Over the last few years, mindfulness has become a much sought-after practice and concept. Colouring books, apps, activity books, and thoughtful exercises have all become increasingly popular in our effort to escape our busy lives. With work commitments, social engagements, family responsibilities, general housekeeping tasks – not to mention finding time for yourself – it’s no wonder that more and more people are seeking out ways to calm their minds and think more about the present moment.
Mindfulness has become the modern-day ‘meditation’. For a lot of people, it is not realistic to meditate in the traditional sense and simply take the time to empty your mind of all thoughts; there is often far too much going on in life to regularly find time to meditate, let alone completely clear your mind of any intruding thoughts. Mindfulness offers a useful alternative that almost anyone can put into practice in their day to day lives.
Mindfulness asks that instead of clearing your mind in an attempt to relax, you focus your awareness on the current moment, whatever that may be, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings and sensations with a non-judgemental awareness.
Practicing mindfulness can help you feel less stressed, leave you better equipped to deal with anxiety and depression and even help you sleep better.
Knitting and Crochet
Knitting and crochet lend themselves perfectly to the practice of mindfulness. Indeed, any craft that works with yarn seems to almost have been made for that purpose.
Working on a project – any project – you work to a rhythm that unique to yourself. Your hands move over the same stitches and techniques, again and again, working steadily on, progressing through each section of your work until it is completed.
As knitters and crocheters, it’s likely that you are falling into a state of mindfulness while you work without actively realising it, which is all the more reason to try it if you haven’t picked up your needles or hook in a while. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed lately, what have you got to lose?
Put it in into Practice
Here are a few things to help you on your way to being more mindful while you are knitting or crocheting:
- As your hands fall into the rhythm of your work, first focus on your breath and the calmness of the moment of sitting down to work.
- Notice the steady, strong beat of your heart working in time with your hands. Allow yourself to plainly think over everything that has happened that day, how it made you feel at the time, and how you are feeling now, but without analysing why you feel the way you do – just allow it.
- Take the time to enjoy the sensation of thoughts that are completely free from the usual constraints of your daily routines.
- As you are experiencing these non-judgemental thoughts, work over each one as your hands are working along a new row or chain. Paying equal care and attention to each stitch as you are paying attention to each of your feelings.
- As you continue, begin to notice your skill and the beautiful work you are able to produce with your very own hands. Each time you sit down to start a project, you are full of potential.
- Do not rush back to the ‘real world’. Allow yourself to disengage your thoughts slowly and feel no guilt for savouring this rare relaxing moment.
The next time you sit down with your work, try keeping the points above in mind.
How do you feel about mindfulness? Do you feel it has helped you in any way?
Are you at your most mindful when knitting and crocheting?