When I was hospitalized, all of a sudden, I had a bunch of time on my hands without a whole lot of options available for how to spend it. A favourite option of mine, both during this recent admission and during previous ones, is colouring.
So what’s the big appeal? I think it makes a great mindfulness activity—it keeps you in the present moment rather than time-travelling to the past or future. I find that my thoughts generally tend to stay in the background when I’m focused on colouring. That focus is much easier to maintain than with something like reading, which requires a fair bit of mental energy to concentrate.
According to a PositivePsychology article, “The fundamental concept of mindfulness coloring is that the very act of coloring pre-drawn illustrations provides an opportunity to suspend our inner dialogue and engage in an activity that disregards the flow of negative thoughts that can dominate our lives.” Research has shown that reasonably complex images (like mandalas) offer more benefits than simple images. I also like that a single complex image can take up quite a bit of time to complete.
Colouring hasn’t really been something I do when I’m at home; usually, jigsaw puzzles are my present-moment, no-thought-required activity of choice. However, I think now I’ll probably keep it up for a while, at least until I finish with the colouring books I’ve currently got on the go.
Where to find free colouring sheets
My lovely blogging friend Erika Jane has colouring sheets on her blog That Beautiful Brain.
- Between Sessions mindful coloring book
- Color-a-Mandala free printable colouring sheets
- Just Color mandala colouring sheets
- MondayMandala patterns
- Super Coloring mandala colouring pages
- Swirling leaves mandala
- TeachingIdeas: dragonfly | elephant | fox | iguana | rhino | turtle
- The Spruce Crafts mandala colouring pages
- Twinkl mindfulness colouring sheets
- YouthFocus mindful colouring sheets
These colour associations come from Platt College.
- Red: passion, excitement, love, confidence, comfort, warmth
- Orange: excitement, energy, health and vitality, friendly, enthusiasm, beauty, earthiness, seasonal change, warmth
- Yellow: warm, cheerful, attention-grabbing, happiness, hope
- Green: nature, growth, health, new beginnings, money, renewal, calm, abundance, soothing, fertility, good luck, harmony, balance
- Blue: authority, calming, masculine, non-threatening, peaceful, refreshing, reliable, responsible, serene, stable, strength, tranquil
- Purple: magical, creative, mysterious, spiritual, imaginative, luxurious, royalty, romance, and wealth
- White: cleanliness, innocence, virginity, healthcare, purity, goodness, peace
- Black: magic, power, fashion, elegance, mystery, wealth, formality
- Gray: professional, formal, sophisticated
- Brown: down-to-earth, warm, family, dependability, steadfastness, comfortable, reliable
I’m a blue, purple, and pink kinda gal myself, and I think those are the shades of pencil crayons I’m going to use up the fastest (pencil crayons is the Canadian term for coloured pencils). Blue is my favourite colour, and I definitely get a calming, peaceful, tranquil vibe from it.
What’s your favourite colour, and do any of these colour associations resonate with you? Do you have any favourite activities for keeping you grounded in the present moment?