10 May 2023
Colouring emotions

Activity time: 10 – 20 minutes

Colours have an emotional connection for many of us, and we can use them to express ourselves where we maybe don’t have the words.

Colouring emotions is a very simple activity I created for myself to help identify emotions, and explore their subtle nature. I find it especially useful at times I can recognise that I am feeling one of the main emotions (such as ‘anger’ or ‘sadness’), but am struggling to express exactly how, why or what I am feeling.

Our emotions don’t always manifest in exactly the same way each time they occur, and they can layer on top of each other or mingle together. Happiness can be tinged with sadness, jealousy might be masking something underneath, and anger could show itself as a low simmer or a boiling rage. By colouring emotions, we can view them in ways we might not have noticed before.

Colour your emotions:

You will need

Plain white paper of any kind

Colouring pencils (or a similar material such as pastels – having a wide range of colours is best)

Something circular to draw around (e.g. a mug, lid, bottle)

A space where you won’t be disturbed


How to

Draw around your circular object onto the paper, so you are left with a circle.

Pause for a minute and feel into the emotion in your body. You could simply notice how you are feeling in this moment, or recollect a particular situation or person that evoked strong emotions in you.

When you feel connected to the emotion, pick out a colour (or several) that you feel represents the emotion, and colour in the circle. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You might use a single solid colour, mix some together, draw shapes or patterns, or even write in words if you wish – go with what feels right for you. Don’t worry about making something that looks pretty, consider this your permission slip to allow your emotions to flow and to create for yourself.

Repeat as often as you need.


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