Do you take time out of your everyday schedule to practice mindful meditation? The act of mindful meditation involves taking a moment of each day to slow down, find a quiet place, and take in the present moment. We all have different ways that we spend this quiet time. For some it's sitting in a lotus position, for others it's coloring, and for a few of us - it's knitting!
Within the past few years, scientists have discovered that the practice of mindful meditation actually restructures the human brain in a way that causes it to function better. It reduces stress and increases positive moods, as well as intelligence! How can you adopt this healthy habit as a part of your own daily life? To answer this question, let's take a closer look at what mindful meditation is.
Mindful meditation (also called mindfulness meditation) is commonly defined as the practice of focusing only on the present moment while expelling all other thoughts from your mind at the same time. This is a time to think about the positive things in your life and to take a personal inventory of things that you are thankful for as they pertain to the moment that you are currently in.
The best way to understand how to mindfully meditate is to give it a try! You can give the following steps a shot after you have finished reading this post, or try them now and come back to reading when you have finished.
- Find a quiet place to sit and relax. Many people to have some kind of background noise, such as soft music, while they meditate.
- Take a deep breath in and then exhale slowly. While you do this, begin focusing your mind on the present moment while pushing other thoughts - like what's happening at work, what you will make for dinner later, and anything else that doesn't pertain to the here and now - out of your mind.
- Ask yourself some questions about your surroundings. Try to employ all 5 senses as you take in an assessment of the things, sounds, and smells around you. What kind of chair or surface are you sitting on? Is it soft or firm? What are the things that you can hear? You might notice a click on the heater or the laugh of a neighbor that you hadn't before. What can you see from where you're sitting? Maybe it's a park where people are running and playing with their dogs, or maybe it's your living room bookshelf. What is your favorite book on that shelf?
As you process your surroundings, remember to focus on what it is about them that makes you feel grateful. Maybe one of the books on your shelf was a gift from a friend of yours, and it reminds you of that friend. Maybe you have a candle or incense burning that smells like your favorite scent. Focus on that smell and the positive feeling it gives you.
Now that we understand a little more about what mindful meditation is and why it's important, let's talk about how it can be done effectively through one of our favorite activities: knitting!
Knitting is a creative activity that requires stillness and concentration. While you are knitting, you focus on the often repetitive task of forming stitches with your yarn while sitting in a comfortable place. As you maneuver your needles and yarn to accomplish a single purpose, this gives you something it the present moment to surrender all of your attention to.
As you focus solely on the task of knitting, it makes it easier to push thoughts about the past, thoughts about the future, and anxious thoughts out of your mind. Think about how each stitch is made and watch the yarn as you wrap it around your needles. If playing soft music or lighting pleasant-smelling candles or incense helps you relax and focus, have these things going on in the background as you work on your project.
Knitting also provides many opportunities for positive and grateful thinking! If your yarn was a gift, think about how receiving it made you feel and about how thankful you are for the person who gave it to you. If your yarn is handmade, think about how glad you are that people you have probably never met took the time to create and spin the yarn for you to use. How does the texture and color of the yarn make you feel? Always choose a yarn that you love when practicing mindful meditation. If you're looking for some colorful options, remember to check out Darn Good Yarn's selection!
Because a large part of the purpose of mindfulness meditation is to achieve deep relaxation and to put yourself in a place of positivity and joy, we recommend knitting something that you love! It can be a new hat, shawl, scarf, or anything else that you will look forward to wearing. However, because mindful meditation is all about feeling peace within the given moment, we also support knitting freely with no pattern in mind for the sole purpose of relaxation! Either way, DO NOT HURRY or rush through knitting projects when you are doing them for meditative purposes! Take your take and enjoy the process.
We encourage you to try Mindful Meditation while knitting this week! Share your feedback with us in the comments here or on our social media channels.
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We all need a moment for focus and relaxation in our everyday lives. As creatives, we often have especially active minds that can become overactive or stressed easily. Use the creative abilities you have as a method to focus your mind and practice intentional mindfulness! As you are knitting during these quiet times of meditation, remember to enjoy the journey - not the destination.
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