15 activities that help you practice mindfulness.

15 activities that help you practice mindfulness.

When I began learning Yoga, my teacher suggested I try meditation. I would grumble about the hundred thoughts that would disturb me each time I tried to do it, but she would advice me to let the thoughts move freely and slowly divert my attention to my breath.

“Just focus on inhaling and exhaling,” she would say, gently.

I tried hard. At times, I would succeed, at others, I would give up my fight with my thoughts and accept defeat.

I realised over a period of time, though, that there are activities that help me forget the world and focus on the moment. Activities like writing, working on a sketch or reading, helped my mind focus on the moment and ignore all the useless thoughts that roamed my mind.

And, that’s when I understood that:

Indulging in an activity, when your mind takes a break from the daily grind, repairs itself, and leaves you feeling de-stressed is when you practice mindfulness. 

 

As I began concentrating on this new-found knowledge, I realised I found it easier to actually meditate during my Yoga sessions, too. The thoughts would definitely enter (do they have wings that they fly in and out as they wish?). But, all I had to do, was stop indulging them, and concentrate on my breath, on my nostrils, as I inhaled and I exhaled. That’s just what my teacher was trying to tell me!

Giving your mind a complete break from all the thoughts and allowing  it some ‘me-time‘ is so necessary. For our mind. For our sanity.

 

15 ACTIVITIES TO DO WHILE YOU PRACTICE MINDFULNESS:

1 Read a book

If you are an avid reader, you will know how a book can transport you to a far away land and leave you mesmerised. Pick your favourite author or genre and spend at least half an hour reading.

Best time to read: Before bedtime. Switch off the phone/TV/computer and READ!

2 Draw/paint

Have you seen how engrossed kids are when colouring or drawing in their books? Art has a therapeutic effect on our mind and is considered one of the best ways to de-stress.

Art tips: Look for colouring books for adults online and lose yourself in their pages with your colour pencils and crayons when feeling low and lonely.

 

3 Knit/Sew/Crochet/Embroider

It can seem difficult, but knitting, sewing or embroidery are also activities that help practice mindfulness. Moreover, you need to focus on the activity to save your fingers from getting pricked!

Tips for beginners: Start with something simple. Complete the work and then frame it to put it up on a wall for all to see. it will not only get you compliments, but also beautify your walls!

 

4 Work on a kitchen garden

If you are the one with a green thumb, then you will make for the perfect gardener! Work on a kitchen garden if you have a balcony or even a window that receives ample sunshine. You will get fresh herbs to add flavour to your cooking as well as applause from your family for your efforts!

Gardening tips: Pick small pots for herbs or veggies that don’t need too much space. Use kitchen waste to create manure for the garden. A simple way to make manure is, collecting the daily kitchen waste, grinding it in the grinder with some water and adding a spoonful of this paste to the pots.

 

5 Cook your favourite recipe

My MIL found cooking to be a refreshing activity. She was a fabulous cook but schizophrenia had left her bereft of any enthusiasm. So, hubby would urge her to make some or other dish. Her enthusiasm knew no bounds when in the kitchen and she would forget all her pain and worries!

Cooking tips for beginners: All you need to do is look up easy recipes on Pinterest or YouTube. Start with something that’s not only easy, but requires ingredients that are a personal favourite. Cook a dish for yourself when you are home alone and watch your mind relax.

 

6 Write in your daily journal

Journaling has several advantages. It not only helps you vent your worries, but also helps you make goals for self-improvement as your words guide you to work on certain areas.

Journaling tips:  Make journal entries each night before going to bed. Write down 5 things that happened in the day that made you happy and 5 things that didn’t work out and what you learned from the experience. Make bullet lists for the week that will help you to set goals for yourself.

 

7 Play with your children

Now, this is something every parent will agree with, isn’t it? Playing with a doll house, or a board game, or even out in the park is rejuvenating. Kids help you forget your worries and freshen up with their chatter.

