The Power of Small

Finding the Right Colouring for Healing

A few years ago when I visited a friend undergoing cancer treatment, she told me about one of her most important stress-relievers: "I learned about the benefits of colouring mandalas from an art therapist and was immediately hooked," she said. "Colouring is the one thing keeping me sane. I can retreat into that world for a time and get a real break from the stress of it all."

I had first enjoyed adult colouring myself years ago before it became popular, although I hadn't done it for a long time. I was keen to try it again, so we decided to start colouring together on our visits. I went home to dig up my old colouring pages, but when I found them, there were fewer than I remembered, and some of the designs were quite intricate, requiring very fine-tipped markers. That didn't seem so stress-relieving!

Creating Simple, Manageable Designs

A quick search of the internet also did not turn up very many designs I wanted to colour ... so I started creating my own. Simpler designs, smaller designs–more manageable designs, yet still attractive and engaging.

Being a lover of small things, I started printing out my mandalas on four by six inch index cards. No fancy layouts with multiple mandalas on a big page, no intricate designs, just one mandala per card, easy enough to complete in one visit and simple enough to colour while carrying on a conversation at the same time. I realized this simple format would also be helpful for anyone with limited energy and concentration. And physically small enough to tuck a few cards into a purse, available anytime while out and about: in a waiting room, coffee shop, hospital cafeteria, visiting a friend, etc. As well, they are so small and portable it is easy to give a card to someone else in the moment to create a shared activity–no need to carry two colouring books with you!  

Practical Cards: for Giving, Sharing ... 

Also being a lover of practical things, I wanted to find a way to use my designs. Of course a postcard was a natural idea and I integrated my cards with the idea of an "active gratitude practice." Eventually I had so many mandala designs, I came up with 3 different practical ways to use them on cards: 

  • Gratitude Postcards - gratitude in action! A colouring "gratitude meditation" which can then be used as a simple gift, all in one card. I've been very surprised and touched by the power of sending and receiving these in the mail.
  • Guided One-line Journal Cards - a simple way to journal, focused on just one idea on each card. A way to reflect deeply on a single thing, yet in a relaxed way.
  • Encouragement Cards, or what I sometimes call "Cheer-up-a-Friend" Cards - a colouring card you can give to a friend having a hard time–a way to let them know you're thinking of them, even when you're not there. This gives them a simple design they can colour in, providing a way to focus on something colourful outside of themselves, and a way for them to experience a small sense of satisfaction when they're done, through a low-demand activity. A great physical reminder of your support, and a conversation piece, too.
Try a Sampler Pack - A sample of 1 card from each of my 3 sets. 

Try a Sampler Pack - A sample of 1 card from each of my 3 sets. 

Try a Small Sampler Pack

So designing simple mandalas and creating useful gifts out of them were my first steps. It's been a long journey from printing out dollar-store index cards on my home printer and sharing them with friends, to nicely-packaged professionally printed cards on thick card stock. But that was the beginning of the "Sampler Packs" now in my on-line store. Over the next few weeks I'll tell you more of the story as I add more products to my store.

Enjoy a Stress Break

In the meantime, here's a mandala you can look at for a few minutes for a little stress break. Notice what you notice about the colours, shapes and patterns or just enjoy a wordless visual experience. 

Have a colourful day!

Wouldn't you like to colour in this design yourself? It's used in my Journal Cards set.

Wouldn't you like to colour in this design yourself? It's used in my Journal Cards set.

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