Nothing quite like Coloring

The smell of wax and a giant sigh of relief

Do you remember the feeling of enjoyment and peace you felt as a kid when you bellied up to a giant box of fresh Crayola crayons?

I bet you can even drum up the memory of the smell of the wax along with the sensory delight of how creative you suddenly became when you held that squat little colorful inducer.  Did you know then that the endorphins that flowed at the mere sight of the possibility you could sit and color could change your whole experience of life?  

You might be wondering. Does coloring really have the power to help me relax? 

From selecting colors to the calm, sometimes tedious motion of your hands as you marry color to paper, coloring can be used as a form of active mediation. When most people think of meditation, they envision sitting still for an extended period of time. Active meditation is quite the opposite. Repetitive motion such as coloring (or jogging, walking, dancing or even drawing) can strengthen your mind’s focus and shift your frenetic energy and attention back to a relaxed state. Stressful thoughts and future worries can be simply pushed aside as you take time to enjoy the present. When was the last time you sat down with a box of crayons, pastels, or even some basic pencils to draw or color?

Where to begin:

Step 1:
Start your creative adventure with a smile. Don’t skip this step just because it sounds silly or woo woo. Studies have proven that smiling, even when you feel like gritting your teeth, raises your mood-enhancing chemical levels. These are called endorphins and they are a friend in your brain. So, start smiling!

Step 2:
Find something to color. Anything at all will do. The easiest place to start is with a coloring book but I most enjoy mandalas which I print out or copy from a book.  Mandalas are complex, symmetrical geometric designs. They’re a blast to color and beautiful to look at and put on display once finished.

Step 3:
Choose your coloring supplies with love. You can use crayons, colored pencils, markers, pastels or even chalk. Don’t get all wrapped up in thinking about the colors you pick. Just let the colors pick themselves. You’ll be astonished at the color combinations you’ve created when you are enjoying your completed work of art.

Step 4:
Allow yourself to experience the movement, hear the sounds of the crayon on the paper, or feel the pastel glide and then smudge across the page. As thoughts, pictures or worries come into your awareness, simply acknowledge them and surrender them returning to your coloring. The act of coloring will always bring you back. With some practice you’ll start to recognize that you can achieve a deeply relaxed state easily while coloring and even when just thinking about coloring.

Here’s a link to find free mandalas to print out.

Now go grab some supplies, find a quiet space and enjoy your relaxed creative adventure.