You might be wondering how to use mindfulness to help creativity? Mindfulness is an age-old eastern technique. More recently western thinking has employed techniques such as Mindfulness and Meditation to help people reduce their work related stress, work better, and enhance their overall well-being. But I became interested in mindfulness in it’s connection with creativity. If you’re not familiar with Mindfulness – it is simply the state of being in the moment. Or put another way, keeping your thoughts in the present, not thinking about the future or the past. It can be done when you’re brushing your teeth or having a shower. It teaches you to be present and aware of all your senses when you are doing that activity. A typical scenario would be when you think about where you’re going next or who you have to call while your doing another activity.
Although there’s no doubt we need to think ahead and plan things, our minds are easily distracted and constantly narrate things to us that often aren’t very important. The Buddhists call it the monkey mind that is always chattering. The benefit of Mindfulness is to keep those type of thoughts away even for a minute, so that you can experience life in a state of complete awareness and consciousness, which helps you think clearer.
Why mindfulness works so well with creativity is because it helps you to be in the moment. And doing something creative is very much about being in the moment. Have you ever watched children draw or paint? Without trying they play and create in a state of mindfulness. When they draw a line or color in they are experiencing that action and not thinking about what they need to cook for dinner or the next day’s work. But when we grow into adults our ability to stay in the moment is greatly reduced or disappears altogether. The great thing is you can reignite this state of being with practice. You can use this technique to keep you in the moment while practicing a creative activity like drawing or painting, but you can apply it to any creative task. The other benefit is it will make you feel more alert and aware of your presence when you are going about your daily routine.
Mindfulness exercise to try out at home
Practice mindfulness next time you get up in the morning. While you are showering, try to be conscious of all the senses of showering. Feel the soap on your skin, the warmth of the water, the sound of the water running and as it hits the walls. See what the soap does on your body or how it flows over your arms and legs and into the drain. Experience the fragrance of the water and soap too. All the while try to be present and not let your thoughts wander off to future or past events. You might find you can only do it for about 10 seconds before your thoughts run off onto other things. That’s ok; keep trying every morning and see if you can be mindful for longer periods. Try it when you are dressing or making breakfast or brushing your teeth too.