healing mandala coloring pages, people often get confused as to which shades to pick. The fact is there is no right or wrong color and it is entirely your choice. Be as creative as you like and unleash your imagination. You can always use the color wheel for reference so you can keep in mind the relationships between different colors. For example, red and green make a great color pair as they are complementary colors and so do orange and blue. Another great pair is yellow and purple. You can also use three colors like red, yellow and blue which are primary colors or the secondary color triad of orange-purple-green. Read our full mandala coloring guide, which includes examples of colored mandalas for inspiration.
Best mandala coloring pages
Here are some websites where you can print free mandala coloring pages:
As can be seen, there are a myriad of benefits of coloring for adults and, in particular, the therapeutic benefits of mandalas are well documented. There are no rules when it comes to using color therapy with coloring pages. So just let yourself play, experiment and have fun!