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As someone deeply passionate about the art and spirituality of mandala dot painting, I’ve had the privilege to connect with many people who share this passion. Through these interactions, I’ve become aware of a common challenge that many face: hand tremors or shaking while painting. This revelation struck a chord with me, not because I’ve battled with tremors, but because I understand how essential steady hands are to our craft.

While I may not have direct experience with this issue, the stories and concerns shared by many of you have inspired me to delve deeper into this topic. It’s important to me that our mandala community feels supported, not just in perfecting their art but also in navigating the obstacles that might stand in the way.

This article is born from a desire to bridge that gap. My journey to bring you this information has been grounded in research to uncover effective techniques and inspirational stories from reputable sources and published studies. I aim to compile and share this knowledge with you, not as an expert on the condition but as a fellow artist and friend committed to our collective growth and well-being.

Understanding Hand Tremors

Essential tremor is a nervous system condition that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. While it can affect any body part, it most often occurs in the hands, hence the term “hand tremors.”  You may notice the shaking in one (or both) hands, and the condition may become aggravated by emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine, or extreme temperatures. 1


The origins of essential tremor remain a mystery in the medical community. It’s a widespread, chronic condition that impacts about 0.9% of the world’s population. As of 2020, an estimated 24.91 million people were living with this condition, with 56% of those affected being males.2

Neurological conditions, affecting everything from the brain and spinal cord to the peripheral nerves, can alter the body’s movement and function. 3 In line with this, Louise Hay suggests in her works, You Can Heal Your Life and Heal Your Body that physical ailments often have mental counterparts. She proposes that the hands, brain, spine, nerves, and even feelings of anxiety are not just physical entities but representations of our inner experiences and attitudes.4

  • Hands, she writes, symbolize how we grasp life, literally and metaphorically, reflecting our capacity to hold, let go, and interact with the world. The affirmation “I choose to handle all my experiences with love, joy, and ease” encapsulates a more harmonious approach to life.
  • The Brain is considered the command center of our consciousness, embodying the thought processes that govern our reality. “I am the loving operator of my mind” is an affirmation encouraging mindful control and positive thinking.
  • The Spine provides our body’s support, mirroring the backbone of our life’s journey. “I am supported by life” reminds us of the universal support that underlies our existence.
  • Nerves symbolize our capacity for communication, both within ourselves and with the world. “I communicate with ease and with joy” aims to foster openness and positivity in our interactions.
  • Anxiety, often stemming from a lack of trust in life’s flow, is addressed with “I love and approve of myself, and I trust the process of life. I am safe,” promoting a sense of security and self-acceptance.5

While Hay’s perspective doesn’t resonate with everyone, if you find meaning in these affirmations, they might be a powerful tool for you. She believes that our bodies reflect our inner thoughts and beliefs, asserting that by changing our mental patterns, we can influence our physical well-being. If any of these affirmations speak to you, consider integrating them into your daily routine—write them down, say them aloud, and repeat them until they become ingrained beliefs. This practice can be a transformative step toward healing, both physically and mentally.

Pre-Painting Preparation

Before you start dot-painting mandalas, take some time to “prep” to significantly enhance your artistic experience.  You’ll want to be as relaxed as possible before painting.   Here are a few tips to help you get ready:

Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

  • Engage in a brief meditation session or practice deep breathing exercises to calm the mind and body, effectively reducing stress and anxiety levels that can make hand tremors worse.
  • Create a tranquil and focused state of mind that prepares you spiritually for the art creation process, which physically primes your body to reduce involuntary movements.

Physical Warm-Ups

  • Perform gentle stretching exercises for your fingers, wrists, and arms to increase blood flow, flexibility, and reduce stiffness.
  • Practice activities that improve dexterity and precision, such as squeezing a stress ball, to prepare your hands for detailed mandala painting.

Incorporating these practices into your pre-painting routine can create a solid foundation for steadier hands, allowing you to approach your mandala art with confidence and control. By dedicating time to mental and physical prep, you lay the groundwork for a smoother, more enjoyable painting experience that minimizes the impact of the tremors.

