Meditative Activities that Can Help You De-Stress

By on April 2, 2016

Do you also have trouble with idea of sitting perfectly still for 30, 20, or even 10 minutes? The good news is that you can still reap many of the benefits of meditation by participating in a hobby that you love.

Nikki Bee Williams image knitOne of the most powerful meditative hobbies is needlework. In 2014, the Craft Yarn Council outlined several studies that show how yarn crafting has a positive influence on stress, mood, and even cognitive function. A 2009 study by the University of British Columbia found that women suffering from anorexia nervosa who were taught to knit experienced less fear and spent less time worrying about their disorder. Perhaps it is the repetitive motion of yarn and needle that lulls the mind into a relaxed state, or perhaps it is the joy of creating something beautiful from an ephemeral strand of yarn. Either way, it works.

I once crocheted a lap blanket for a friend who was going through a particularly stressful time. I worked on the blanket at the same time each day for about 30 minutes and it became my meditation time. With each stitch I made, I said a little prayer so that when the blanket was finished not only had I spent hours in prayerful meditation, but I had a beautiful gift for a friend in need.

Not a fan of knitting? Try another hobby, as long as you love it. Find something you enjoy so much that time seems de stressto fly by when you’re doing it. That’s immersion. That’s the first step in meditation, the drawing inward of concentration. Walking, running, and bicycling can be meditative as you enjoy the wind in your hair, the feel of the sun on your face, and the sounds of nature that surround you. Just leave the earbuds at home so you can pay attention to your body and your surroundings. Digging in your garden, learning to paint, or repairing a car are all examples of fulfilling activities that help your body relax and de-stress. And science backs it up. The Society of Behavioral Medicine published a study in 2015 that showed strong correlation between leisure activities and lowered stress.

Nikki Bee Williams image woman readingEven reading can be a meditative experience. Choose a book filled with vivid description or exciting passages. As you read a paragraph, imagine it as clearly as possible using all of your senses. Read slowly, and immerse yourself in the images the words conjure up. You don’t have to set aside hours for this, either. Researchers at the University of Sussex conducted a study that found a 68 percent reduction in stress levels after just six minutes of reading. You can manage that during a coffee break at work, while waiting in line at the grocery store, or while sitting in the doctor’s office.

Here are some other hobbies that are great for centering your mind:

  • Music
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Crafting
  • Dancing
  • Writing
  • Martial Arts

When you practice your hobby, you are clearing your mind of unnecessary stress and inducing a flow state. Being “in the flow” means being immersed in your task and completely caught up in the wonder of it. In those moments of mindfulness, stress dissipates and your body and mind are able to relax and recover from the worries of daily living. The joy of this type of meditation is you don’t need to struggle to achieve it. You’ll be able to return to your day with a lighter step and a happier outlook with the added benefit of having just become better at what you love. And who knows where that will lead! 

 

Nikki Bee Williams is a freelance writer based in Houston, TX. She writes for a variety of clients including The Huffington Post and Loyola University’s Department of Journalism. Her book, One Size Does NOT Fit All: Stress Management is an Amazon #1 Bestseller. Follow her on [email protected] or contact her through her websites, nikkibeewilliams.com or gottabeewriting.com.

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Meditative Activities that Can Help You De-Stress