Mindful colouring – The benefits and top tips

Can you remember when you were younger, and you would get a colouring book for your birthday, or given a colouring sheet and crayons at a restaurant? Hours would pass by, focusing on keeping inside the lines, deciding which colour to use, and using your creativity to watch a picture form. You may not have realised during this time, but this is a form of mindfulness. The ability to focus and stay in the present moment, allowing yourself to concentrate on a specific task and disconnect from surrounding thoughts.

Although colouring is often seen as an activity used for children, mindful colouring is known to be a healthy technique to relieve stress in adults. Mindful colouring can be used as a form of mindfulness and art therapy, which can improve focus and attention on your surroundings or your emotions at that time. Recent studies have also shown mindful colouring to reduce anxiety and depression, so can be a helpful tool in managing unhelpful thoughts and feelings.

Colouring also encourages creativity and can be done anytime or anywhere, with there being many books or apps now created for this purpose. And if you’re planning on doing mindful colouring late at night, this means we spend less time looking at phone and TV screens, which can improve quantity and quality of your sleep by reducing our blue light exposure before going to bed.

There are so many positive benefits to mindful colouring, so why not give it a go!

Here are some top tips to help you start:

  • Use a method that will be the easiest and most convenient for you to access when you feel anxious or stressed – such as a colouring book, a sheet, or a mindful colouring app
  • Be prepared ahead of time – pack your bag with some colouring pens to colour on the go, or bring a portable charger if you use an app
  • Plan some time in the day where you can do some mindful colouring – whether this is in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Pick the most convenient time for you
  • Think about your surroundings – removing distractions, listening to music, and wearing comfortable clothing. Make your environment a comfortable place to be
  • Focus on the rhythm of your breathing, making sure to take slow, long, deep breaths throughout the activity

However, if you find that mindful colouring isn’t working for you, there are many ways to relax, destress and improve your wellbeing. Some other ideas include:

  • Going for a walk
  • Following a guided meditation or mindfulness recording (Headspace is an NHS recommended app)
  • Reading a few pages or a chapter of a book
  • Listen to your favourite music, artist, or album
  • Talk to a friend or family member, on the phone or in person
  • Research a new healthy recipe and give it a go!

Overall, there are many techniques that can be used to help improve our wellbeing, with mindful colouring being one of them. If you feel that you would like to give this a go, please see below for a link to some free downloads of colouring sheets.

https://st-thomas-more.oxon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Child-and-Adult-mindfulness-colouring-sheets-bumper-pack-.pdf

If you are struggling with your mental wellbeing, please do speak with your GP and visit the NHS website for where to find relevant support and guidance: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/

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