Five Meditative Hobbies To Improve Mental Health

As I’ve personally delved into building a daily meditation habit recently, I’ve been thinking of all the other ways I’ve tried or have found myself meditating. Or more like, in a meditative state. I’ve noticed that I’ve felt this feeling doing other things throughout my life and know people who have experienced that same feeling doing other activities. If you find yourself having a hard time meditation while sitting still and quieting your thoughts, you might find trying these activities will help activate that sensation for you. You don’t have to sit in silence in order to experience the beneficial effects of meditation. Here is a quick list of meditative activities and hobbies.

1.Playing or Listening to Music
I played various instruments growing up, piano, guitar, flute, xylophone. It wasn’t until I got older and tried meditating that I noticed the same feeling was happening while I was playing music. Now this feeling usually didn’t occur when I was actively learning or practicing a song, but once I had learned it, there was a sense of peace that would happen when playing a song. My brain would go silent and I would just hear the music in my head and feel my fingers moving effortlessly. I’ve found this feeling while listening to music, but often times than not, just listening to music and not participating in it, doesn’t always produce the same effect. Though for many people, this is a form of meditation for them and they don’t even know it. Try picking up an instrument, or relearning one that you used to know. Listen to some of your favorite music or loose yourself in something new. Not only is it a good outlet for a hobby but over time you’ll find it soothing and relaxing to sit and play.

2.Painting or Drawing
While I have never experienced this feeling while drawing, many people do. My significant other included. He’s mentioned that when he was sketching regularly, how it was a relaxing hobby, to sit outside and sketch a dirt road or an old farmhouse. For many people this is a hobby where they find their mind shuts off and they can just create. This is another great outlet for creativity by drawing, painting, sketching, doodling, or whatever it is might be. All you need is a writing utensil and some paper. If you’re like me and you get frustrated easily while drawing, take it as another meditative opportunity to process those feelings, recognize them and let them pass. Nothing has to be perfect, just relaxing and calming.

3.Knitting, Crocheting, Embroidery, Etc.
I personally love to knit and crochet, though I usually do it while watching TV or videos. It calms a part of my brain that would otherwise become distracted from what I was watching/listening to. For some, it can be very meditative to be able to sit and have the rhythmic movement of their hands take them to a meditative state. Same with embroidery. While I have never embroidered myself and am currently waiting on a beginner kit, I absolutely love watching embroidery videos. There is something mesmerizing and relaxing about it. Finding a simple project to start you off is a great place to begin. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do really well. Just put your creativity forth and create as you see fit.

4.Baking and Cooking
I see with individuals like my significant other and my grandmother, who both enjoy cooking and baking, that it is almost meditative Especially when it’s a recipe they’ve done a hundred times. I’ve experienced a meditative state while cooking as well, where I forget that I’m cooking and find that I am fully engulfed in what I’m doing. With cooking, you’ll become focused on watching the food you’re cooking for changes, or how the bread feels under your hands, that you may enter this calm state. Many people love to cook and bake, and it’s no wonder if this is part of the activity. It can be incorporated with mindfulness meditation, where you feel the texture of the food, take time to smell the spices as they cook, and create a dish that is beautiful to look at. Leave the pressure of creating something masterful and create something you will truly enjoy.

When I thought of this one, I thought of yoga and kundalini yoga. When I was in high school, I got my hands on some kundalini yoga DVDs. They soon became my favorite thing with the upbeat music, bright colors and rhythmic breathing exercises. But really, this movement can be anything, running, dancing, gardening, walking. There are so many activities that you can use to help you reach a meditative state. I believe this is why so many people love yoga, because it not only feels great physically but mentally as well. Kundalini yoga involves repetitive movement, focused breathing and chanting that induce a meditative state while building stamina and endurance. Try them all out if you can, find one that works best for you. You’ll not only work your cardiovascular system but also your mind, both in positive ways.

I hope this list sparked a bit of creativity for you. What sort of meditative activities do you like to do? Maybe you hadn’t thought of meditation in that way before. Sometimes meditation either doesn’t suit us or won’t suit us until we can experience the same state through other activities. I hope you enjoyed this list and go forth and try out some of these hobbies and activities.

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