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Review of "Mindful Coloring"

By Diana Elisabeth Dube
W. W. Norton, 2016
Review by Beth Cholette, Ph.D. on May 26th 2016
Mindful Coloring

Adult coloring books have exploded of late:  walk into any book store or even any grocery store, and there may be dozens of books promising stress relief and other benefits.  As a clinical psychologist working in a college counseling setting, my colleagues and I have been at the front of this curve, using coloring with our college student clients to foster wellness for several years now--although admittedly, applying this trend to ourselves as been a relatively new idea.

Mindful Coloring: Calming the Mind Through Art includes a brief introduction by Dr. Daniel Seigel, the Founding Co-Director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center and the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute.  He affirms the value of coloring as a means to focus the mind’s attention and to stay balanced, which creates benefits for both physical and mental well-being. 

I have tried several adult coloring books, and this is my favorite so far.  First, unlike a traditional book, this book is square (8x8); somehow, the symmetry of this is both appealing and soothing.  Second, the pages are perforated, so you have the option of removing your designs when complete (although they are also fastened securely should you choose not to do so).  Third, the patterns are printed only on one side of the page, so there is less concern about bleeding over to the opposite side when coloring.

Finally, there is the appeal of the designs themselves.  I have found that many coloring books aimed towards adults have designs that are so intricate that I actually find them stressful to color!  For those who do enjoy more complex designs, no worries, there are definitely some challenging patterns included in this book--I think that confined to the smaller square size, even the complicated drawings seem more manageable.  But what I really love about this book is the variety.  There are many circular mandalas, some simple, some more involved.  There are flowers, both large--filling the entire page--and smaller, more repeated blossoms.  There are recognizable scenes (I enjoyed coloring a sunset, and I have my eye on a porthole ocean view next) as well as countless abstracts, from wavy lines to geometric patterns.  In short, there is clearly something for everyone here.

As Dr. Siegel suggests in his introduction, coloring has been shown to be as beneficial as meditation.  No one particular type of coloring book is necessary, but having one that feels right for you is certainly likely to be helpful.  Mindful Coloring: Calming the Mind Through Art has the greatest assortment of drawings in any book that I have seen so far, and as such, I would highly recommend it.


© 2016 Beth Cholette


Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.