Sunday, 16 August 2015

Colouring as an experience in mindfulness.

Mindfulness meditation has long been recognized as a natural method for controlling and reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. It's something that I have tried, and I find it works for me. It only takes a few minutes a day to reap the benefits of meditation. The byproduct of meditation is mindfulness in general, which creates peace and a harmony in daily life. On days when it is difficult to focus, I have been using a method of visualizing a colour filling my mind, then my body, until all I am is a colour, and eventually, my mind is clear. Colour is very powerful to me.

Some days when I try to meditate, I fall asleep (which means that I am not meditating correctly, or that I am exhausted). Since having children, I have been able to fall asleep very easily (minutes from my head hitting the pillow, almost every night). I also now fall asleep at the dentist, because lying down and not moving is really all it takes for total relaxation these days!

Because of my state of exhaustion, I have been interested in finding different ways to meditate or reduce stress without the possible side effect of falling asleep. Adult colouring books have become very popular lately as a way of relaxing and clearing your mind. This appeals to me for many reasons, first of all because it is creative, and also it reminds me of my colour method of meditation. I convinced Husband to try this method of mindfulness meditation with me. Last night was date night, the kind of date night when you plan an activity in your house with your significant other and hope that the children stay in bed so that you can have an enjoyable evening (the most common kind of date night around here). We coloured together at the kitchen table while listening to music for over 2 hours. It was a lovely peaceful evening, and our children stayed in bed (although they did get up at 5:30 am today, and that is why we need stress relief meditation- ha ha)!

I found some mandalas to colour at Colouring Pages for Adults. There are also many other themes to choose from on this website and in general. I decided to go with mandalas because I have been interested in them since I was a teenager working with a fabulous art therapist as part of the excellent art program that I was lucky enough to take part in at my high school. My mentor taught me that mandala's are a sacred circle believed to balance energy, while enhancing creativity, relaxation, and healing. Plus, they are BEAUTIFUL.

Here are the mandalas that Husband and I chose for our colouring date. The top is my choice and the more star shaped drawing is his. It would also be relaxing to create your own mandala. I have done this in the past, but we didn't have the time last night. Feel free to print these off and colour in your own way. I had some trouble with the format of the mandalas on the website. I did have to resize these and then print them using Picasa.






It took us over 2 hours to colour these drawings. We listened to the second half of Tonic with Tim Tamashiro, and almost all of The Signal with Laurie Brown, which are my favourite old lady radio programs on CBC Radio 2. I loved witnessing our different methods in colour choice and colouring technique. Sometimes we chatted, sometimes we were quiet and listening to the music as we coloured, it was very relaxing and I can see how people relate this type of colouring experience to meditation. I think that both mandalas are beautiful, it is impossible to for me to choose a favourite. I can definitely see our personalities in each of them. What a wonderful thing.

 Husband's work of art.

My work of art. 



At the moment, our mandalas are displayed in the rotating kid art spot in our kitchen, but I think that they are destined for frames. I love them. I highly recommend colouring as a stress relieving activity!



9 comments:

  1. I love this post. Sarah bought me an adult coloring book last year as I was going through cancer treatments. It was a source of much relaxation for me. On the days I felt I had some energy, I loved going into my craft room after work and coloring for an hour or so. It always made me feel better as it took my "crazy" mind off everything I was stressing about, and I have some beautiful coloring pages to look at now. I think I want to frame some of them too.

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    1. I love this comment. Such a healthy way to deal with stress! You should definitely frame some, I bet they are gorgeous.

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  2. What a great idea. I'm terrible at meditating. Years ago, when I worked midnight shifts, I read a tip about clearing your mind to fall asleep. I got very good at that. Now when I try meditation, I struggle with staying awake even if I am well rested.

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    1. Yes, I may have trained my body to fall asleep easily too, maybe that is my problem. Although it is a good problem to have, really...

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  3. What a great idea. I'm terrible at meditating. Years ago, when I worked midnight shifts, I read a tip about clearing your mind to fall asleep. I got very good at that. Now when I try meditation, I struggle with staying awake even if I am well rested.

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  4. I emailed this post to my husband. I would love to do this and had never heard of adult coloring books. I noticed you used colored pencils. I would relish the idea of buying a box of Crayola crayons! I am so glad I found your website through Joshua Becker's Becoming Minimalist site. I'm the one in Arizona with the same green kitchen as yours!

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    1. I hope that you enjoy your colouring! I bought a Mandala colouring book at Costco last night for $6, amazing timing!

      Glad you found me as well. Do you have a blog that I could follow?

      I have so many pencil crayons (Canadian term for coloured pencils I think). It goes against my minimalist principles. Ha ha!

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  5. PS. I have used all of Deepak Chopra/Oprah free meditations and find that with the musical background it helps to stay focused. My husband and I do one every morning to start our day. They are 20 minutes in length, have a beautiful landscape photo, inspiring intro, and different music on each of the 21 group of meditations in a series. If you get on their email list they will alert you when a new free 21 day meditation is coming up and then it arrives in your inbox!

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