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Art Therapy: Mandala circles, adult coloring books, etc

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Serenity23

Thanks to Fresh who suggested coloring mandalas when I couldn't sleep, I discovered the tool of coloring books for adults. I have no artistic skills whatsoever. Coloring books for adults are good for beginners like me with no artistic skills or for professional artists. It doesn't matter your level of skill. It's not childish. It's actually very relaxing and meditative. My thoughts in my head are able to flow in and out without my anxious mind attaching to them because I am focused on coloring. It is an easy tool to do, so I am not focused on the perfectionism or anxious thoughts of "am I doing this right?", etc. It's been very calming and helps with my anxiety a lot.

 

There are free coloring sheets available for downloading online. Many stores in addition to bookstores are now carrying coloring books for adults. Most bookstores have display tables with them because they are so popular. Facebook has many groups with several thousand members, and artists occasionally post free pages there too. Pinterest has many links to free pages.

 

Coloring in mandalas are especially noteworthy for anxiety. I read that Carl Jung discovered this, as did Buddhists and Hindus. Mandalas, they say, are centering, if they are colored in following the circle's layers.

 

If you're a beginner like me with no artistic skills, who hasn't picked up a colored pencil since childhood, do not let that cause you anxiety like it did for me in the beginning. There are beginner pages or books and those pages or books that are much more detailed and complex. You can buy a pack of 12 Crayola colored pencils for $2.00. I keep coloring simple. I remind myself I am coloring for anxiety and not coloring to hang a finished product on the wall.

 

Thanks again to Fresh for helping me discover this great tool for my anxiety and temporary insomnia.

 

Have others found that coloring books for adults has helped with their anxiety?

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Gibby

This sounds like something I might try in my anxious moments, I loved colouring as a kid. 

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Meimeiquest

I don't really have much anxiety at this point, but I am very busy and find it hard to take time to relax. These are fabulous! I am a total non-creative type.

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pocketnurse

I came across these books when my teenage daughter bought one home, she is very arty and loves drawing and painting. I then found a freebie one with a magazine so bought some pencils and got started.

 

There are some beautiful books here in the UK and I recently bought one for a friend, all the pictures were of an enchanted forest (just up my street). I am going to buy one for myself as I have found the freebie really therapeutic and would imagine if you can't sleep it is a much better distraction and better choice than turning on the TV.

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Jaywill

I also started doing paint by numbers in the summer and i found it very good for many things that had to do with my mind.

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bluebalu86

It's a little offtopic, but there are some books such as "Wreck This Journal", which can also be helpful to some people. They ask you to do different creative tasks and are fun. Perhaps they would be more suitable for people who are a little better functioning, but still a great distraction. I have WTJ and will start working on it soon. 

Edited by Petunia
added a url to text

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Petunia

Similar topics merged.

 

I find it quite therapeutic just looking at images of completed Wreck This Journal pages. I'm thinking about getting one of these.

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dreamspirit

I just bought some Mandella coloring books off of Amazon and gel pens. Should get them this sat.. can't wait to work on them.

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calithebold

Here's a link to a couple of mine I have been working on over the last week here and here.

 

I hope the links work :-)

 

I found that colouring has been so helpful in relaxing me and helping me when I feel scared about something. I highly recommend it :-)

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Serenity23

I just bought some Mandella coloring books off of Amazon and gel pens. Should get them this sat.. can't wait to work on them.

Keep us posted how it goes! :-)

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Serenity23

Here's a link to a couple of mine I have been working on over the last week here and here.

 

I hope the links work :-)

 

I found that colouring has been so helpful in relaxing me and heTlping me when I feel scared about something. I highly recommend it :-)

The links worked! They're really pretty! :-) Coloring has become an important coping skill for me too.

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dreamspirit

I just bought some Mandala coloring books and gel pens off of Amazon. . Will give me something to do this winter.

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bluebalu86

I also bought a Mandala coloring book (it's coloring by numbers) and another one with stained glass pictures (printed on special paper which you can hang on your wall after you're done) and colored pencils 48 colors, I should have more than enough. 

 

I saw very beautiful coloring books, but I got dizzy just by looking at them - too complicated for me at this point. ("Enchanted forest" and "Secret Garden" by Johanna Basford)

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calithebold

Hi BlueBalu86

I know what you mean about Enchanted Forest. I have it and it kinda psychs out just looking at it. I have had it for a while and I have only finished one page and that was the title page lol. I think the ones you got sound good. I have a really good (and quite) think one called Coloring in For Grown Ups and it's good because it has some harder pages in it and then some really easy ones. Happy colouring  :P

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dreamspirit

I got the secret garden a few days ago.

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bluebalu86

They're exceptionally beautiful, but too much detail for me and too complicated. 

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Serenity23

I also bought a Mandala coloring book (it's coloring by numbers) and another one with stained glass pictures (printed on special paper which you can hang on your wall after you're done) and colored pencils 48 colors, I should have more than enough. 

 

I saw very beautiful coloring books, but I got dizzy just by looking at them - too complicated for me at this point. ("Enchanted forest" and "Secret Garden" by Johanna Basford)

I'm curious what you think of the coloring by numbers if it helps to make sense of how to color mandalas.

