Setting aside time to do mindful colouring can unveil a whole new way for adults to relax and focus while boosting wellbeing and reducing stress and anxiety. Experts, like psychologist Mike Hines from Smiling Mind, say this practice can be beneficial for us all, particularly when we’re feeling overwhelmed. 

“Mindfulness helps us connect with what’s happening right now, which enables us to more fully engage and connect with the people, places and events of our daily lives,” Mike says. “By being more present, we get to enjoy the richness of our experiences.” Read on to discover how mindful colouring could positively impact you.  

What Is Mindful Colouring?

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and engaged in the current moment. “It’s about being tuned in to what is going on around us as well as what’s happening in our inner world. It is the opposite of being on autopilot,” Mike explains. 

When you’re practising mindfulness, you’re paying attention and using your senses to experience that moment. What you’re trying not to do in that moment is rush, overanalyse, worry, think ahead, or dwell on the past – but most importantly you’re trying not to judge yourself if you happen to experience any of the above feelings or ways of thinking. Even the most practised mindfulness meditators think these kinds of thoughts while meditating from time to time! If you do, you can simply notice the feeling, acknowledge it without judgement, and try to bring your mind back to the present moment. For this reason, mindfulness meditation is linked to feelings of calm and relaxation. When you’re engaged in an activity like colouring in, and directing your full attention to your tools and techniques, you’re actually practicing mindfulness.

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The Mental Health Benefits of Mindful Colouring

In recent years, mindful colouring has emerged as a popular pastime for adults and kids because it’s a simple and affordable activity that can satisfy us creatively while rewarding us with many physical and mental health benefits. A study conducted by the University of the West of England found that just 20 minutes of colouring can reduce anxiety. And a US cancer centre has found that encouraging patients and their supporters to colour in reduces physical and emotional distress during treatment. 

Because of the nature of mindful colouring, you can’t really make mistakes or do it incorrectly. Also, it’s enjoyable and harkens back to carefree childhood days when you would colour for fun. “Colouring can help cultivate mindfulness,” Mike says. “By fully engaging our senses as we colour, our mind is naturally brought into the present moment. Mindfulness also encourages us to be more open, curious and a little less judgmental,” he says.

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Getting Started with Mindful Colouring

Ready to dive into mindful colouring? First up, you’ll need some quality tools like BIC Intensity Fineliners – these vibrant pens are perfect for creative projects because their ink is incredibly smooth and consistent, and won’t bleed through most paper stocks. Their precise tips are also ideal for working on intricate or detailed colouring pages. As for what is most beneficial to colour in, Mike says the choice is entirely up to you.

“A regular old colouring book would be fine,” Mike says. “The type of book or designs we colour are only relevant so far as they interest and engage us. What really matters is the quality of attention that we bring to the act of colouring,” he reveals. Officeworks offers a range of adult mindful colouring books with themes like Australian animals, mythical creatures and street art, so find one that appeals to you and your interests. The aim is to capture your curiosity so your mind is anchored and fully engaged. Or keep scrolling for free colouring-in printable templates that you can download and try mindful colouring for yourself.

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Colouring Techniques & Tips

It may surprise you to learn that there are many different ways to do mindful colouring. Some colourists use directional lines, drawing even strokes in one direction over and over again until a solid block of colour is created. Others prefer a scumbling technique where the pen moves in repeated circular motions creating a textured end result. Crosshatching is another interesting technique you may wish to try, it involves drawing a series of lines all in one direction, and then adding another layer of parallel lines crossing over them in a different direction. When putting pen to paper, try colouring from the outside in. You’re less likely to colour over the lines if you start at the edge and carefully colour towards the centre. Another point to consider – don’t press too hard on the page. Instead, carefully build up layers of colour for a more even result.

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Mindful Colouring: Flowers

 Embrace the beauty and intricacy of flowers of all kinds with mindful colouring.

Flowers, with their elaborate and detailed collections of petals, stems and leaves, make for excellent colouring subject matter. They can be a little bit challenging, requiring your full focus and a great attention to detail. Images of flowers connect us to nature, gardening and the great outdoors – all things that are soothing and beautiful. Floral designs also lend themselves to a wide range of colours which can open up your imagination to a variety of colour choices.

Mindful Colouring: Mandalas

Beautiful and intricate mandalas are the perfect way to express yourself through mindful colouring.

Mandalas are sacred circles in Tibetan and other Asian cultures and they’re often used to facilitate meditation. With their emphasis on symmetry and geometric patterns, colouring mandalas can help to encourage feelings of calm and quiet focus. You can also use a range of colours within a mandala to express your thoughts and feelings.

Mindful Colouring: Owls

Try mindful colouring of owls. You can use a variety of neutral tonal colours to express your creativity.

Regarded as symbols of wisdom and intelligence, owls are beautiful, delicate and elegant creatures, and they inspire us with their grace and power. The fine features of owls, including the complex composition of their feathers, as well as their wings, eyes, and tails, will keep you busy colouring for hours on end. 

Mindful Colouring: Butterflies

Have fun with bright and pastel colours while practising mindful colouring of butterflies.

The intricate details of a butterfly’s beautiful wings, as well as its symmetry, make butterflies the perfect subject for mindful colouring. Experiment with a selection of bright and bold colours or keep it muted with pastels while practising precision, focus and attention to detail with your pens.

Mindful Colouring: Abstract Shapes

Try mindful colouring of abstract shapes to challenge and focus your mind.

If you’re up for a mindful challenge, try your hand at mindful colouring of abstract shapes. Try working with blocks of primary colours or mix it up with several shades of the same hue to immerse yourself in a world that requires your full attention and focus.

What To Try 

Download a PDF of Colouring-in Templates

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