For something that involves sitting still and thinking about nothing, meditation sure is hard. Yet, so many stressed-out people (hi there) recommend it that it seems crazy not to try (and try and try). Well now, I've discovered my own version of a meditative-ish activity that comes with its own reward (besides, you know, enlightenment). A meditation lite, if you will. And it has to do with home improvement! Here's what helps me relax just as much as a mantra.
The key: I have to be doing something repetitive with my hands.
Painting a wall is perfect; sanding something is great; stirring risotto is amazing (and then you get to eat risotto!); knitting works like a charm.
What really helps me really relax more than doing nothing, is doing a mindless activity that requires just enough brainpower to keep me in the moment but not so much that I have to carefully concentrate.
Now, this is probably not news to most of you handy-around-the-house types who know the relaxing power of crafty activity, so let's consider this a public service announcement for the rest of us.
After all, what is a mantra — a phrase or noise you repeat over and over while meditating— if not a soothing tool to keep your brain focused on the now? Who says that you can't be mesmerized instead by tasks rather than phrases? Relaxation and a task accomplished? Win-win.
So have you experienced this special kind of meditative trance task? Let's hear about it.