Benefits of Coloring Mandalas: Why and How It Works

Closeup of hand coloring mandala

Mandalas are intricate geometric patterns, and more and more coloring products are utilizing them. Coloring mandalas might seem like a trivial activity, but there are numerous therapeutic benefits to practicing this. In fact, 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 mandalas. 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 of Coloring Mandalas

Woman relaxing in kitchen with mandala coloring

According to a Harvard doctor named Dr. Herbert Benson, coloring mandalas leads to a relaxation response due to repetitive movement that requires 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 the release of feel-good hormones

Why Mandalas and Not Free-Form Coloring?

According to the 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. They were able to demonstrate that students who colored on a blank piece of paper showed no reduction in anxiety, while those who colored mandalas decreased their anxiety levels to below the levels before they started the coloring.

How to Color a Mandala for Therapy

Kids coloring mandala with pencils of different colors

Now, let us take a look at how you color a mandala and reap those therapeutic benefits:

The very first thing to do is choose your patterns. If you are a beginner, opt for less intricate patterns.

Then, select your coloring medium. Color pencils are considered the best since they have very fine points.

When you begin coloring, try to work in layers. First, fill in a shape with a light shade so 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-colored pencils also help you fill in the ‘valleys’ left behind while coloring.

Another great trick to use when coloring mandala patterns is to 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 the white color pencil effect described above.

Closeup of mandala and color pencils

When it comes to picking colors for 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, and green.

Read our full mandala coloring guide, which includes examples of colored mandalas for inspiration.


As you can see, there are many benefits of coloring, 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!