colouring as a mindful activity

Colouring away your worries – a mindfully nourishing activity


mindful colouring is a nourishing activity

Why Mindful Colouring is Beneficial

I recently posted about nourishing and depleting activities. Making the time for activities that nourish you is vital if you want to prevent exhaustion. Carving out even a few minutes a day is beneficial.

One of my favourite nourishing activities is colouring in. Books such as Johanna Basford’s “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt & Colouring Book” are phenomenally successful. Basford’s book has consistently been in Amazon’s top ten for several years with over 1.4 million copies sold.

I’m always telling others about how great this activity is. My mummy friends however often say they don’t have time to indulge in such things. They don’t see the point. Not everyone enjoys colouring or drawing, but it has been shown to promote well-being.


Why colouring in is mindfully relaxing

According to Psychologies, colouring helps calm and soothe us by engaging both sides of our brain.

Using an activity that has no deadline or goals helps us to unwind. The gentle, repetitive motion of colouring focuses your brain on the present moment and reduces any unwanted thoughts, making it the perfect mindful activity.


With colouring in, you’re not plugged in. You can turn off. Johanna Basford


Mandalas and zentangles

It’s not just mindful colouring in that has a calming effect, doodling or sketching can too. Eminent psychologist, Carl Jung, used colouring as a meditation. He created mandalas – circular designs featuring concentric shapes. Want to draw a mandala but don’t know where to start? Boho Berry has some truly beautiful mandalas on her site and a lovely helpful video too!

Zentangles are another relaxing way to create images using structured patterns and can give you a sense of well-being. Check out how to draw zentangles.

Despite my love of drawing – as a child I’d often draw overlapping geometric patterns using my school geometry set, I still think colouring books are brilliant. I don’t know about you, but I find a blank page a bit daunting. Thanks to Kara at Boho Berry I have actually dug out my compass and protractor and am going to give mandala drawing a go.  See the results in my post How Going Around in Circles Reduces Your Stress.

Why adult colouring books rock!

Why not just use one of the kids’ colouring books? Well, you could do I guess. If they’ll let you that is. Personally I think kids’ books are too simplistic. Plus, I already get enough Octonauts or Fireman Sam when the kids watch it on TV, I don’t want to spend my own downtime with them too! Adult colouring books fill this gap by providing an intricate illustration that appeals to grown-ups.


The mindful colouring book for busy people

With colouring being such a relaxing and soothing activity, it was only a matter of time before mindfulness and colouring books got together.  ‘Art therapy’  or mindful colouring books can be found in every book shop or branch of The Works. There’s no escaping them.

You won’t be surprised to hear then that I have several art therapy books in my own collection. So I was really pleased when the lovely people at Stabilo sent me their mini-mindfulness colouring book and set of fibre-tipped pens to feed my colouring addiction.

stabilo pens and colour book5_opt


Like The Secret Garden, Emma Farrarons’ The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress Art Therapy for Busy People has been a regular resident in Amazon’s top ten.

The first thing I noted about the version Stabilo sent me was the size. It’s an extract from the original edition making it perfect for my handbag. The pens didn’t take up much room either and were a refreshing change from my large tin of colouring pencils. Though the book is small, it contains a variety of illustrations, from abstract geometric shapes (love them!), to intricate nature pictures of birds, foxes, flowers and toadstools.



Mindful colouring while out and about

I’d not attempted any mindful colouring while I was out and about. I thought it might be a bit weird to sit there shading away like some crazy-Picasso. But why not? I tried it while waiting for Boo to get his hair cut but was continually interrupted by the hairdresser trying to make small talk. I had more success at soft play. When I’d exhausted magazine reading and tea drinking, out came the mini book and pens. I’m pleased to report it helped soothe me from the kids’ constant shrieking, though I might take ear-plugs with me next time.

Stabilo pens and colour book3_opt


I never thought I’d enjoy colouring in teacups quite so much as I did, but this really was my favourite illustration. Maybe it reminded me of tea, which I drink gallons of a day!

Having only used pencils previously I was worried about the heavy colours of the felt-pens bleeding through the pages. I needn’t have worried though; the pages are sufficiently weighty to handle the ink. The tips were fine enough to colour in detailed areas while remaining big enough to colour larger spaces and I loved the colours – they’re so bright!

Have a go yourself

Want to have a go yourself? Though the version Stabilo sent isn’t on sale, the larger edition is, and there’s a fantastic range of pocket-sized colouring books available.

If a blank page is more appealing and you find colouring books too restrictive, Stabilo’s fibre tipped pens would be perfect for creating those lovely mandalas and zentangles.

Spending just a few minutes doing something relaxing while your little one has a nap, is occupied with lunch or even potty-time, will do you the world of good. Remember, tiny actions build up and make a difference. With so many colouring books and pens available, there’s no excuse for not finding a few minutes to chill out and colour away your worries.

Happy mindful colouring!


This post contained a product review, courtesy of Stabilo.


Author: Mindfully Mummy

Sarah is a writer and mum to two energetic boys. She practises mindfulness daily and loves sharing practical mindful tips with fellow parents. Sarah has a degree in psychology, writes at Blue Fox Copywriting and blogs for various sites about lifestyle, careers, parenting and well-being.

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