What is a Mandala and Can They Decrease Anxiety and Stress in Children?

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The word mandala is an ancient Indian term meaning “circle” or “center.” People from various cultures have been using mandalas for healing for thousands of years, representing different things including spiritual consciousness, enlightenment, harmony, healing, and unity.

Psychoanalyst Carl Jung created mandalas in his own art and began observing them in the artwork of his patients. He recognized the relaxing and calming states induced by mandalas, as well as their ability to reflect the unconscious self.

In a child’s artistic development, the ability to draw a circle, or mandala, is considered a crucial milestone as it’s one of the first forms created once a child moves past the scribble stage.

Children with Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can benefit from activities promoting relaxation and centering, and studies have revealed that children with ADD/ADHD show decreased impulsivity and increased attention after creating a mandala.

Since the circle can represent a safe and contained space, mandalas have also been found to help both children and adults suffering from anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. Creating artwork inside the circle can help silence a person’s inner critic and induce a calm, meditative state.

Most people experience stress, difficulty focusing, or anxiety at one time or another. In order to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves. Practice some self-care and give mandalas a try.

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