People spend 46.9% of their time thinking about the past or the future, which means focusing on something other than the present. It is common for people to make plans for possible future disasters or to replay over and over in their heads things that went wrong from the past. The problem is that this can be incredibly draining and exhausting and prevents us from being present in the now.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, grounds us in the present moment by noticing, accepting, and tolerating your emotions and situations that you find yourself in. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way and observing without criticism. Mindfulness helps us to catch the negative cycle of planning and worrying before it tips us into a downward spiral. Mindfulness helps us learn to control our minds rather than our minds controlling us.
When you are mindful, you are fully aware of your senses and experiences. The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique is a strategy to practice mindfulness while focusing on your senses.
*Look for 5 things that you can see
*Become aware of 4 things that you can feel (your hair on your neck, your socks on your feet, etc)
*Listen to 3 things that you can hear
*Acknowledge 2 things that you can smell
*Notice 1 thing that you can taste
Similar to focusing on your senses to practice mindfulness, creating art is also a way to be mindful by focusing on your artwork- aware of colors, lines, images, and designs. Creating art allows you to observe, describe, participate, and not judge your artwork so that it becomes the center of your consciousness.
You can combine the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique and art by creating the different things you identified with your senses. You can draw what you see, what you feel, what you hear, what you smell, and what you taste to further the experience.
Mindfulness also helps us with experiencing peace and serenity. To explore your own peace and serenity, create a drawing to represent peace and serenity. Focus on colors, lines, shapes, and images that represent peace and serenity for you. Think about what peace and serenity would look and feel like? (Utilizing our senses again!) What would you see, feel, hear, smell, and taste? Stay fully aware of what you are creating in the moment. Allow yourself to experience the peace and serenity you are representing.
When finished, ask yourself the following questions to gain even more insight?
What do you see in your drawing?
How do you feel when you look at your drawing?
What does your drawing mean to you?
When was the last time you experienced this type of peace and serenity?
How can you attain the peace and serenity depicted in your drawing?
Through learning to focus your attention on the present moment, both mental and physical health will improve as you start to let go of anxieties and learn to better manage your emotions as they arise in a non-judgmental way. Furthermore, mindfulness can lead to long-term changes in mood, levels of happiness, and overall well-being.