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There is a great deal of stress and anxiety associated with being an adult. Work/Life balance, financial responsibilities, relationships, bombardment of social media, news reports, the perceived perfect life of others and, of course, parenting can all cause stress, anxiety and worry.  One way to help manage and release stress and foster your creativity is, believe it or not, through coloring. 

Adult coloring books are becoming very popular and for a very good reason: coloring helps individuals focus on a calming activity as well as giving them the opportunity to use their creativity. The practice of coloring is shown to help the body to slow its reaction the stress or anxiety.  Coloring is a great coping skill that can be done almost anywhere.  It is also a great skill that you can do with your children.

Anxiety is a mental health condition affecting millions of adults.   It is estimated that nearly one out of 5 Americans struggle with anxiety, described as excessive worries or fears that are intrusive into ones’ life.  Some of the common fears include fear of dying, or a constant fear of impending doom, among others.  The physical symptoms associated with anxiety include increased sweating, racing heartbeat, racing thoughts, dizziness, increased agitation and aggression. Coloring, and in particular coloring the patterns known as mandalas, is a great way to help decrease anxiety.

What is a mandala?

The word mandala translates from Sanskrit to mean circle.  These circular patterns act as a calming influence while one is coloring them.  The patterns on the interior of the mandala provide the individual an opportunity to use their creativity without needing any particular artistic talent or skill. 

What can a Mandela do to reduce stress and anxiety?

Coloring a mandala helps to focus the individual on a calming activity.  This focus can help the individual not only reduce stress and anxiety, but it has also been suggested that mandalas can help with pain management, decrease depressive symptoms, and lower blood pressure.

Who can benefit from coloring mandalas?

Anyone!  Children through adults can use this to help with anxiety, work through their emotions, and help them to increase their ability to focus and learn mindfulness. 

How can I get a mandala and learn to use it for relaxation?

A large variety of mandala coloring pages are available free on line; simply search for “mandalas” and print out designs that are appealing to you.  (See Page ____ for an example of a mandala ready for coloring!)

Gather your coloring sheets and supplies such as crayons, colored pencils, then dedicate some time (around 20-30 minutes) to coloring the mandala.  This can be done most places, whether at home or on the go.  Ideally, you would find a quiet environment with relaxing lighting, and a comfortable area to sit or recline as you are coloring. Once you are in a relaxing and comfortable spot, let your creativity flow.

Katherine Matonis

Katherine Matonis

Katherine Matonis, M.Ed., is Director of KidsPeace’s Pennsylvania Community Programs, overseeing four outpatient programs and one partial hospitalization program.