Highlight, How-to, Inspiration, Practice
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A Gratitude Mandala Exercise for Those Challenging Times

It is easy to count our blessings when everything is sunny and cheery, when the kids are behaving, and the bank account is flush. We need our gratitude practice the most during challenging times. In this exercise, think about an area in your life where you are struggling. Maybe you are having a difficult time at work or with a specific person? As you work on this mandala design, think of eight things you are grateful for about this challenging situation or person. When you are done, I guarantee you’ll feel a greater appreciation for the situation, and you’ll have had fun making this mandala.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Step 1: To create this mandala, I drew two circles and divided the outer ring into eight equal segments using a protractor and ruler. (45 degree increments)

Step 2: Fill each segment with doodled patterns using a black fine liner pen. Be sure to leave spaces for writing words and short phrases.

Step 3: Fill the shapes using bright juicy colors. Color has a way of lifting our moods. In the example above I used extra-fine point Sharpies.

Step 4: Think about a challenging situation you are experiencing in your life and record one thing you appreciate or feel gratitude about in each of the eight sections that you just colored. It helps to journal these words after applying the color so the words don’t bleed. In my example, I’m reflecting on what I’m grateful for in my day job. Some days I grow really weary trying to keep up with my creative projects. I’d rather play than work! You’ll see in each segment all of the things I’m grateful for that the day job brings: great people, lots of laughter, my own little office (not a cubicle), a steady income, using my skills, etc.

Step 5: At the center of the mandala fill with color and an inspiring quote. Here I chose the words, “Bloom where you are planted.”

Visual Reminders:

I have this mandala hanging up next to my desk. Any time I’m feeling stressed, overworked or frustrated, I look at the colorful patterns and read the little messages. It really helps me to turn my mood around, and remind me of all the good things surrounding me.

This mandala exercise is one of many projects found in my book, “The Mandala Guidebook: How to Draw, Paint and Color Expressive Mandala Art.”

If you enjoyed this prompt, you’ll love my upcoming online Mandala Retreat in January: The Inspired Year Mandala Retreat

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