We all know that emotions are important. They tell us what we need. They guide our decisions, and help us understand ourselves and others.
But have you ever noticed how your feelings can be so fleeting?
One minute you feel excited and happy, then the next minute you feel down or anxious. It’s like a constant rollercoaster ride of emotions!
In fact, researchers have found that images can trigger emotions in the same way that words do.
Mandala images can help with this problem because they allow us to process deeper emotions that we might not otherwise get at by just looking at them while they float by in our minds. Images can help you understand your emotions, because you’re more likely to have an emotional response to an image than a word.
In one study, for example, participants were shown pictures of human faces and asked to rate the faces based on their level of attractiveness (a trait often associated with emotion). This makes sense when you think about it: if seeing a spider triggers negative feelings like fear or disgust (which are both linked to sadness), then seeing an image representing sadness might also cause people feel sad themselves by association—even though they may not necessarily be feeling depressed at all times or even right now!
You can use mandala images to connect with your unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is the source of all your emotions and it’s where you have access to all the creativity, imagination and intuition you need for a happy life. The unconscious mind is also a reservoir of dreams, so when you meditate using mandala images it helps you tap into this reservoir and bring some of those dreams into reality in your waking life.
How you can use mandala images to unlock your emotions
The use of Mandala images can be a powerful method of art therapy and intervention. Typically associated with emotional events, images such as those below, are coloured in using paints or pens. The focus on the complex pattern creates a mindful release and encourages the image to reflect emotions that were occurring for the coachee at the time. If you do decide to use these as a coach, please be aware of your understanding of coaching and counselling.
- You will need a set of color pencils, oil pastels, or paints, a print-out of one of the images below, and a quiet, well-lit room.
- Choose a mandala image that resonates with you. It doesn’t have to be intricate or elaborate, but it should feel like the right fit for your personal journey. Selecting a mandala can also be a meditation in itself. Take some time to reflect on what appeals to you about this particular pattern and why that might be so. Start colouring where you are attracted to and the colour that feels good for you.
- Use the mandala drawings as a focus point during meditation. Visualize the image in your mind’s eye, focusing on one element of its design at a time—for example, think about how each circle in the center represents an element of your life (such as “happiness” or “love”), how they interact with each other and affect each other’s colors and shapes, etc.
- See if any emotions come up while doing this exercise; write down which ones do so that you’re able to reflect later on why they were important enough for them to surface at this moment when meditating on the mandala’s meaning through visualization alone without any further prompts from outside sources such as friends talking about their own experiences using similar techniques before sharing their opinions on these matters publicly online via social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter etcetera…
Tips for going deeper into your unconscious mind with a mandala image
- Create a space where you can be alone and undisturbed.
- When you’re ready, focus on the mandala image while letting go of any thoughts that come up; they might be helpful later but for now all we want is complete focus on one thing: this beautiful art piece!
- Look at the mandala image for a few minutes, letting your eyes rest on it. If thoughts come up, let them pass by and return to looking at the image. Try not to think about what you should be feeling or what emotions are appropriate or expected right now. You don’t have to feel anything in particular—you may feel nothing at all! Even if we’re not used to being still and quiet, this is an important skill that will help us go deeper into our unconscious mind with any creative project or meditation practice.
Sometimes, a client may express hesitancy – as colouring of an image may reflect a childhood activity. In this case, an alternative method could be to invite the client to write about a situation. We also find that as the Mandala images are quite complex, this complexity causes paralysis. In such a case, indicating where a client might prefer to start colouring could be suggested – linking into the strongest emotions.
It is likely that you will find that this process surpasses a coaching session. Invite the client to take the Mandala Image home with them – putting it in different locations and interacting as they want to. Be curious about what comes up, and encourage expression.
Images (Click on image to download full size image that you can print out)
- Abeyta, A. A., Routledge, C., Juhl, J., & Robinson, M. D. (2015). Finding meaning through emotional understanding: Emotional clarity predicts meaning in life and adjustment to existential threat. Motivation and Emotion, 39(6), 973-983.
- Gohm, C. L., & Clore, G. L. (2000). Individual differences in emotional experience: Mapping available scales to processes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 679-697.
- Henderson, P., Rosen, D., & Mascaro, N. (2007). Empirical study on the healing nature of mandalas. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1(3), 148.
- Jung, C. G. (1973). Mandala symbolism. Bollingen Series. Princeton University Press.
- Palmer, B., Donaldson, C., & Stough, C. (2002). Emotional intelligence and life satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1091-1100.
- Salovey, P., Stroud, L. R., Woolery, A., & Epel, E. S. (2002). Perceived emotional intelligence, stress reactivity, and symptom reports: Further explorations using the trait meta-mood scale. Psychology and Health, 17, 611-627.