How to Color Your Way to Peace

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By Traci Pedersen

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

When was the last time you opened a brand new box of colored pencils and thoughtfully colored an owl or a mandala or a starry night sky? If you loved coloring as a child, you may be interested in knowing that coloring books for adults are now widely available, and publishers are working hard to keep up with the increasing demand.

At some point on the road to maturity, most of us non-ceremoniously gave up the creative pastime of coloring and placed it in a file with other nostalgic activities reserved only for childhood, such as hide-and-seek and climbing trees. Aside from art classes in school, we gave up our crayons and left art to the ‘real’ artists.

As adults, the art of coloring quietly beckons us once again, but this time, it presents itself as a respite from a hectic, technology-filled day. It comes in the new form of meditation; it is the ultimate anti-technology. After a full day of computer screens and cell phones, the thought of snuggling on the couch and coloring a flower seems peaceful and quiet. Blissful. 

And so the adult version of coloring books leaves behind the pages of large cartoon characters and instead places you in a world of intricate designs—patterns that will spark your creativity and bring peace to your overworked mind. These pages aren’t meant to be rushed through, but are designed to help you become totally absorbed in the quiet and beauty of the moment.

For example, many coloring books for adults feature intricately designed mandalas. The continuous circular shape of the mandala is said to promote healing, calm the mind and balance energy in the body. According to many spiritual practices, focusing on and coloring a mandala is letting the Universe know that you desire healing and wholeness.

The prominent psychiatrist Carl Jung would notice a distinct calm come over his patients as they drew mandalas during therapy. He frequently used mandala art as a form of treatment, as he believed that the process helped his patients work through the outer chaos of their lives and get in touch with their inner being.

Although coloring books are a relatively new pastime for adults, art therapy has long been scientifically proven to help heal negative emotions. This healing process can be done in peaceful solitude or in a group. In fact, if you prefer company, coloring clubs are popping up all across the country. Adults who are seeking a gentle form of therapy and camaraderie simply come together and color.

Just like the mandala that comes full circle, people are longing to come back to simpler times now that technology has taken on an imbalanced role in our lives. So go ahead, release your inner child—grab your crayons and begin to heal your mind with the quiet meditation and creativity of a coloring book.

 

Spirituality & Health magazine is for people who wish to explore the spiritual journey—the journey to self-knowledge, authenticity, and integration. We draw from the wisdom of many traditions and cultures, with an emphasis on sharing spiritual practices. We explore the health of body, mind, and spirit, and we recognize that in our language the words “whole,” “health,” and “holy” share a common root. To subscribe to Spirituality & Health, click here.

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