Creative mindfulness - what does that even mean? Have you ever noticed how you always seem to lose track of time when you are engaged in something creative such as writing, drawing, painting, doodling or a craft activity? When your brain is working so hard on focusing on the activity at hand, everything else seems to fade away and you enter a zone of creative mindfulness. This state of flow is a scientifically documented state of mind and is considered to be as impactful and beneficial as meditating.
So how are you supposed to achieve this state of mindfulness? By engaging in creative activities! Yes, it can really be that simple to relax, unwind and let go of your stress. Everyone knows how to write, draw and paint. All you need to do is start!
Here are 5 ways to start your journey into creative mindfulness
Journaling in a mindful manner is the same as meditative writing. It is the transferring of your thoughts and emotions onto paper and experiencing that much needed release. Practising journaling for an extended period of time can open up internal channels of communication and help you discover who you are as a person, what your triggers and motivators are and understand the way you think and feel.
Journaling is easy to start! Just date the page and write about your day, the significant events and how they made you feel. If this does not come naturally to you, look for prompts online. We recommend you use actual paper, like a notebook and a pen, rather than go digital, as that will bring you into the present and not be distracting as devices tend to be.
Journaling sharpens your focus, turns your attention inward and nurtures positive thoughts. The best part - it can be done anytime and is meant for everyone!
2. Drawing or painting
Not much of an artist? No worries! You are still a creative genius! We all are. We get born as artists and just lose our unique creative abilities as we grow into a world of reality, expectations, rules and deadlines. But nothing is stopping you from starting over! The most wonderful part about creating art for mindfulness is the total lack of need for perfection, validation and approval. What you create is for you to feel. It does not need to look good or look real. Experiment, explore and play! Try to bring your feelings out through lines, colours and shapes. It is a manifestation of your emotions. Feel the joy of colours coming together, the grazing of pencil against paper, the textures and the happy little accidents.
Getting into a habit of creating art nurtures your creative growth and reduces anxiety and stress levels. It improves memory and concentration and heals your mind and soul. Creating something you are proud of gives you a sense of accomplishment which helps release the reward chemical in your brain - the much seeked after dopamine!
3. Craft making
If you think that craft making is for kids, you are absolutely right! But have you ever seen how happy kids are when they are busy creating awesome stuff with their tiny hands and big imaginations? Instead of dismissing it as kiddie stuff, we should be embracing their lifestyle because it is truly one of the happiest ways to live.
Taking the time to create something such as origami or paper cutting, can be very relaxing as your mind gets focussed on the activity at hand, without having to exert itself. Being occupied with a creative task makes you forget about your existing worries for a while and slip naturally into a more mindful state of being.
Craft making helps deal with anxiety and mood swings and can improve your focus and concentration. Exploring your creativity helps boost your brain’s productive capacity and enhances creative thinking.
4. Art Journaling
Art journaling is when words, colors, images, patterns, and other materials come together to form a unique expression of your life story. An excellent form of creative self care, It can be a very private and intimate act of expressing your innermost thoughts and can be a powerful way of releasing your stress and pent up frustrations. If you love to experiment then this is the perfect mindful activity for you. The beauty of an art journal is that anything goes. It gives you permission to play and make mistakes i.e artistic freedom. You can express your emotions and feelings and heal through art and words without worrying about judgement. It does not need to look great, be perfect or mean anything other than an expression of your own story.
The fun part is that you get to play around with all kinds of supplies and materials and mix it up. Washi tape, stickers, postcards, pictures, gel pens, sketch pens, crayons, paint, anything and everything that catches your fancy is fair game. Just go with the flow and vent it out through this wonderful creative outlet.
Art Journaling heals through the power of creative expression. By transferring the chaos inside our minds onto paper in a creative way, we learn to let go of it in a constructive way.
Pottery may seem like a difficult and specialised activity but it can be an amazing creative outlet. Therapeutic and relaxing, it helps to build focus and concentration, by blocking out distractions and reducing stress. When you connect with nature in such an elemental way and form something of your own from the earth itself, the activity is naturally mindful and the impact can be profound. The sense of accomplishment you get at the end is a very rewarding experience.
Moulding of clay into a concrete form, engages you both mentally and physically. It lets your mind expand and explore creatively beyond your daily tasks and chores. It is a sensory experience quite unlike any you get normally, and this exploration can work wonders for relieving your mind from everyday drudgery.
Pottery can improve your mood, help you in practicing mindfulness without too much conscious effort and can also help in self discovery.
If you have been indulging in creative self care, we would love to hear about your experiences. If you have not, now is a great time to start!