Coloring books are no longer just for kids. It’s becoming easier to find adult coloring books around – you can see them in bookstores and even at the supermarket checkout magazine rack in Bangkok shopping malls.
What’s with this return to childhood pastimes? Coloring is good for you, as well as being enjoyable. Coloring takes a certain amount of mental focus. Like knitting, which is said to be relaxing and meditative, coloring is very calming and brings a sense of accomplishment when you can see visible results with the finished product.
Coloring has some other mental benefits. It improves your concentration. When you sit down and focus on one activity, your mind stops jumping all over the place, which helps you concentrate better. It can also help release negative thoughts. Coloring requires focus and when you shift your thoughts, it releases mental tension and therefore releases negative thinking as well.
You can find various types of adult coloring books in shops, with different themes, from maps to intricate geometric or floral patterns. One type of book that’s very popular is Mandala coloring books. A mandala is a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism. It represents the universe and is usually a square with four gates, containing a circle with a center point.
Tania Ho, founder and owner of Museflower Retreat & Spa Chiang Rai, explains the benefits of Mandala coloring. .
How did you discover Mandala coloring activities and what did you discover about them?
I first came across coloring mandalas in a retreat I attended a few years back.
I found it amazing when the retreat teacher could tell so much about each person from the mandala that we colored. We colored one mandala a day during the one-week retreat, and at the end of the retreat when we compared all the mandalas we had colored, it was amazing to see the transformation in the mandalas -which reflected the same transformation the retreat participant went through. That’s when I realized, mandalas are powerful tools for people to express their emotions.
What wellness benefit do people get from doing these coloring books?
I believe that by drawing and coloring, we tap into our right brain and unlock our creativity. Coloring allows the left brain (the analytic side) to take a rest.
I also recommend people to look and meditate with their mandala after they finish. Some insights or reflections may come through.
Have any Museflower Retreat guests gained interesting insights from Mandala coloring?
In my Hado counseling sessions, depending on the client’s need, sometimes I also use mandala coloring exercise for the client to reflect on their conscious and subconscious emotions.
One of these guests told me she wasn’t a good artist and that she didn’t color and hadn’t done any artistic activities since her childhood. In the session, I asked her to draw symbols of what she feared and what she loved, and at the end to draw all these elements in one mandala. Actually she was a pretty good artist, even though you don’t need to be a good artist in order to draw or color.
She really enjoyed this exercise, and it gave her an opportunity to reflect on her personal healing journey. Two days later, we met again and she thanked me for inspiring her to draw again. It was something she felt she shut down from for years, and now by drawing again, it inspired her to be creative and to have fun. And she’ll be returning to Museflower for a second time soon. – By Minty Green
What Mandala coloring activities do you offer at Museflower?
In our creative studio, guests can enjoy coloring blank mandalas for free anytime they want during their stay.
For more information on wellness activities in Chiang Rai, contact:
Museflower Retreat & Spa Chiang Rai, 159/1 Moo 1 Ban Samanmit, Donsila Sub-District, Wiang Chai District, Chiang Rai 57210
Office: +66-(0)52-029-823, +66(0)-93-137-0414