“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”– Pablo Picasso
What is This Lesson ABout?
As we continue on our practice of mindfulness, students will be introduced to mindful coloring as another option. Research continues to explore the components of activities that are proven restful, relaxing and offer an alternative tool for coping. Coloring meets many of the markers of a successful coping skill including familiarity, accessibility, structured, low-risk, and offers a clear progression and immediate feedback. Participants in controlled trials who colored complex patterns similar to those in adult coloring books experienced significantly greater anxiety reduction than those who simply colored a blank page.
Mindful Coloring can be considered a "hack" for present moment awareness. While mindfulness lessons can often be abstract, this lesson appeals to tactile and visual learners alike. It can be a tangible coping strategy that students can use in many settings when wanting to calm themselves and their thoughts.
What will students do during this lesson?
Students will be guided to start this lesson with a body scan utilizing the script below. We will engage in this scan both before and after the coloring activity to help them identify any changes in emotions. Today we are going to color! Believe it or not, coloring is a useful way to practice mindfulness and has been shown to help kids calm down. This type of activity helps us to focus all of our attention on one thing and can help clear our mind of difficult thoughts and emotions. So I am going to challenge you today. We are going to color but we are going to do this silently. We're all going to focus just on our coloring and not on talking. It's going to be hard but I think you all are ready for it. First we are going to do a quick body scan to identify any emotions we are currently feeling. After coloring we will do the same body scan to decide if mindful coloring changed our emotions in any way.
Body scan script
Cue students to find their mindful bodies and take several deep breaths.
"Close your eyes and take some deep, belly breaths."
"Keep your eyes closed and put your hands on your head. Think about how your head is feeling. Do you feel any emotions? One deep, belly breath. Keep your eyes closed."
"Now put your hands on your heart. Think about how your heart is feeling. Do you feel any emotions? One deep, belly breath. Keep your eyes closed."
"Now put your hands on your legs. Think about how your legs are feeling. Do you feel any emotions? One deep, belly breath."
"Okay, you can open your eyes. Hopefully you were able to connect to how you are feeling right now in this moment. Let's take one last breath before moving on to your activity."
Students will then be guided back to their work spaces to engage in some coloring. They will be reminded that our focus will be on simply the coloring and we are attempting to ignore all other distracting thoughts. Soft music will play during our coloring session (approximately 10 minutes).
Last students will return to repeat the Body Scan and determine any changes.