One of the most effective stress-management techniques that exist today is a practice called mindfulness. Embedded in the way of life of Zen Buddhists, mindfulness has been around for many centuries to date. Yet, you don’t have to go off the grid and live in Japan or Nepal to be able to practice mindfulness. In fact, you can practice mindfulness in many ways. From doing hot power yoga or even going to a rave, what mindfulness simply means is focusing on the present and letting go all of your thoughts, worries, judgments and fears that have nothing to do with what you are experiencing in the moment.
It helps you break away from destructive thought patterns and teaches you how to systematically relax. Yet, what are the benefits of mindfulness and what does crocheting have to do it with it?
Holistic Benefits of Mindfulness
Engaging in an activity mindfully gets you to avoid all forms of distractions and focus only on the task at hand. Doing so makes it really difficult for you to feel anxious or worried, as it is clear that you are okay right now in the present moment.
Once you’re no longer preoccupied by your worries and thoughts, this helps induce the state of relaxation in your body and your brain, therefore giving you a healthy outlet to de-stress effectively. Mindfulness can therefore lead to a reduction in depression, especially if you practice it regularly.
Crocheting for Mindfulness
Crochet can be used to practice mindfulness. Even if you’re still just learning how to crochet or are fully focused in one project, you can stay in tune with the present moment and reap the full benefits of mindfulness with crocheting.
There are many ways crocheting can help with mindfulness. For one, it is a total distraction activity that helps you evade that dark mental space, which drives you deeper into rumination. Instead, you become absorbed in the task at hand that tends to be very repetitive and therefore meditative, which helps keep the mind and the hands busy. Also, crocheting engages many different senses simultaneously. As such, it grounds you to be here and now – as you can feel it, touch it and see it grow right in front of your own eyes.
Apart from helping you to become more mindful, crocheting also helps you visualize a desired result, which translates to hope in a foreseeable future and therefore acts a slow cure if you’re struggling with depression. It is also an act of creativity and self-expression. Lastly, as crochet makes use of yarn that comes in multiple colors, it also allows you to reap the benefits of color therapy too.
How to Practice Mindfulness Through Crocheting
You can easily practice mindfulness through crocheting by systematically incorporating different aspects of meditation to it.
The first step is to find a project that you can commit yourself to completely. It is best to choose one that is suitable for beginners like a large granny square or a scarf made of only very simple stitches. Even if you have an advanced crocheting skill, it helps to select a project that offers comfort in counting. You should also dedicate a space in your home where you can always comfortably and quietly work on your crocheting projects. It is best not to work around a TV or with music playing in the background, as these can also tend to be distracting and not very calming.
Once you’re all set, begin to crochet a foundation chain. Make sure to do just one slow loop at a time and be mindful to count each chain as you go. It is important not to allow yourself to think about anything except creating the chain, as this helps you get fully into the zone and really get into the practice more deeply. As you go about creating the chain, focus on the details. Notice how the yarn feels against your skin and pay careful attention to the hues of the yarn and the chain of the hook.
Remember, it is natural for your thoughts to drift to your burning work pile or your massive to-do list once in a while, but really make it a conscious effort to go back to counting the chain. If you find that you are getting distracted easily, frog the chain, take a deep breath and start all over again. Just continue repeating the process until you are able to complete a full foundation chain of ten loops without having to frog it because of unnecessary worries or concerns.
Tips When Practicing Crocheting as a Form of Meditation
If you want to practice crochet as a form of mindfulness meditation, counting is really key, so make sure to work on a project that thrives in repetition. You should also use a yarn color that feels comforting for you, so that it always invites a sense of calm into your practice. It also helps to set an intention at the beginning of your practice – be it a word or a phrase. If you find that you are losing your focus halfway through, go back to it. Once you’re done with your practice, you should remind yourself again of the intention you have set at the start, so that it will flow through the remainder of your day.
Aside from being a creative outlet, crocheting even for just half an hour a day will allow you to bring the benefits of mindfulness into your everyday life. As a result, you will not only feel more focused, you will also be less stressed. It’s a win-win, isn’t it?