What is Mindfulness?
By Hannah Lavender
Creativity and Mindfulness
Over the past year, many of us have had to find new ways to cope with stress. Here at Radiate Arts, we know how much hard times like this can affect all of us. We have long been committed to helping communities improve their lives through art, and mindfulness is an important part of that.
First, what is Mindfulness?
Essentially, it’s a type of meditation. Which I know can seem daunting, but it’s a lot simpler than you think.
It’s a practice of being aware, and present in the moment. That means while practicing mindfulness you’re deliberately focusing on whatever emotions you’re having, and observing them without judgement of interpretation.
In practice, you focus on being acutely aware of your senses and thoughts. But only to observe these thoughts from afar, rather than scrutinize them. Mindfulness creates a space of acceptance, which will help to relieve your mind of stress caused by negative thoughts.
But how do I actually do it?
While you can practice mindfulness using breathing exercises or guided imagery, you can also approach it in a much more casual way. It can be practiced during everyday activities, and it has the same benefits. such as cooking or walking. Many believe that pairing mindfulness with creative activities is also particularly beneficial.
Creative activities largely require working with your hands. While you’re painting or sculpting for example, the mind is also being trained to clear away stressful thoughts, and define the ones that matter in the moment.
The benefits of Mindfulness and Creativity
It’s important to remember this isn't some abstract idea. Mindfulness paired with creativity has real benefits that will improve your daily life and mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness can help us to develop a greater resilience to the stress's life throws at us. By helping us to be more aware of our thoughts, it can help us to lead calmer lives and approach problems better.
This is also true with creativity. Whether you like to paint, make sculptures or even write, there isn't a manual to creating, so many of these activities come with new obstacles and difficulties. When we do these things regularly, we are better at overcoming challenges in our work and our lives.
Here are a few benefits of Creative Mindfulness:
· Reduced stress and anxiety. Creativity requires a lot of minor decisions when it comes to designing or planning, which makes it easier to make bigger decisions in life, alleviating anxiety. Being engaged in hands on activities also helps your mind to take a time out.
· Improved mood and self-esteem. Seeing that you are capable of creating something gives a huge self-esteem boost. Paired with mindful thinking, your mood will be lifted and that feeling will stay long after you’ve finished.
· More fulfilling personal relationships. Taking a time out to de-stress and clear your mind makes you more present in daily life, and more enjoyable to be around. This will make time with those important to you much more fulfilling.
Deeper insight and ways to develop compassion towards yourself and others. In art we often make mistakes, which we learn to handle and resolve. Experiencing that more often helps us to be gentler and more empathetic to faults we see in ourselves and others, as well as enabling us to handle situations we had not planned for
Okay, so where do I start?
There are many activities that promote these practices, but it's hard to know where to begin. The crucial thing to remember is to not be discouraged. The whole practice is about how you feel while you are creating, and not what you are creating. If you are enjoying what you’re doing, then it's worthwhile!
Of course, we’ve all seen those mindful colouring books for adults, and they can be a great starting point. But we understand it's not for everyone, and many might prefer something a little more focused and practical.
Radiate Arts understand that there can be many obstacles in finding creative outlets, especially with the added cost of supplies for a project, and not knowing where to begin.
That’s why we are so passionate about the work we do. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get creative! Whether you’re painting, sketching or stone carving – we provide everything…all you have to do is turn up! Every workshop promotes a mindful activity, so you are free to learn those skills and be artistic in a safe space.
We’ve found that people attending a number of our workshops and classes have made significant progress in their mental well-being as well as their artistic skills.
A particular favourite in the past has been our Stone Carving Workshops, led by our expert Glenn Morris. The Clywedog countryside, paired with such a rewarding activity, leaves many of our participants feeling assured and accomplished, not to mention deeply inspired.But if you would prefer something more delicate, we have a number of upcoming weaving and macrame workshops starting in May. Our Macrame workshop shares skills and knowledge of tools needed to start a brand new hobby. We even have an opportunity in September you to learn how to find plant materials to create natural dyes for your Macrame, so you can elevate your designs even more!
Our Weaving Workshop in June will give you the chance to create a beautiful landscape using ancient tapestry weaving techniques. You can learn how to view the landscape through an artistic lens, so you can recreate it in your tapestry.
These workshops provide the mindful environment you need after this past year, and give you the skills and knowledge you need to start an amazing hobby to continue those mindful practices.
To view all events please visit our Eventbrite page here