Updated: Sep 30, 2022
One of my favorite activities that is fun, calming, reduces stress, boosts creativity, focus and is beautiful, is making mandalas. This activity is also addictive.
Mandala is Sanskrit, an ancient language, for “circle.” Traditionally in eastern religions, mainly Hinduism and Buddhism, they aided in meditation and were an important spiritual symbol. Mandalas have also become a part of western culture. In eastern spiritual traditions, mandalas represent the universe as a container for wholeness, health, connection, unity, and the circle of life. In western tradition, mandalas are a therapeutic tool to relieve stress and anxiety. They are also a meditative tool and used in art therapy.
When I create mandalas, I’m able to relax and destress. Creating a mandala engages both sides of my brain. When both sides of my brain are engaged, this creates a calming and balanced effect.
As I create the foundation of the mandala, I’m measuring and drawing straight, balanced lines. Then I add the decorative, creative elements. Then comes the real fun - adding the color. The coloring is very rhythmic, calming, and soothing. The last step is the most satisfying - the details. Adding the last details makes the mandala come to life. This step is very gratifying and joyful. When I look at the finished mandala I’ve created, I feel proud of myself for creating something so beautiful. Looking at the finished mandala gives me a sense of peace and contentment. Just as the circle is a never-ending, balanced shape, the mandala makes me feel whole and balanced in my life.
Here are some of the many ways making mandalas benefits our wellbeing:
Relieves stress: Sitting and focusing on one thing is a way to manage stress in our lives. The rhythmic and meditative process is also calming and therefore helps to relieve stress and anxiety. This process helps us gain self-regulation so our emotions don’t get too out of control.
Stimulates our brain: Creating and coloring the mandala uses both sides of our brain. This helps the areas of our brain work together better and that strengthens the brain.
Encourages our creativity: When our anxiety is reduced, our creativity can come out and play. Engaging our creative energy helps us not only in making mandalas, but it also carries over into other areas of our life.
Boost immunity: The Mayo Clinic article Stress Symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987) states: “Stress that's left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” Because mandalas are a way to relieve stress in our life, this process becomes a natural boost to our immunity.
The mandala is becoming more and more a part of my health and wellness toolkit. When my day is stressful, I know I can relax and create a mandala. This process is a coping technique for me and many others. I hope you will try creating a mandala and see the therapeutic effects for yourself.
Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of
our own circle, and everything we see, hear, and think forms the mandala of our life.”