There seems to be a trend afflicting our culture these days. Many of us seem to be lacking focus and we feel the physical and mental effects of living in an overstimulated society. The benefits of being mindful are proven. By living in the present, we are able to explore the deeper, more authentic parts of ourselves. For most of us, we seek balance between artificial stimulation and the creative, inner peace that comes when we quiet our surroundings. Unfortunately, there are many forces working against us, and we become imbalanced. Assuredly, whatever brings you to that place of harmony is worth the effort. Exercise, deep breathing, and daily meditation are all beneficial methods for slowing down. In addition, engagement with the arts has proven to contribute to a reduction in stress and can reduce the burden of anxiety in our lives. Creating art distracts our racing thoughts. We become more expressive in a tangible way. The colors, textures, and sounds of creating pull us into the moment. Resist responding to all the many distractions life throws at us. Create something. Not doing so is a life less lived. Be happy and make more ART!
For the Adults and Teens… “Words to Live By”
Objective: Young adults and even grown-ups can be vulnerable to harsh, judgmental environments where we don’t always feel comfortable being ourselves. For this reason, it is essential to routinely reflect on our core values. This “Words to Live By” activity can help us visualize who we are through the creation of an artistic collage.
- Magazines, newspapers, old books, assorted scrap paper
- Colored pencils, markers, and pens
- Scissors and glue
- Cardboard or other think, sturdy paper for the base of the collage
- Reflect on the things you feel strongly about. What are the qualities that define you?
- Take a mindful minute to focus on your breath. Let the words associated with your values flow into your thoughts. Think about the related images, colors, and shapes that connect with those words.
- Begin selecting words and images from magazines to compile the collage. It can be entirely image based, text based, or abstract.
- Cut, arrange, glue, enjoy.
By now, most adults are familiar with the many benefits of mindfulness. But what about teaching these practices to kids? If your children are anything like our own, the idea of sitting quietly for even 5 minutes is not really their idea of fun. The great thing about being mindful though is that it does not have to involve quiet meditation at all. In fact, when teaching children about mindfulness, we want to make it as fun as possible! It can be active, noisy, and even messy. Mindfulness-based art activities actually work best when you incorporate all of your senses and really try to make it a whole-body experience.
20 Ideas for the Kids…
- Create a rock garden with pictures and words you find inspirational
- Mix water, food coloring and glitter to make a Calm Down Bottle
- Use a paper towel roll, dried beans or rice and tin foil to make a Rain Stick
- Make a mandala using natural materials such as leaves, flower petals, and stones
- Fabric Weaving using a Do it yourself (DIY)cardboard loom
- Make an essential oil infused pendant with air dry clay
- Use popsicle sticks and yarn to make your own worry dolls
- Anything decoupage
- Make a Worry Pet using pom poms, googly eyes and other craft materials
- Dye rice different colors and use it to make a mosaic
- Paint gratitude stones and secretly place them around your neighborhood
- DIY dream-catchers using paper plates, yarn, ribbons, and beads
- Make a Zen garden with sand and stones
- Crumple a piece of paper, flatten it back out and draw lines over the creases
- Hold leaves on top of a piece of paper and draw the outline of the shadows
- Draw to music. Move your hand the same way you would dance to the song
- Use washable markers on a coffee filter and drop water to see the colors blend
- String art using wood backing, nails, and string
- Outdoor bubble art
- Pounded flower art