Monday, 7 March 2011

Colouring mandalas - a tool for coping with PMDD

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for 'circle or wheel'. Circular designs have been used throughout the ages in religious ceremonies, to decorate spiritual buildings, protect homes and for meditation.

The circle represents so many things that are familiar to us. The Earth we live on, the eyes we look into, the Moon, Sun... Circles and cycles, a forward movement that takes us round and round. The seasons, our days and nights, our menstrual cycles, life and death.

If you drop a pebble into a lake, the rings, ever increasing ripple out wards. The orbits of our planets, flowers, tree rings, crop circles, wheels... you can see mandalas everywhere.

The practice of colouring a mandala, or doing a mandala meditation, is a way to promote good health, and aid relaxation. By focusing on a mandala, and colouring, you allow your brain to calm. The swirling thoughts and stress, is quietened with a need to do no more than fill a space with colour. During the ups and downs of PMDD, there are times when you just don't know what to do with yourself. Making decisions becomes impossible along with taking in information. Loud noises, repetitive noises, arguments, all add to fuel, an already stoked fire of hormones and feelings.

By taking an hour or so, maybe in the evening before bed, while watching rubbish on telly, or in the afternoon when the kids are at school, you can help to give your tired and overworked brain a rest.
The only thing there is to worry about, is what colour you will use.
If you want to make the experience even more centering and calming, turn off the TV, and work to some of your favourite music, or silence, listening to the sounds outside. Light a candle, place a crystal on the table, or light some incense.

Sit with your chosen mandala. You will find free downloads on my art website or plenty in a google search, ready to print off and colour. Look at your colours. Whether they are pencils, oil pastels, paint (remember that paint on printer paper isn't always the best combo), just choose a colour. Whatever you are most drawn to. Pick a part of the design to start with and colour!

The next colour will come, and the next and before you know it, you're on your way to finishing your mandala. No need to think, no need to make big decisions.

The benefits in colouring mandalas are quite amazing. Finding the centre, journeying within, allowing yourself to be calm, are all ways to aid relaxation and de-stress.

The benefits of meditation have been documented and include:

  • slower breathing and heart rate
  • increase in blood flow
  • brings blood pressure back to normal
  • reduces anxiety levels
  • decreases tension in the muscles
  • increases serotonin production
  • helps in dealing with chronic illness
  • builds self-confidence
  • reduces PMS
  • enhances immune system
  • reduces emotional distress

It is especially important for women to meditate regularly. The benefits for women include a deeper understanding of who 'they' are. It is easy to become lost in life. Being a mum, wife, lover, sister, daughter.. the emotional pressures are endless. Meditating on a mandala, giving yourself time to contemplate, who you are, what your feelings are, what you want from life, can help you find your path, your direction. The calm can leave space for intuition. For instinct. It can help you make those big decisions, to find the confidence to start something and see it through to the end. By starting small, you can build up.

Colouring a mandala is one of the easiest ways to meditate. It is hard to train yourself to just sit, do nothing, think about nothing... but it is easy enough to move your thoughts to something simpler.
Colouring takes us back to our childhood, to good times, of just laying on the floor, tongue out, scribbling away at a picture of a butterfly. PMDD is so stressful, so tiring, it screws everything up in your head till you snap. Sit down, and do something simple. Colour a mandala.

You can find plenty of mandalas to download for free online... just have a search.

It's simple, cheap and no drawing talent or ability is required!  Have a go!

1 comment:

Jane said...

What a great idea! This reminds me of the pattern books you can get - I used to love colouring them in my teens. I might just invest in one and some nice pencils. Thanks. :)

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