In this guest post Dr. Chris Parrish, founder and Director of The Mindful Living Centre, offers a viable alternative to meditation.
Mindful Living refers to a unique way of paying attention to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour that involves being in the moment instead of simply “going through the motions” of life. It promotes greater self-awareness and recognition of how thoughts and behaviour affect mood, helps clarify what is really important and encourages authentic living (i.e., making thoughtful decisions based on personal core values, instead of reacting to emotional states).
Evidence from the American Psychological Association shows that mindfulness has many benefits, including: helping reduce rumination (replaying a negative thought over and over in your head), decreasing stress and anxiety, boosting your working memory, improving focus, and providing greater relationship satisfaction. While these benefits may sound great, some people just don’t like (or even hate) meditating, and that’s okay. The crux of meditation is being in the moment and not paying attention to negative thoughts – calming your mind and focusing on a particular thought, sight, sound, smell or taste, and that can be accomplished through a variety of other activities you may find more enjoyable than deep breathing and focusing on your breath or body.
Adult Colouring – this is all the rage at the moment. Grab a book from just about any book store or Dollar store and a few pencil crayons and you’re off. Colouring allows you to pick colours you like and keeps you focused on an enjoyable task, instead of allowing negative thoughts to fill your mind. Some specialty books “mandalas” use particular images that are meant to relax your mind, body and spirit while letting your creative juices flow, but any colouring book will work if you’re focused on what you’re doing. For more information, check out “Why adults are going back to colouring books” here.