Mindfulness is a state of being fully present in the moment, focusing all your attention on your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations.
The NHS has included practising mindfulness in their ‘5 steps to wellbeing’ due to its positive benefits on our mental health. By focusing on the present and thinking positively we can begin to change our mindset and look at things in a new light.
For a beginner, mindfulness activities can be a great entry into practising mindfulness. Doing enjoyable hobbies like arts and crafts or exercise can help clear your mind by focusing all your attention on the fun task at hand.
We’ve outlined some of the best mindfulness activities for you to try!
You don’t have to be Picaso to have a go at mindfulness painting. By simply allowing yourself to be free and creative can help improve your mood, no matter if a masterpiece comes out or a few paint splatters.
Dedicating the time to solely focus on one creative activity can allow your mind to let go of other negative thoughts and just relax in a safe environment. Once your painting is complete you will feel a sense of pride that will help put you in a positive mindset.
Ever found yourself doodling? You may have been practising mindful drawing and you didn’t even realise!
The key to mindfulness is letting go of any judgements. By doodling and creating shapes you are going with the flow and freely expressing yourself without criticising what the end picture should look like because you haven’t invented it yet.
Although, if you do hit a creative block there are some common mindful drawings that people do to de-stress. You can draw a mandala like shape which is similar to a doodle in that it’s made of swirls and dots that any beginner artist can do. Or some people like to practice ‘body scan’ mindfulness where you focus one part of the body and think about how it looks and feels before sketching it.
We have all seen those mindfulness colouring books that come in all kinds of shapes, themes and sizes. But how do they help?
A study handed out questionnaires to two sets of participants. One group spent 20 minutes reading and the other colouring. The results found that colouring significantly reduced levels of anxiety.
If you want to build up your artistic skill before you go onto drawing and painting, then colouring can be a great starting point.
Taking some time to make a simple mindfulness jar can have short and long term benefits on your mental health.
Making the jar is an easy, relaxing activity that can help calm you down in the moment but also help with mindfulness in the future. All you need is a clear jar, water, soap and glitter.
Glitter mindfulness jars can help you self-regulate your emotions by using different colours to represent different things such as red glitter for thoughts and blue for feelings. Once finished, you can use your jar again and again to help with other mindfulness exercises like breathing, in which you can take deep breaths along with swirling the jar around, which helped it to get its other name of ‘calming jar’.
If you don’t have any art supplies lying around then you can simply go for a walk. Getting outside and being amongst nature can be a great way of decluttering your thoughts.
So how is it different from regular walking? Its a type of mindful movement. You are consciously making yourself aware of your own physical movements. Most of us are so used to our everyday routine that we do the same old walks and commutes on auto pilot, not even releasing how we go to the office or back home.
Mindfulness walking forces us to pay attention to our surroundings, breath, steps, senses, body, all the things we usually ignore. Its a good time to use those 10 minute walks you may do everyday to check in on yourself!