You may be thinking that some extra serotonin could be useful right about now but have no clue what a mandala is, much less how to make one.
“Mandala” is the Sanskrit word for “Sacred Circle.” Circles exist all around us, from the moon, the sun, the orbit of the planets, flowers, seashells, down to the shape of cells that define our very existence. Mandalas and circular forms have been used around the world in healing practices for centuries, and are symbols of wholeness and unity. When mandalas or circular shapes show up spontaneously in art therapy, they usually signify transformation, feelings of growth or wholeness and a better understanding of the self. Making them is as simple as drawing or doodling or any image within a circle. Let’s start boosting!
You will need: a post-it note or any blank piece of paper, something to draw a circle with, and anything else you feel like using to draw or color.*
“Mandalas signify the wholeness of the self and the divinity incarnate in man”
– Carl Jung
- Draw a circle freehand, or trace one from any circular shape you can find
- Fill in the circle any way you want with lines, scribbles, colors or shapes. If you want to go outside the circle, that’s fine too – there is no right or wrong way to make a mandala
- When you feel like your mandala is done, notate what is top or bottom
- Notice the feelings of relaxation that arise from drawing mandalas
- Look at your finished mandala and jot down any notes, words, thoughts that come to mind
Experiment making mandalas on colored or black paper, using metallic markers, colored pencils or anything that strikes your fancy. Purchase a mandala coloring book or watch a tutorial on YouTube and be inspired that way. Draw them daily on post-its or make a mandala journal, noticing any patterns or colors that repeat or call for deeper reflection. Be sure to look for the infinite mandalas in your outer world and reflect on what they might mean. Embarking on this creative journey may not only help boost serotonin, it also may bring your life “full circle.”
Always remember: Gifting yourself with creative time is an act of self-love.
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*adapted from The Art Therapy Sourcebook by Cathy A. Malchiodi, ATR, LPCC