Mindfulness is one of those buzzwords that you hear about as being something that’s good for you but you aren’t really clear on what it is. Is it just staying calm and happy in difficult circumstances? Meditating? Well if you’re looking to start exploring mindfulness, there are a lot of places to start.
Mindfulness is about being fully present and experiencing the moment you are in. This can be tied to the practice of mindfulness meditation, but there are simple activities you can do to help you achieve the same thing without needing a full-on meditation session.
How mindful are you?
If you want to know how mindful you are already, you can take the the Mindful Attention Awareness Score (MAAS)., opens a new window If you are thinking of tracking your progress on becoming more mindful, this is a way to take a before and after snapshot of your progress.
Learning through music
One simple activity can be to observe a piece of music. Pick a piece of music and listen quietly and observe nonjudgmentally, while fully letting the experience surround you. What are the thoughts, emotions, physiological changes you notice? Does the music make you want to tap your feet and dance? Remind you of a difficult time? If you want to engage with new music you can check out local musicians on Capital City Records (like the Tsunami Brothers) or maybe some world music from Naxos.
Learning through art
Another way to practice mindfulness is through art. Creative lettering with pens, markers or paints is a great example of this. Lettering starts with something many of us are very familiar with: the alphabet. Focus on the colors, textures and shapes as you create your artwork. Want to get started on your own mindfulness lettering practice? Check out this video introduction and lesson on The Art of Watercolor Lettering from Edmonton author and artist Kelly Klapstein.
The purpose is to be in the moment and experience something in the present, not worrying about the past or future but being engaged with what is happening right now.
If you want to go to the next step there are some great videos and apps that you can explore:
- Headspace has a great explainer on Mindfulness and some resources for mediations to get you started.
- Prana Breath a free app on calming breathing
- The Calm Blog has a 20 minute Calm mindfulness meditation video
- There’s also the Healthy Minds app. Healthy Minds uses scientific research to focus on four pillars to help you increase your Mindfulness, Awareness, Connection, Insight & Purpose.
And, of course, there are many books at EPL that will help with these skills both for adults and kids. If you're interested in more art and creative tutorials for you mindfulness practice, check out CreativeBug.