De-stress making a mandala

A mandala is a circular geometric configuration of symbols. With roots in Southeast Asian spiritual tradition, many today use these as a form of focused concentration, meditation, and relaxation. Art making also helps to identify and express emotion. This exercise uses symbols and colors to convey feelings.  

Supplies

  • Sheet of paper or paper plate 

  • Colored pencils, markers, or crayons 

  • A small round object such as a penny 

  • Ruler or measuring tape (or you can just eyeball it) 

Start by thinking of symbols that you like or that have meaning in your life. You can sketch some out on a separate piece of paper.

Next, think of a list of feelings and write them down. Decide which color best matches the feeling and make a mark for yourself so that you can look back at it as you create your mandala.  

Find the center of your paper or paper plate using a measuring device. Trace a small object over the top of the center point. This will give you a starting place. Working from the center, create patterns using symbols or colors that express your feelings.

Reflect on your finished piece. What colors are you drawn to? What feelings did you assign to those colors? Did you notice any change in your feelings as you progressed through the activity?