 

I often get dizzy looking at a lot of the coloring books out there. They say "calming" but they're not. Enchanted Forest and Secret Garden are beautiful but extremely advanced. If you would like some coloring book recommendations that are not as detailed and dizzying but still challenging, fun, and not childish, check out the Creative Haven ones. Most aren't detailed except for one or two. :-) Or feel free to PM me for suggestions.

 

Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest seem to be enjoyed mostly by those who are professional artists or those who have an artistic background. Also people who like to blend, shade, layer colors, etc seem to go for those books. Personally I keep things simple. I like pictures that don't take more than an hour to color and aren't too tiny in details.

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Serenity23

^Edit to the post above.^

 

Creative Haven are not the ones I was thinking of. The ones I enjoy very much as a beginner since they are not too detailed are the "Design Originals" group of titles. The artists are Thaneeya McArdle or Valentina Harper. I enjoy the Creative Haven ones very much, too, but they are more detailed and I had to work my way up to them. Hope that helps. :-)

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bluebalu86

Thank you Serenity. I'm not sure we have those in Bulgarian bookstores, but I'll check. I saw some not so complicated ones and maybe I'll buy them next after I'm done with the ones I have now. 

Coloring by numbers is very easy. It gives you a color for each number (of course you can also assign your own colors) and you just put the color where the number is. Otherwise the mandalas are too complicated, at least the ones I have.

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JanCarol

Yah, this one was too detailed.  It took me 2 months (of course, I was away for a month, too - so 3 months all up), and by the time I got to the end, I was uptight about it - so - not as relaxing as it could be - but definitely distracting:

Faeries%20Oct%202015%20small_zps3vbfshyc

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Serenity23

JanCarol - It's beautiful!! But I know what you mean. I have zero patience for detailed pictures. That's why I like the books I mentioned. I can easily color a complete picture in an hour or so.

 

BlueBalu - I don't know what bookstores or hobby stores you have there, but I've heard people finding books at: Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Walmart, Books-A-Million, and Target. If you don't mind purchasing online, amazon.com and doverpublications.com are good resources, too.

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JanCarol

Something a little more relaxing - only 3 days instead of 3 months!  I cannot finish one in an hour, I have to take breaks for my eyes and neck!

 

Carpet%20Mandala_zpssqfqjbh2.jpg

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Serenity23

That one is lovely, too, JanCarol! I might be underestimating the hour. But I do tend to do easy ones. Other than your eyes and neck needing a break, are you finding it relaxing? I love how it gives me something engaging and relaxing to focus on. The only downside is sometimes my OCD and perfectionism gets in the way, but I'm trying to focus more on enjoying it and having fun, and less on that.

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JanCarol

Re:  OCD and perfectionism.

 

The Navajo weavers used to deliberately put a flaw into their weavings, lest they invoke the wrath of the gods.  Only the gods could be perfect, so the weavings had to be less than perfect.  This was done to protect their family and tribes from the wrath of jealous gods.

 

When I make a mistake (and yes, it can be cringing when I do so - not relaxing at all!) I "offer it up as a sacrifice" to "the gods of perfection" so they won't be mad at me!   ;)

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starburst

I am so inspired! JanCarol your artwork is beautiful. It is so funny but in the early days of medication I started painting (watercolours) and it was so therapeutic. For some reason I stopped. I am going to go out and get a book today. I need some water colours too! This is just what I need in my life right now. I can't sit still for five minutes and my evenings are spent just waiting for an appropriate time to go to bed and end the day. Thank You for all the encouragement here. 

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JanCarol

Bump with some morning glories:

Morning%20Glory%20Final%20Apr%202016_zps

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Junglechicken

I received 2 coloring books for Christmas this year. Looking forward to having my mind taken off symptoms etc.,

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flatrock

Hello friends!  I'm an art therapist, actually. I don't work any more - retired a long time ago - but I love this topic!

 

I'm attaching some artwork I've done recently. These paintings seem very lonely to me -- lonely single birds in a bare tree. They were based on walks where I took photos of birds in trees at the end of winter. I have indeed felt very lonely during this time in my life. There aren't many friends at all I can talk to about my med withdrawals (it seems like it is hard for people to hear), and about a year ago I had two girlfriend breakups that have made me very sad. They were both initiated by me so don't feel too sorry for me... except that I do miss them both. And I'm 63 yrs old, you'd think girlfriend breakups would be a thing of the past, right?

 

post-8605-0-41163800-1495415712_thumb.jpgpost-8605-0-38204000-1495417198_thumb.jpegpost-8605-0-00869400-1495417218_thumb.jpeg 

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Shep

Great article from The Guardian:

 

It's time to recognise the contribution arts can make to health and wellbeing

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

An evaluation revealed a 71% decrease in feelings of anxiety and a 73% fall in depression; 76% of participants said their wellbeing increased and 69% felt more socially included. As one participant says: “I feel so much better having had the time and space to do some art. It makes such a difference.”

 

. . . . 

 

Each week, an artist visits the project to teach participants a new skill, such as sculpture, ceramics or painting. “What’s lovely about it, is that if you’re feeling depressed, the simple act of being in a room with other people – where you’ve got the space and time to just be yourself – really helps to improve your mood,” Allen says. “There’s such a feeling of camaraderie and friendship.

 

“The art is almost a happy bonus to that connection. While you’re mindfully doing the art, it frees up your personality that had maybe been buried. It takes you away from whatever is bothering you, just for a couple of hours.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

So it sounds like it's the combination of social connection, along with art, that's so powerful in healing. 

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