Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Have you ever wondered how or why mandalas actually work?
Today, I thought I’d answer this question by exploring and explaining the benefits.
Mandala and Expressive Art Benefits:
-Mandalas have been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and even chronic pain.
-Coloring Mandalas encourages mindfulness, increasing focus and inner peace.
-Naturally helps to combat depression and pain.
-Mandalas combine meditation and art, which allows us to fully express ourselves
How do Mandalas reduce anxiety, depression, or even pain?
The answer to this question is simple- mandalas are the perfect focal point, when you focus on coloring or drawing, you aren’t focusing on the pain, the stress, or other things that cause anxiety, depression or pain. Mandalas are simple to make, after all, then basic mandala is simply a design within a circle, so it is something that anyone can do. You don’t feel the great pressure to make it perfect, as you might with sitting down to paint. This allows you to be freer in expression. As you express your emotions, you reduce anxiety because you no longer have the internal stress of bottled up feelings.
The act of coloring or painting is simple, which is true of many forms of meditation. In fact, the simple motion of coloring and focusing puts the brain into a “flow state,” which increases the release of serotonin and norepinephrine, which both reduce pain and depression. This state is also seen during most types of meditation or when you are completely absorbed in an activity. The increase of these chemicals reduces pain, depression, and anxiety naturally.
Mandalas are Tangible
I’m not sure if there is a specific word for this, but Mandalas are tangible, so when you finish making one, you can see it, touch it, and even say “I did it.” I remember when I was little and learning to swim. My mom or swim teacher would say “Swim to me”. I remember swimming to them and then they would slowly back up. i'd keep swimming. When I finally got there, she would say, "Look behind you. You just swam the length of the pool!" Mandalas can also provide tangible achievement. After you finish, you have a unique piece of art.
Mandalas can work in a similar way. You may not be an art person. You might not think that Mandalas are for you, but they are. Frankly, sometimes if you accomplish something, however small, you feel like you have done something. The feeling of accomplishment just gives you that extra push. The tangible effect of Mandalas is probably one of my favorite things about making them. Who knows, you might just find out that you really enjoy them, or discover a talent you didn't know you had!
Now that you know how mandalas can help, take a piece of paper, get some pencils and see what you can create. Please post responses. I’d love to know what you are working on!