Tips for kiddie-time: Play some peppy songs and dance along with your kids. Just let go of any inhibitions and watch you stress evaporate!

 

8 Spend time with your pets

Pets make for the best therapists! I had a dog, and now three parrots, who are my lifelines. And spending time with them helps me practice mindfulness!

Animal therapy: If you don’t have pets, or are not comfy around animals, spend time watching fish in a tank or birds flying back home in the evenings. It’s just so relaxing looking at them as they go back to their babies.

 

9 De-clutter your wardrobe

Actually, de-cluttering in itself is a calming activity and helps you ignore all thoughts and focus on the moment. Moreover, physical de-cluttering also helps in mental de-cluttering. As you sort and purge useless stuff from a particular area in your home, you unknowingly sort and purge the thoughts in your mind, too. And, considering there are about 70,000 thoughts going on in our mind in the span of a day, de-cluttering is so necessary, isn’t it?

Tips to de-clutter: Select just one area a day (a drawer, a shelf or a corner) and sort through the things really useful and throw away those you haven’t used in a year. Clean up the area, place the useful articles in boxes, label them so they are easy to locate.

 

10 Walk

Walking is one of the best cardio exercises and all you need for this activity is a pair of walking shoes and comfy clothes. Walk in your neighbourhood park or your apartment complex. It will help not just your physical health but also your mental health.

Walking tips: Begin with a 10 min warm-up walk at a slow pace. Increase the speed slowly and steadily. Walk for about 20 minutes and then bring down the speed for a 10 min wind-up walk. Focus on your breath and DO NOT use an app that counts your steps or the calories burnt. These apps only take away from the happiness you would otherwise experience.

 

11 Practice Yoga

Yoga is one of the best exercises to not only tone up the body, but also strengthen the muscles, the joints and the mind, too.

Tips for beginners: Yoga is best learned from a teacher. Copying yoga asanas on YouTube could actually harm your body because Yoga requires flexibility and practice.

 

12 Doodle or make a Mandala

Pick up a pen and doodle away your blues! You don’t need to follow any set rules for doodling. All you need to do is let your mind guide your hand. Mandala designs can be found on Pinterest and Google. Pick one that seems easy, if you are a beginner.

Tips for doodling/Mandala: Doodling really needs no practice or tips. Mandala can feel intimidating for beginners. So, begin with a circle and then fill it up with patterns like leaves, flowers, diamonds, curvy lines and shapes. You will need a compass to make the circles.

 

13 Fold the laundry

This one does seem weird, but folding laundry does indeed help practice mindfulness, as does doing the dishes!

Tips to focus on this activity: Because these activities need no tips, just focus on every garment you fold or every utensil you wash. These do seem really boring and agonising at times, but sometimes, our mind needs such tasks that give it the much-needed rest.

 

14 Sing or dance

Just play your favourite music (not the sad, gloomy kind, though) and sing along, at the top of your voice, even if you aren’t blessed with impressive vocal chords. Or dance away like no one’s watching!

Tips to remember: Peppy numbers are the best to sing along or dance along with. Lose your inhibitions and allow yourself to go crazy along with the music. You will love it and forget all your worries!

 

15 Sleep

Oh yes! Sleep like a baby if your mind feels bogged down with endless thoughts or worries. Give it some much-needed rest. A good nap will recharge your batteries–physically as well as mentally.

Tips for good sleep: If it’s an afternoon nap, do not sleep for more than 20 to 30 minutes. Switch off the phone wifi before you go to sleep–be it in the noon or at night. And sleep at the same time, especially at night. You will get the required rest and wake up refreshed.

 

 

Any activity you do, gives you a chance to practice mindfulness. All it needs is to be in that moment. That’s meditation! That’s how you give your mind the break it deserves. So, the next time you feel like ‘meditating’, just get down to doing your favourite activity, whatever it may be.  But remember to focus only  on the activity.  It will be tough, initially, but, slowly and steadily, you will get used to it.

