Every one of us has the ability to be fully present to what we are doing, and in doing so, we become islands of calm in a crazy world. Known as mindfulness, the practise must be cultivated – and an excellent way of doing so is through arts and crafts.
Being mindful helps us to focus our awareness on our sensory experiences. When we perform creative activities with mindfulness, we can become aware of not only our physical and mental responses, but our emotional responses as well.
When that happens, we respond in non-judgement, rather than react in anger or fear, to things. What follows are arts and crafts that can help us cultivate mindfulness.
Mosaic, which involves arranging tiles and other items into patterns or pictures, still is a popular craft. Items to include on your shopping list include mosaic tiles (you also can use charms, coins, beads, and even costume jewellery), a wooden base board, mod-podge to seal the board, craft glue, and grout. You may also want to invest in a tile-cutter.
Your local library should have instruction books, and you can find tutorials on sites such as YouTube. The worldwide web is an excellent source for craft instruction and inspiration, plus, it even lets people enjoy the thrill of online Bingo in Australia.
Origami is an excellent craft with which to cultivate mindfulness, and all it requires are a few sheets of paper. The idea is to take a square piece of paper and, through folding and shaping it in various ways, to turn it into a sculpture.
You can use origami paper known as kami, but it is not essential. Even copy paper with a weight between 70 and 90 g/m2 can be used for simple designs. It is an absorbing activity that requires focus and awareness, and it offers a profound sense of achievement when you complete your first project.
Adult colouring books may be in a completely different league to mosaicking and origami, but as simple as they are, they still can help you practise mindfulness. The eminent psychologist Carl Jung believed colouring in pictures helped people to get in touch with the subconscious mind.
Colouring books can help alleviate boredom and reduce stress. They also allow you to engage the right and left hemispheres of your brain, because they combine creativity and basic problem-solving such as deciding which colours to use.
Sculpture is another excellent way to encourage mindfulness. You can start off simply by making a playdough using flour, salt, and water, or you can purchase one of the many clays available at craft shops.
Oil-based modelling clay is similar to playdough in that it stays soft. It is better suited to simpler designs. Polymer clay also stays soft, but if you want to keep your sculptures, you can bake it in the oven to harden it up. Pottery clay is water-based, and it is used to make ceramics. It needs to be fired in a kiln.