How mindful coloring can be a meditative practice beneficial to the mind and the soul for adults and children
Remember when you had been a young kid, lying on your belly on the floor, coloring book open, crayon at hand with the other crayons spilling out from the box?
Could you remember the sense of peace and pleasure you felt while you had been coloring? Why not consider revisiting this childhood pastime whenever you find yourself feeling on the edge. For many of us, whenever we think of coloring, we connect to the innocence of childhood and a time when we were not burdened by liability and expectation. Picking up a crayon once more might help us reconnect to a feeling of simplicity we’ve momentarily lost.
What is Mindful Colouring
Mindful coloring focuses us to bring ourselves to the present to choose and apply a color. There is no right or wrong mindful coloring, you should choose the color you resonate with and go beyond the conventions (e.g. grass can be green but you can choose to color it blue based on what you feel like at the moment).
5 Benefits to Mindful Coloring
1. You will feel more creative
As a child, we were always encouraged for the doodles and coloring we have done, whether it was in the “right” color or not. As we grow up, we start to conform to society’s standard of what is right and what is wrong. While it is good to have societal standards, we unconsciously restrict ourselves of our creativity. Coloring mindfully will help to open up your creativity.
2. You will have better focus
Try using one of the printables recommended to color. You will gradually ease into the “zone” where you are highly focused. You will become so focused to the point that you are just doing 1 thing: filling up the blank space with the color you have chosen. By coloring, you train yourself to be focused.
Tip: Place your phone away or in silence so that there is little or no distraction.
3. You will become more patient with yourself
I can assure you that your first few coloring pages will be half done. You may feel like giving up after 2 hours and realizing that it is only half completed. I definitely felt this way when I started my coloring journey.
We have been pampered by technology which gives instant gratification. Want to find a Chinese restaurant nearby? Just google it. Want to get a dress for next week’s party? Go online to shop and get it shipped to your doorstep.
Take a break if you have not completed your coloring page and don’t be too harsh on yourself. Continue the next round.
4. You will start assessing situations more holistically
Funny how coloring can make you a more holistic person but it does. In addition to building patience, you start strategizing for your next coloring page. You visualize your colors, mentally create plans to tackle the bigger space before filling up the smaller space. Your coloring becomes more vibrant when you learn to mix and match the colors in your palette. As you gain more experience in coloring, you become sharper, faster to see details and get the whole picture quicker compared to when your first start.
5. You will feel positive about yourself
Like all artist who completed their masterpiece, this mini masterpiece is an achievement to you. You can review through your works at a later stage or take a picture to share with your friends and family.
Coloring pages for adults
Coloring pages are everywhere. You can choose a really simple one like an animal to start off or a coloring book with beautifully detailed scenes.
Free Resources for Mindful Coloring
Just Color : A comprehensive set of coloring pages from mandala to festive pages. It is a playground spoilt for choices.
Art is Fun: If you need color inspiration, take reference to this site by Thaneeya. She offers free and paid resources to guide beginners on how to color.
I find her speed coloring really cool. Just remember she is very experienced to go into the details of her coloring. Do remember to enjoy yourself and color as you wish instead of “following” how she did.
5 unique paid coloring pages
Found out that you enjoyed coloring and can go a notch up? Try out these unique coloring recommendations!
1. The Anatomy Coloring Book – like what the title is. A perfect blend to learn anatomy and ease into coloring at the same time!
2. Color Me Drunk: A Drinking and Drawing Activity Book – a unique blend of drinking and coloring. This book is simple but expressive. With just bottles, you can color the various bottles. This might just be a better alternative to drinking!
3. Indie Rock Coloring Book – it is not only a coloring book, but it’s also an activity book. This cute and whimsical book that will capture your attention for hours!
Important Tips for Mindful Coloring
In 2016, there was a coloring craze. I am not sure how it happened (will update the post if I am able to discover the reason. Below are 4 tips that I learned after trying out coloring during the “craze period” .
1. Try something simple for a start
Get a simple drawing instead of a complex one to start off. We, including myself, will have the desire to start off with the prettiest, fanciest design but quickly give up when things do not go your way.
It’s like you are a piano novice and the first piece you would like to play is the original version of Fur Elise.
Like all skills, coloring takes time to build up the skills to color brilliantly.
2. Take a break
Coloring a page can take as fast as 30 minutes to as long as 3 days. It really depends on how much details you want to include in the coloring.
What works for me is to do a basic layer of the base color — coloring faintly with the colors that I have picked to the entire page. Thereafter, do a second application of details – Areas where you would like to shade or darken based on what you feel like.
3. Don’t be harsh on yourself
It is common to give up when coloring takes too long. Do remember creation takes time and if you are getting impatient, stop doing the activity. Return back to the activity when you wish to. If you continue to push yourself to complete the “task”, the activity is no longer enjoyable and you will not move to the next coloring page after you completed the first one. Subconsciously, this activity has become a “chore” for you and you will mentally register this as an unpleasant activity.
Remember that it is not a task to complete but a recreational activity for you (It’s not a competition!).
4. Don’t compare
There are many beautiful coloring outputs out there on social media. You can take them as a reference but do not compare or belittle your coloring. There is no good or bad outcome from the drawing. Coloring is an expression of yourself and should not be judged upon.
Should I do Meditation or Coloring?
Try both and see which one you enjoy more. I do switch around between coloring and meditation. It should not be mutually exclusive. Coloring is a good start for this group of people:
- A beginner who wants to learn mindfulness and meditation
- Someone who has a racing mind or has tried meditation but unable to “get it”
Coloring can be an adult or child activity. You can even be coloring as a family (adult + children). Do remember the purpose of coloring which is an outlet to express your creativity, focus and create. Do remember that creation takes time. Continue to hone your skills and you will get the benefits from coloring. It is a meditative practice suitable for people who prefers an activity over sitting still to meditate.