Origami is the wellbeing trend to try this festive season. From reducing self-judgement to boosting concentration, the mindful art of paper folding is good for you in more ways than one
Did you know origami is believed to bring good fortune? According to ancient Japanese belief, folding 1000 paper cranes can bring luck into your life. Legend has it that the crane is believed to live for a thousand years and, so, each paper crane represents one year in the majestic bird’s life. The 1000 origami cranes suspended on threads are often made by groups of people who join forces to accomplish this feat, often for a special occasion like a wedding. Once complete, the sacred crane will grant your wish.
Today, this ancient Japanese practice has spread around the world, embodying faith, hope and peace. With just one sheet of origami paper – often 6 x 6 inches - you can create a magnificent work of art. Today, origami is fast becoming a go-to wellness trend to practice, with a multitude of benefits including relaxation, meditation, enhancing concentration and even easing of anxiety. With boundless creative opportunities and endless enhancements to your wellbeing, this trend might become more of a habit than a fleeting fad.
With origami meeting at the intersection of psychology and art, here are 5 reasons you should incorporate origami into your life.
1. Enhance your mind
Origami has become popular across Japan within schools, often taught to children as more than just a craft hobby. Studies have shown that this ancient art form can help to improve attention spans, spatial awareness and enhance memory in children, with particular improvement in mathematics. This isn’t to say that origami only benefits children, it could also help adults, too. With each fold and motion, we are tasked with formulating the perfect fold whilst creatively imagining what we are developing. This means we are activating our brains to think both cognitively and meditatively.
2. Let go of judgement
Anyone who has tried their hand at this ancient Japanese art form knows that patience can yield big rewards. If origami can teach us anything, it's that patience is a virtue and that there is no place for self-judgement. As humans, we aren’t built to be machine-like; instead, we are creative and can stumble upon errors, sometimes even making beautiful mistakes that transcend into art.
Mindfulness coach Neil Seligman suggests “starting with more accessible origami models, first trying a simple crane, star or boat shape; in this way, you can learn to develop your skills of focus, patience and ease, knowing that you are improving with each fold.”
3. Boost concentration and creativity
Studies have shown that Focal-Attention-Meditation, whereby a person concentrates solely on an object (origami) or image, significantly changes the brain increasing creative skills and concentration. Similarly, Neil sees the link between meditation and origami as being “associated with the cultivation of mindful attention due to its ability to help slow down busy minds and bring simplicity into focus.”
By activating your senses through bright colours and tactile papers, the mind is eased by the following of simple, often repeated instructions. A steady hand, gentle breathing and an uncluttered mind lead to the best results. Origami is a beautiful form of a creative, moving meditation that can be done anytime and anywhere.
4. A collective experience
Origami can act as a gateway to meditation as it helps to quiet the brain and facilitates a calmer emotional state. You might think that makes it a solo activity but quite the contrary, “the magic of origami is its capacity to bring friends and family together in a collective meditative experience, which can allow for both laughter and vulnerability,” says Neil. By engaging both the hands and minds in a collective experience, origami is the perfect tool to bring people together for an afternoon of creative fun.
5. Sustainable Décor
Decorating with origami-style accessories can add a dose of chic geometry to your home, but before you shop for origami paper look around you. Chances are you have plenty of unused paper at home - in fact, an estimated 85 million tons of paper is wasted per year. With this in mind, why not repurpose that patterned wrapping paper in your cupboard or yesterday’s newspaper into your very own origami accessory, or even better, gift it to a loved one.
How-to make an origami decoration
Want to try this trend for yourself and be in the fold? Then look no further. This festive season, Rituals is encouraging you to #PressPause and take some time out to try your hand at origami. Below is a simple step-by-step guide showing you how to make a star decoration that you can hang on your tree or gift to a friend or family member.
Want to find out how to make our origami star (pictured above)? Then head to our Pinterest board filled with paper crafting ideas and more festive inspiration.