Practical Techniques and Tools

Dot-painting mandalas can sometimes be met with unexpected challenges, especially for those with hand tremors, but don’t let the shaking stop you from pursuing your passion. Whether you’re aiming to refine your designs to appear cleaner and tighter or simply looking to paint with more confidence, here are some practical techniques and tools that can help bolster your creativity and precision, ensuring your mandalas shine with the vibrancy and clarity they deserve:

Adaptive Art Tools

  • Wear wrist weights to develop muscles and help keep your hands stabilized.

Workspace Setup

  • Work with a “wood bridge” to rest your hand on to provide stability and prevent smudging.
  • Listen to relaxing music to create a calming environment that can reduce tremors.
  • Ensure good lighting and comfortable seating to minimize strain and enhance focus.

Painting Techniques

  • Support your wrist across your other wrist/forearm or hold your dominant hand with your non-dominant hand for additional stability.
  • Work from the center out so you can place your hand/forearm on the project piece or table for additional stability.
  • When you breathe, dot on exhale to help relax the body, reducing the likelihood of tremors.
  • Dot rapidly to reduce the time your hand has to shake and skew the dots.
  • Try the “walking dots” technique for easier application over individual dots.

Practice Exercises

  • Make a fist with both hands and gently squeeze to maintain agility.
  • Touch fingertips (one at a time) to thumb to enhance stability and grip strength.
  • Bend your wrists side to side to increase wrist strength.
  • Try yoga to relax and improve overall body steadiness.

Lifestyle Tips

  • Limit intake of coffee, caffeine, tea, or other stimulants to reduce the risk of enhancing tremors.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to help avoid contributing to hand shakiness over time.
  • Ensure proper nutrition because skipping meals can trigger shakiness.
  • Get restful sleep because insufficient sleep can also enhance shakiness.6


As we’ve explored throughout this article, hand tremors present a unique challenge for mandala artists, potentially influencing both the process and the final outcome of their art. Yet, the strategies and tools discussed here highlight a pathway forward, showing that the impact of tremors can be significantly lessened with the proper adjustments and practices. By incorporating adaptive art tools, optimizing your workspace, refining your painting techniques, engaging in practice exercises, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can enhance your control and precision, leading to a more fulfilling and enjoyable artistic journey.

I encourage you to approach these suggestions with an open mind and a spirit of experimentation. Not every strategy will work for everyone, so trying different approaches to discover what best suits your needs and preferences is important. Remember, art is a personal journey, and overcoming obstacles is part of what makes that journey so rewarding.

Lastly, I want to address a concern that might still hold some of you back: the fear of embarrassment, nervousness about ridicule, or anxiety over others noticing your tremors. Please know that your artistic community is a supportive and understanding space. We all face our own challenges, and sharing your experiences or tips could help you feel less isolated and assist others facing similar struggles.

So, I invite you to share your stories, successes, and any additional advice you might have in the comments below or on social media. Let’s foster a community of encouragement, growth, and mutual support where every artist feels empowered to create, regardless of the hurdles they may face. Your voice and your art matter; together, we can create an environment where creativity thrives, free from fear and full of inspiration!

Thanks for reading, and happy dotting 😊

  1. “Essential Tremor: Symptoms & Causes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Mar. 2024, ↩︎
  2. Song, P., et al. “The Global Prevalence of Essential Tremor, with Emphasis on Age and Sex: A Meta-Analysis.” J Glob Health, vol. 11, 10 Apr. 2021, doi:10.7189/jogh.11.04028. Accessed 13 Mar. 2024. ↩︎
  3. “Neurological Diseases: Conditions That Affect the Nervous System.” *Healthline*, Healthline Media, 13 Mar. 2024, ↩︎
  4. Hay, Louise L. You Can Heal Your Life. 2nd ed., Hay House Inc., 1984. ↩︎
  5. Hay, Louise L. Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them. Hay House Inc., 1982. ↩︎
  6. “10+ Proven Ways to Improve Hand Steadiness, Stop Shaking, and Increase Dexterity.” wikiHow, wikiHow, Inc., 13 Mar. 2024, ↩︎

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