Do take it easy on days you aren’t able to hold it together. We are humans, after all. And, it’s okay to fail. But,  shake away those thoughts after a while. And, get your breath in focus. it is what keeps you alive, isn’t it?

So,  give your mind a break. Mind your mind.

Meditate!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Practicing mindfulness made easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

27 thoughts on “15 activities that help you practice mindfulness.

  1. True, Shilpa. Meditation is mindfulness and anything that allows us to focus on our breath can potentially lead us to a meditative state. I totally look forward to my mindfulness practice every morning as it always leads me to a meditative state, which I’m so grateful for. The rest of the day goes like a breeze then! So much goes on in the mind, that it is necessary for us to pause and give that much-needed break! Glad you shared this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your thought on meditation, Shilpa. I practise meditation during my yoga class and i get a high from it, akin to Hritik’s too :)))
    Love the new look and new name of your blog. Congratulations!:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You could have been talking about me, Shilpa, because I love to extol the virtues of meditation to one and all. Just like you, initially I used to be so irritated when my mind would meander. Then, I joined a meditation group where the best advice I received was to let the thoughts be. Be at peace with them and focus on the sound of the breath and the process of inhaling and exhaling. That tip helped me immensely because as you and I know, when we try to control things, it makes us feel agitated. Now, I try to meditate every night before going to bed or when I do Yoga, it fills me with a peace and calm. Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is one of the best times to meditate, Rachna. I just sit in vajrasana and close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing before going to sleep. It not only calms me down but also helps me have a good night’s sleep.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had never thought of meditating as immersing yourself in an activity that leaves no room for extraneous thoughts. I too find it difficult to think of nothing while meditating during yoga. Even keeping count by saying prayers or mantras doesn’t work and the most frivolous thoughts break my meditation.
    But I am giving my mind a break and consciously not blogging till everything falls into place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The best thing about meditating, Sunita, is that one can do it anywhere, anytime, even while folding laundry, or doing the dishes, As long as you are able to concentrate in the moment and are doing your activity with awareness, you will surely feel like you have been meditating. The concentrating in the here and now gives the mind a lot of relief from all the thoughts that crowd it all the time.

      Like

  5. This is active mediation at its best! Painting is my form of active meditation, though I am now able to simply drop into the silence when I sit down to meditate too. It takes time and practice, though! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great analogy to filter the true purpose of meditation! I too went through the motions of finding it very tough to practice initially but I learnt to give wings to the thoughts. Let them come said my teacher and set them free with out giving more attn to them – it was very simple once I learnt to let go of them. I am happy to note another meditation “junkie” in the count for it truly gives a high!! cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, Damyanti. Some days the troublesome thoughts take over the mind and just don’t let go! But, that’s life! And, yes, we really need to unplug every now and then so we stay sane and keep functioning well! :))

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  7. I will tell you about 2 things I do which is akin to meditation. One is getting up very early in the morning, sitting on the couch with a cup of warm water and then letting my mind loose. I let it wander for as long as I have until 5.30 am. I let it act out in its creative ways, taking me through the past, present and future, weaving new analogies to the events which have already occurred. I just sit back gazing and wandering with it. When it gets 5.30, I tell it that its time is over and we will indulge again next morning. Guess what, majority of the times the mind is happy with all the attention I gave it and does not interfere during the day.
    Second, you are well aware of – sorting the methi, dhaniya, palak takes so long that it becomes same as meditation 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, some times I do that, too. Letting my mind wander till it comes back feeling euphoric! It’s absolutely okay letting our mind go on its fantasy land trips. The poor thing needs a break from all the stressful thoughts, too! And, yes, sorting all the leafy veggies…perfect solution number 2! 😀

      Like

  8. Found you here Shilpa. Last week, my teacher answered this question how to concentrate on the nose and breathing to focus. It’s something that bothered my mind that keeps wandering. Mind clutter is so me and I agree, we need to devote a day doing nothing but pleasurable activities. Right now, I am dying with so much of work and this post comes at the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

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