Art is an Amazing Way to Teach Your Brain About Mindfulness
Kill stress and gain perspective by way of creative expression.
Mindfulness is in vogue. Amidst an ever-changing and daunting modern world that keeps demanding our full attention, the impetus toward slowing down and, as Peter Baumann puts it, learning to pay attention to your own attention, has emerged as an extremely popular way of unwinding.
For those who may balk at the idea of meditating and connecting to your body via your breath, a new book may have a solution.
“In traditional mindfulness practice this is usually done by focusing on the breath or sensations in the body. In 'creative mindfulness' it’s done by engaging in a specific creative activity such as drawing or creative writing. I teach all creative activities in an embodied way: getting people to focus on how it feels to hold a pen, to draw or write, and encouraging them to keep checking in with their breath.”
This is in line with the increasingly ubiquitous trend of adult coloring books, which aim to tackle the same problem: how to use creativity to unplug. Indeed, in an article aptly titled “The Zen of Adult Coloring Books,” The Atlantic's Julie Beck points us to the way these coloring books are a great way to help subdue her mind, especially when paired with something as seemingly passive as binge-watching:
“If the front of my mind is occupied by the show, and the back is focused on picking colors and staying in the lines, there’s not room for much else. It’s a sort of mindfulness that’s more like mind-fullness.”
As more studies and research keep pointing out how stress may be affecting everything from our empathy to our monogamy, Greenhalgh’s philosophy may very well be offering us a helpful way of being mindful while recovering that childlike enjoyment that came from cracking open a boxful of crayons and drawing to one’s mind’s content.
Below, psychologist Paul Bloom challenges the assertion that children are better than adults at things like play and imagination:
Photo credit: anandaBGD / iStock
Manuel is an NYC-based writer interested in all things media and pop culture. He's a regular contributor to The Film Experience and Remezcla. His work has been featured in Mic News, Film Comment, and Model View Culture. He also has a PhD but hates bragging about it. www.mbetancourt.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.