Meditation. Right now it feels like everyone’s doing it. You know it can help you calm your mind and body, boost creativity and focus, reduce anxiety and improve your body’s resilience to stress and illness. And yet, no matter how often you try, you can’t manage to sit still long enough to actually reap the benefits. Luckily for you, we’ve got good news. Meditating by sitting still and observing your thoughts is not the only way to find more balance in your daily life. Some hobbies are not just a fun way to pass time, but can also have a mindful effect.
“Every activity can become meditative as soon as you start to do it consciously with your awareness”, says Mandy Snijder, a licensed yoga teacher. Turning your full focus on an activity helps you achieve a state of flow, which means you don’t have time to think about anything other than what you’re doing in that moment. This way, you are able relax and fully be present in the here and now. Just like when you are meditating. Research even shows that a regular pastime can provide you with better physical health, more sleep, lower stress levels and most importantly: more happiness in your life.
Curious to find your new hobby? Below are 7 hobbies to try if you are in need of a more balanced body, mind and soul.
The feeling of warm clay in your hands, the earthy scent and the rhythmic turning of the wheel. During pottery, all your worries disappear, simply because your brain is not able to focus on anything other than what is right in front of you. The feeling of creating something you’re proud of also cultivates happiness.
With swimming, it is all about awareness. Try to focus on the here and now, once you’re in the water. Feel the water on your skin, the sun on your face or how your body glides through the water. What do you smell? And what do you feel? Before you know it, time has passed by. And that is exactly the point - totally living in the moment, feeling weightless, free and focusing on the here and now.
Colouring is a perfect way to reduce anxiety and calm a busy or restless mind. And a bonus: you can do this almost anywhere. At home, on the bus, all you need is a colouring sheet and some pencils. Mindful colouring asks us to focus on how we choose to apply colour to the design on the paper. This brings your awareness to the present moment, which is similar to meditation, where you let go of any thoughts about tomorrow or yesterday.
The rhythmic and repetitive nature of knitting has a calming and comforting effect on both body and mind. Research shows that knitting, sewing, weaving and crocheting have quite a lot in common with mindfulness and meditation. The study showed that frequent knitters were calmer, happier, less sad, less anxious and more confident. And you might get a nice scarf out of it!
Great if you love being outdoors and if you’re not afraid to get dirt under your nails. And the good thing is: anyone can do it. Already feeling the pressure at the thought of maintaining a large garden? Start off with three herbs in your kitchen window. It’s a great way to focus on caring for yourself while also caring for something else, and it’s exciting to watch a plant grow and get a bit taller day by day.
The ideal form of meditation if you don’t like sitting still: a walking meditation. Through walking, your body and mind sync up while you are out and about. Walking can be meditative in itself especially if you focus on what’s around you – the trees, clouds, passersby - but if you add mindfulness to it, a simple stroll becomes a truly powerful exercise for the body, mind and soul. Try this walking meditation and really enjoy every breath as you put one foot in front of the other.
And, last but not least: puzzling. Studies have shown that puzzling requires concentration and improves short-term memory and problem solving. Therefore, it is also a great way to relax and reset your brain from a busy day. Nowadays you even have peaceful audio to go along while doing your puzzle, to take your relaxation to a whole new level. Why not try listening to our meditation playlist on Spotify while you puzzle?