Monday, November 7, 2016

Mandala Magic

A student’s family bought this book for me at our school’s book fair. The child has been in a stress busters group with me and we colored mandalas during one session. When people create or color mandalas, minds become absorbed in the current moment. According to Nancy Curry and Tim Kasser, “When individuals color complex geometric forms, they are provided an opportunity to suspend their ‘inner dialogue’ and to deeply engage in an activity that removes them from the flow of negative thoughts and emotions that can sometimes dominate their lives.”
In both eastern and western cultures, the mandala has come to symbolize harmony, unity, wholeness, and healing. Providing students an opportunity to infuse mandalas with color reduces stress and research shows it lowers expressed level of anxiety. Coloring mandalas (possibly with calm music in the background) can produce a state similar to meditation. Coloring can calm the brain and allows creativity and self-expression. Offering students a choice of mandalas seems to increase the perceived “fun” factor.

I introduce mandalas as a choice students can do when they are in individual counseling.  For some students the structure of the circular mandala is less intimidating than a blank sheet of paper to color. Older students might choose to create their own deigns when provided an empty circle outline.  For some students coloring seems to promote a deeper level of discussion. I have also sent home blank mandala coloring pages for students to do as “homework” to further reduce stress and anxiety. I have suggested classroom teacher have a selection of mandalas available for “Quiet Time” for all students, but especially during periods of high stress like the beginning of the school year or testing season.

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