How to Enjoy Coloring as a Mindful Practice by Adriana Argueta, LCPC

If you’ve been out and about shopping this past holiday season or on social media, you’ve most likely encountered the new and burgeoning craze of adult coloring books. This is a calorie free, chemical free way to relax and unwind. Plus, it’s inexpensive and doesn’t require many materials.

Coloring is definitely not just for kids. Coloring for adults can be a short or long activity—a quick break or a longer activity to get away from it all. What matters most, like any other activity, is bringing your mind, breath, and presence to it.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind to maximize your time coloring as a mindful practice:

Find a coloring book with designs that you enjoy and can appreciate their beauty. There are so many options (geometric, mandalas, nature themes, etc) that you can find one that brings you joy and excitement to get started.

  • Treat yourself to some materials that you will look forward to using – a fresh pack of crayons, markers, colored pencils, or gel pens, and designate them in a special spot just for your coloring time.
  • Approach each portion of what you’re coloring slowly and carefully and try to stay relaxed.
  • This is key! Give your full attention to the activity. But first, take a moment to notice your posture and whether you are comfortable and ready.
  • Notice the colors of the crayons or pencils and take a moment to notice the flow of the lines on the coloring page. Slowly pick up a crayon or pencil and pay attention to your body’s movement. Once you are holding a drawing utensil, notice how it feels in your hand.
  • As you start drawing, pay attention to how coloring the paper feels. Does it make any sounds? Try to draw on all your senses. Slow the process down and be mindful of each step as it flows into the next step. Enjoy the process.

When you are done, you can enjoy the beautiful works of art you have created all while relaxing, remaining mindful, and taking a break from the everyday stresses of life!