Coloring is something that goes way beyond having mindless fun. Especially when it comes to grown-ups. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be a certified psychologist in order to appreciate its influence. But you should still be aware of a few psychological facts that would give you a brand new perspective on this otherwise childish activity.
First of all, ask yourself - what do you like? What shapes? What patterns? What colors? Something simple and well-known (like Cinderella) or something fancy and exquisite?
And how do you feel today? What point of your life are you at? What do you need right now – relaxation, stress-relief or maybe something to lift up your spirit or simply have fun?
…and then move on.
Choose your colors wisely.
Remember that colors have powerful impact. They could boost your mood, make you feel immensely calm and even heal your soul. Some like it light and gentle, others like it dark and heavy. It’s entirely up to you. Are in a mood for some rock & roll? Well then, grab that crimson! There’re no limits in your own world of coloring – it’s your style, your self-expression.
Don’t be ashamed to choose. Loosen that imagination of yours!
Being the latest trend, adult-coloring books can provide you with anything – from mind-blowing henna designs to Tom Hiddleston (who’s no less mind-blowing, but that’s a whole other story). And why not even a children’s coloring book? After all, everyone already knows your dirty little secret.
Coloring is great for those who always get outside the lines – it encourages you to improvise; and for those, who are almost frantically pedantic about staying inside the lines – it gives you a sense of control and order. It’s also something to do while you’re doing something else – cooking, watching your favorite TV show, painting your nails… Good news, all you multitaskers!
As for those of you who are still searching, here’s some food for thought:
Mandala (“sacred circle" from Sanskrit) is basically a circle, filled with whatever images and colors your mind leads you to. What’s so special about it is that mandala’s said to reflect your inner being, the wholeness of your inner self.
Mandalas are known ever since ancient times, they’re an unfailing part of society’s culture and of each religion (recall those pretty cathedral domes).
In the East, people have used mandalas for centuries to rediscover their place in the universe. They are a great way for visual meditation too. The Tibetan Buddhist Kalachakra (the Wheel of time) is one of the best examples of a mandala.
In the West, mandalas were introduced by the Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung. He drew a mandala a day and discovered its psychological meaning by his personal experience. Jung stated that mandalas corresponded to his inner self and thus represented visually his soul’s state.
According to him mandala represents the so-called “total personality” – the Self (as opposed to the Ego). It’s the center of being, the one thing that draws everything else to itself. The Self is unknown and unconscious, yet it forms our personality. The Ego (“I”), on the other hand, is what we realize about ourselves and try to control. When Ego and Self are in conflict, we begin to experience depression, boredom, stress, confusion, etc. That’s where mandalas come in handy.
Jung conceived that if a person felt a sudden rush to draw a mandala or if it appeared in a dream, this was an indication of a new stage in life, new level of self-awareness, “an attempt at self-healing on the part of Nature”, which sprang from an instinctive impulse. Hence Jung used mandalas to help his patients regenerate and heal by slowly but steadily resolving their inner issues.
Art therapist Joan Kellogg continued Jung’s psychological research on mandalas. According to her our reaction to certain patterns or shapes actually corresponds to our current emotional and spiritual state. Creating mandalas is something almost atavistic – from early on the only thing children can draw (without being taught by adults) are circles. Those circles might change their purpose (e.g. suns, flowers, bellies) in time but always keep their shape. This suggests that circular motives are a natural part of our development as human beings.
Having said all that, it becomes obvious that when adults deal with mandalas they actually go back to their childhood when everything was simpler. That very sense of coming back to ourselves, of knowing where we belong, of befriending our Self and Ego is what makes coloring mandalas so popular these days.