Mindfulness and colouring books: a randomised control investigation on state anxiety and mindfulness


  • M. Mantzios
  • K. Giannou


Mindfulness has been associated with the use of adult colouring books, and ‘mindfulness colouring books’ have become a new trend in the marketing of colouring books. While the popularity of these ‘mindfulness colouring books’ steadily increases, the question of whether they do increase mindfulness has not been addressed. In a randomized controlled experiment, university students (n = 88) were assigned to a mandala group, which is a colouring exercise utilising a circular shape known as a mandala (and is described as a mindfulness colouring exercise) or to a free-drawing group (i.e., drawing on a blank piece of paper without any indications that it is a mindfulness practice). Measurements of state mindfulness and state anxiety were taken before and after the experiment. Results indicated that both conditions increased mindfulness and decreased anxiety (although not significantly), but there was no significant difference between the groups in both state mindfulness and anxiety. Findings suggest that drawing itself can be mindful, but more guidance or instructions on how to draw may be required to develop a truly mindful practice with the use of colouring books. Limitations and future directions are discussed.





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