By: Caitlyn McKey
Hello fellow fast-paced life goer! How’s that super speedy life going for you right now? Experiencing a bit of burnout? Feeling a little stressed? How about that brain fog? Do you actually know where your keys are? Don’t worry my friend, you’re not alone. These are all side effects of the fast-paced modern life we’re all experiencing these days. As a professional using daily mindfulness-based art practices, I’m here to share with you a few small mindfulness practices that you can easily incorporate into your day-to-day and the benefits that slowing down more regularly can have in your life.
So, what exactly is mindfulness? Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor and mindfulness expert, defines it as “the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, through the service of self-understanding, and wisdom” (Mindful, 2015). Have you ever been reading a book, and in the middle of a sentence remember you need to go grocery shopping? Or maybe you need to take care of the laundry? But then you take mental note of that thought and then go right back to reading. The action of being distracted and then pulling your attention back to the original intentional action, in this case reading, is in its purest form mindfulness. Mindfulness is different from meditation in that it is more of an umbrella term under which meditation fits. What’s great about mindfulness is that you can get the same benefits from a daily meditation practice, but in a shorter amount of time.
Some simple mindfulness practices include:
- breathing practices where you do a repeated cycle of breaths, focusing intentionally on the breath itself
- mindful eating where you pay full attention with all five senses to the food you’re consuming
- mindful walks where similarly to mindful eating you’re again using all five senses while going for a walk for anywhere from 1 minute to an hour in length
Difficult feelings, emotions, and pain are all factors of a human life, however daily mindfulness practices show that these do not have to rule the ways in which we exist (Bayes et. Al., 2014). Studies have shown that a daily mindfulness practice can, lower stress, increase our overall sense of calm, increase social emotional skills by deepening our uses of empathy and compassion, aid in managing difficult feelings, reduce brain fog and brain chatter, and increase our overall physical health (Reschtschaffen, 2014).
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of mindfulness, different mindfulness practices to incorporate into your day, or even more specifically mindfulness-based art practices be sure to check out my website deflatewithcait.com, or you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @deflatewithcait, where I showcase my program weaving together mindfulness and arts-based practices to highlight the inherent mindful properties of art making.
Bayes-Fleming, N., PhD, B., Boyce, B., Goh, C., Newman, K., Staff, M., & Graham, L. (2018, September 14). Getting started with mindfulness. Retrieved February 03, 2021, from https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
Mindful. (2015, May 28). Jon Kabat-Zinn me me me. [Video]. YouTube.
Reschtschaffen, D. (2014). The way of mindful education. New York, NY: W. W. Norton