On this page there are a range of activities for you to explore. These activities draw upon all of the therapeutic support information contained in this site. They are designed to be experiential, so working step-by-step to build your practise knowledge, and strengthen your skills 🙂
In the Mandala Artwork section below there are also two mandala art resource packs for you to download.
Below the image are the well-being activities for you to explore.
Activities to Explore
These activities will be updated regularly.
1. Sign your signature on a piece of A4 paper, using different coloured pens. As you are doing this, think about the “feel” of your signature, and experiment with making it bigger and bigger. Concentrate on the sensation of writing your signature, and feel the “flow” of it. If your mind wanders whilst completing this activity, gently bring your attention back to what you are doing and the sensation of writing.
2. Look at a piece of blank A4 paper and count slowly to 10. Then begin to also focus on your breath whilst you keep looking at the page for another 10 counts. Keeping your breath slow and gentle, trace a smooth long line with a pen (or whatever mark making equipment you want to use) on the page each time you breathe in, and each time you breathe out. Continue making any smooth shapes or patterns on the paper whilst you breathe in and out, following your breath. Let the shapes and patterns be directed as a response to your breathing patterns. Your mark making should mirror your breath. If your mind wanders whilst completing this activity, gently bring your attention back to what you are doing.
3. Develop the activity above by using relaxation breathing. This is where the breath is taken in (through the nose) to the stomach, and slowly released through the mouth. If any thoughts or feelings come into the mind, refocus your mind on the activity of the pen, and your breath. Find your own rhythm.
4. Visualise drawing one of the lines or marks you have made in the A4 activities (in points 2 and 3) in your mind. Do this a couple of times. Now bring your attention to your signature, and visualise this in your mind. Focus on the feel of writing your signature in your mind. See the flow of each letter. Keep your breathing slow and gentle whilst you are doing this to start with. After you have visualised the “flow” of your signature, begin to deepen your breathing using relaxation breathing (as in point 3). If your mind wanders whilst completing this activity, gently bring your attention back to what you are doing.
Mindfulness techniques like in the practise activities 1 to 4 help us begin to build our strength in focusing upon the present moment. They enable us to gently refocus our mind if it starts to wander (in regards to our thoughts and feelings). These techniques can help promote a calm inner space. They enable us to be in control of our mind, which is sometimes called ” a monkey mind” in that it darts around (which in stressful times is likely to be accentuated). Being in control of our mind is actually learning to be in control of our attention processes, that is, what we pay attention to and how long we do this.
5. After completing the activities in 1 to 4, create a signature mandala or a piece of artwork, using the theme of “flow”. Reflect on what you have experienced in the activities, and represent this in your artwork or mandala. Use a range of different mark making and colours in your artwork. Use the mandala artwork section on this page (see the next section below) to support your creativity in this activity.
After you have completed the activities (1 to 4), you can choose to practice any of them regularly. The visualisation in point 4 can also be used as a coping strategy to refocus your mind when you need it, for example, in stressful times.
In therapeutic support, mandala artwork is used to promote recovery and well-being. Here is a mandala art activity resource pack, for you to explore. There is another pack half way down this page.
Use the breathing and concentration principles you have been taught (see points 1 to 4 in the section above) whilst you complete your chosen mandala art activities. Remember, if your mind wanders whilst completing your mandala art activity, gently bring your attention back to what you are doing.
Mandalas are cosmograms for personal growth, mental health and well-being. Cosmograms are representations of world views, and can be used to both explore and represent our own world view.
When we look at a mandala, we interact with the visual nature of the artwork, deciphering the image, doing a whole load of work to make meaning, according to our understanding of what it is representing. We create our own stories.
So in the gold mandala here, I see a flow and a movement between two states, between a flower, and a circle. Then I can also invert the image, and I see the triangle shaped petals instead of flower shaped petals. If I reflect on this, I feel the mandala is giving me the experience of holding one viewpoint, and then dropping it for another, but there is a tension in doing this, it takes effort. It reminds me that my perceptions are limited, and that I can’t see the whole using my mind. Only by my full non-verbal immersion in the mandala, I can let go of the tension. Suddenly I find it easy to see the whole. My brain is interpreting a static image as representing movement. Someone else may see something totally different, due to their interpretation.
This interpretation is subjective, reflecting each person’s experience, knowledge, preference, and emotions.
Mandalas cause changes in the brain due to some of their specific visual-based design characteristics. So we can look at the structural design elements of a mandala, as they take us on a journey. These are active, they have a function. And they deliver meaning for us through their interactive design. They have key design features. Like in their use of the circle. The mandala is a circle, and the word mandala means a circle.
We can enter into the structure of a mandala, to explore and understand what it means for us. We can spend time focusing on the design elements of the mandala we choose to engage with, and let it take us on a reflective journey. When we have finished, we can write up what we have experienced, and any thoughts we have on this inner journey.
Here is another mandala art resource activity pack for you to explore.
We can also create our own mandala artwork. We can use our playfulness and creativity to generate mandala art. We can focus ourselves fully in making these pieces of work, and then reflect on what we have created, and their meaning for us.
We can look for mandalas in the world around us, for example, in nature. When we find them, we can look at each detail of them closely. We can then draw them, or use whatever mark making we want, to represent them.
Use some of the ideas in this section to create your own mandala artwork, to explore where it takes you, to journey and discover your inner world.
Mandala artwork can come in all shapes and sizes. Use your creativity and playfulness. 🙂
You can use paper rolls to create your mandala art. You can wrap coloured paper tightly around a pencil to bend it into tight coils.
Use marbles or beads to fill a round bowl to create your own mandala art. You can also fill a tray with sand and draw a big circle in the sand. Place your beads or marbles in patterns or segments inside the circle, to create your mandala art.
Choose any tactile material to explore to construct your mandala art. For example, crystals, stones, feathers, sequins, buttons, glitter, shells, wood, bark, twigs, leaves, flowers, dried pasta, petals, strips of silk, string, ribbon, rice, dried flower heads, ferns, torn strips of wrapping paper or cut outs of colours or shapes from magazines, tissue pieces ….whatever you can think of to use. You can use pieces of jewellery in your jewellery box, whatever decorative artefacts you have around you, even small toys, cogs and lego. Whatever you can find in your home. Even colourful sweets, or sweet papers.
Explore the feel of your sensory art objects that you have chosen to use to construct your mandala art. Allow yourself to immerse yourself fully in your art activity, not thinking too deeply, but just creating your design. When you have finished, take this further by using your finished design as a starting point to further art work, using paper as the basis for your art work. Or you can just gently sweep your mandala art work away. This teaches us the art of letting go, as well as working with impermanence and change.
You can also use traditional art materials to design your mandala art on paper, card or board,even on pieces of wood or large stones. But ensure that whatever art you create, it is a circle shape, with a circular boundary that you are working within.
Please use the contact us page
to share your mandala art
to post them on this site.
More activities for you to explore:
Use the “ten-breaths” activity
- Deepen your mindfulness and stress reduction skills by recording your own voice to read out the steps in the “using ten-breaths” activity. This activity is at the bottom of the Learn Mindfulness Page. There is information about recording your voice in the activity at the end of the “using ten-breaths” section on that page.
Use the “five senses for self-soothing activities”
- You can explore any of the sensory activities on the coping skills page. There is information about using the five senses for your well-being. Pick a few of them, and try them out.