Mindfulness is everywhere these days. In this modern era of busy lives, stressful jobs and advances in technology, it’s no wonder that it has become fashionable to practise the art of being calm and peaceful.
The student lifestyle is one made up of a string of deadlines, which bring with them the stress of meeting them, and getting a good grade. Each year of uni becomes more demanding than the last, so, whatever stage you’re at, you can benefit from incorporating the practice of mindfulness into your every life.
I know I’m not the only one who has gone into an essay feeling lost, bewildered and either overwhelmed with or starved of, information. Stress levels rise, and panic starts to set in. What’s the solution? There might not be one, but let’s explore the world of mindfulness and go from there.
Here are my top picks for anyone who needs to de-stress and be a bit more mindful:
The Little Book of Mindfulness – Dr Patrizia Collard
This was a gift for my 20th birthday, and my friend wrote a message to accompany it: “Hope this helps on some of those…not so easy days!!!”
We all have bad days, and this book contains exercises that take 5-10 minutes to do. In the grand scheme of things, 10 minutes is an affordable amount of time.
It is designed to be an easy read, featuring simple illustrations, as well as inspiring quotes. This little book can become anyone’s mindfulness companion, and has something for everyone, busy or otherwise!
A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, Sane New World – Ruby Wax
If you are a mindfulness sceptic, you will benefit from reading either of these by Ruby Wax. She is best known for her comedy, so from the get-go, these books promise to be filled with laughs.
The core message is this: The 21st century brings with it mentally straining demands that our brains aren’t equipped for. We might not be writing the next Hamlet but biologically, our brains are the same as they were when Shakespeare was knocking about, and he didn’t have to cope with the stress of emails, Facebook, job interviews, and being able to afford the latest iPhone.
Sadly, we do, and Ruby helps to explain how we can train our minds to help deal with the stress of the modern age.
I am Here Now – The Mindfulness Project
This is perfect for creative types who thrive on…creating! The book is both a guide and a journal. One of the first things it encourages you to do is to draw a self-portrait…with your eyes closed. My portrait was awful, but the point of the exercise is to help you to accept things that aren’t perfect and move on. I love my awful drawing, it is what it is.
These exercises keep on coming, and they are there to keep your head firmly in the present, and to acknowledge the simple pleasures in life, as well as to induce calmness throughout your body. They can be completed at your leisure, and you can tick them off as you go.
My personal favourite is the ‘Coffee Contest’ exercise. It encourages you to visit local coffee shops, buy a cup of coffee, concentrate on the taste, and then rate it. Once you’ve finished, there’s a cut out trophy, so you can give thanks to your favourite barista. Smiles all round!
Adult Colouring Books:
These are the home of mindfulness’ growing popularity. For a long time (too long) colouring has been an activity reserved for children. But these books kill two birds with one stone: colouring allows us to become naturally mindful (you don’t want to colour outside the lines!) and gives us an excuse to reminisce being young again, a time when the choice of what colour crayon to use next was our only important decision.
The Mindfulness Colouring Book – Emma Farrarons
The designs are simple and the book is small enough to be carried with you wherever you go. If you’ve never tried art therapy before, this is a good place to start. The variety of patterns will get your creative mind whirring, and your life will be that little bit more colourful in an instant.
Flow – ‘A magazine that takes its time’
Another one for the creative types. The latest issue (no. 12) focuses heavily on mindfulness and minimising distractions, such as social media, from our everyday lives. Packed with inspiring quotes and articles that are printed on different types of paper, this issue also includes a 2016 calendar which features more quotes, techniques, and tips for living a calm and mindful life.
This is a meditation-focused app that is an electronic way of getting into the routine of 10-minute exercises. When you first get the app, you are greeted with a lovely spoken message from the creator, Andy. The app works by having the exercises as levels that you move up each time you complete one, and once you’ve completed them all (there are 10) you can unlock other features within the app.
This is great on the go, specifically if you are on the bus to uni and need a calming influence to prepare you for the day ahead.
People who love Instagram will love this (make sure to give @colortherapyapp a follow!) and it is another one for the bus to uni or breaks in between study. This app allows you to become an art therapy master with just your fingertips and imagination.
It has a wide variety of designs (and more are frequently added) with many different colours, shades and effects. You are guaranteed to find something to bring out your creative side.
When you’re done colouring, share it on Instagram, and you might just get featured on the app’s official account!
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