Yoga, meditation and focused breathing techniques are all wonderfully effective ways to remain emotionally centred and practise mindfulness. You should be spending a few minutes per day on at least one method, consciously working on your mental balance.
However, there are also several hobbies and pastimes that naturally lend themselves to contemplative modes of action and boost your mental health too. If any of the following are to your taste, you might find that spending some time on them each day does as much for your mental clarity as more formal praxis does.
Whether you keep a journal, try your hand at poetry or song lyrics, or have a go at short stories or longer fiction, writing is an excellent way to interrogate your own feelings and identify emotional sticking points. Studies have shown that people who suffer trauma and write about the experience end up psychologically and physically healthier than those who don’t.
You don’t have to be focused on publication, either: even writing just for yourself, you can help map your mental world more clearly. Freewriting, a method of simply writing your thoughts for a set time without checking grammar, spelling or even content, is amazingly revealing.
This childhood pastime, revisited as an adult, is remarkably soothing. You hand-eye coordination will be much better now; your colour palette more versatile. So, you don’t really have to focus on the colouring; that merely gives you hand and your eyes something to do while your mind works outs some knots and kinks. Plus, you could end up with some pretty modern art. Which leads us to…
Lego, jigsaw puzzles, Meccano: anything that you can build, but, as with the colouring, without having to focus too rigidly on the job at hand. Apart from being a way for parents to connect with their children, building models like Lego is another way to keep the hands and eyes busy, while the mind puzzles out dilemmas or recovers from stress.
Nurturing other living things and watching them grow to maturity is healthy for mental well-being. Gardening also provides a reliable reward for effort expended, while at the same time not requiring any overthinking. Getting lost in the physical labour of gardening is a great way to put puzzles or mental anxiety on the back burner; your subconscious will often come up with solutions while your body and brain are intent on the gardening.
Knitting Or Crocheting
Like colouring and playing Aussie pokies games online, knitting and crocheting rely on repetitive actions that someone with experience can perform quite satisfactorily through muscle memory alone, without really concentrating on the task. This leaves the mind free to meditate and become calm.
Especially if you accompany it with soothing music, flower arranging is an excellent way to destress the mind. The primary focus is on placing and juxtaposing the different elements: flowers, stems, foliage and woodwork, so that they form a pleasing aesthetic picture. There is also the hands-on contact with the materials, feeling the different textures. All these elements allow the mind to relax and wax introspective, while the hands get on with the task.