Posted on August 11 2016
You see the coloring books everywhere. In bookstores, mall kiosks, gift shops, even grocery stores! So, what’s the big deal? Do they really help us to calm and refocus? Research says they do.
The delicate, articulate designs of these coloring pages are intentional. Of course, they're beautiful, but when we begin to color in all those small spaces, we are forced to focus on the present moment. We need to decide what color to fill into each area, and which pencil will be chosen next. Will all the triangles be blue? Should the border be colored with alternating colors? See what I mean? If we let our minds wander and start to think about the past or the future, we are unable to concentrate on the present moment, which determines what our next step will be. Mindful coloring can be extremely soothing and almost rehabilitating to someone who is anxious or overly stimulated. It also allows us a break from judgement. There is no right or wrong way to complete them. When I’m working with children, for every completed coloring page I have seen, I have yet to see one that “didn’t turn out”. I have never seen a child crumple up their page because it wasn’t right or make fun of another child’s paper.
Perhaps, bringing us back to the present moment while our minds are calm and refocused, encourages kindness and acceptance as well. Something to think about…
If you are an educator or other community leader, place out a few mindful coloring pages in your classroom and watch what happens when children spend time here. You may even decide to join them.
Laura Zimmer- Author/Creator of The Beginner's Mind Mindfulness Teaching Toolkit - A mindfulness curriculum for elementary children.
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