mindfulnessnoun1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.2.a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
One of the best things I ever did for my mental health was start practicing mindfulness. Connecting with myself helped me realise and work through a lot of my struggles, and reminds me to constantly be aware of my body, my mind, my soul, and my health.
With anxiety, a lot of the time, I feel like I’m physically buzzing. It’s like static under my skin, in my brain, telling me that everything is wrong and I should be losing it. So you can see how connecting to myself, taking some time to pause, to focus solely on myself, and bringing calm and peace is extremely beneficial to my health.
A lot of the time when people think of mindfulness they think of meditation or as a thing you do in a set block of time and then carry on with your life. But mindfulness isn’t an activity so much as a way of life. Finding more ways to fit it into your day to day can be hard, but it’s not impossible.
Today’s post is a little taster of 5 hobbies you can do that can increase your mindfulness.
Crafts are such a good way to be productively mindful, especially repetitive crafts. Things like knitting, sewing, crocheting, and quilting help to focus your mind on a singular task and repetitive motions are almost meditative.
I have been knitting and quilting for over a decade now and it’s one of my favourite ways to centre myself while producing something I can be tangibly proud of.
Crafts create a physical representation of your commitment to mindfulness and are a great reminder of what you can achieve when you set your mind to something. It doesn’t matter if it looks ‘good’ because you poured your time, energy, and your soul into it, and that makes it the best thing you could have done. Focusing on improving your skills gives you goals to work towards and learning from and teaching others provides a great social bonding aspect to the practice.
Journalling is something I always wish I could stick to but I always find it difficult. At the worst part of my mental health journey, I started Art Journalling, which is a visual representation of your feelings and experiences, rather than writing things out in word entries. It can help you pour everything out and clear your mind of stresses and emotions.
You don’t have to be technically artistic in any way to produce really meaningful work and I love looking back at my old journals from college to show myself how much I’ve progressed and reminding myself how brave I was at that time.
I never really understood the ‘yoga changed my life’ people until I started yoga and it changed my life. I like to think of yoga as physical meditation, and it’s beneficial for your mind, body, and soul all at once.
I’m not a master yogi by any stretch – I’m pretty inflexible, have weak wrists (repetitive crafting isn’t great for some things!), and am generally a skinny weakling. But I do yoga and I feel fantastic afterwards – you get that natural post-exercise/meditation buzz.
You can practice pretty much wherever you are and I use YouTube videos at home to guide my practice. I’m anxious, shy, and get easily distracted, so practicing on my own at home gives me the best results – the whole point is finding what’s best for you! Yoga is about connecting to yourself, and so makes it a perfect mindful hobby.
Tending to plants is something I always enjoy – whether it’s growing fruits and vegetables or just looking after the succulent that lives on my windowsill (their name is Sponge Bob, because what else would you call a succulent plant?)
I’m blessed with a pretty large garden that I can tend to but you definitely don’t have to have acres of land to work it. Spongebob lives on my windowsill and is the size of maybe a Rubik’s Cube. I have herbs growing in old plastic food containers on my kitchen sideboard. Hanging baskets can be put wherever there’s space for them, and there’s a wealth of containers and crops that can fit on an apartment balcony.
Tending to something living is a great way to connect with nature and see a visual progression of your efforts. If you’re growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, then you can add them to your cooking and benefit your body as well as your mind.
I’ve always loved colouring books, and I know I’m not alone. Colouring is another one of those repetitive, creative activities that can help us to focus and work out our emotions. Finding peace in a simple activity helps you to be mindful with little effort and outlay.
Thanks to the ‘adult colouring book’ trend, there’s a wealth of books to choose from, and also there’s a lot of single pages you can download.
| If you’re looking for more mindful practices, check out my review of The Mindfulness App: Meditation for Everyone |
What mindful hobbies do you have? Let me know in the comments!