My Serenity List

I've been experimenting with introducing moments of relaxation into my every day. For me, that includes some amount of alone time. I recently realized that I have not been giving myself my alone time. I added it back to my work day a couple of weeks ago and I found myself to be calmer at work. 
I sometimes worry that I appear "anti-social" because I choose to eat lunch alone. I enjoy my co-workers...but, like I said, without my alone time, I may not be at my best.
I've recently found a break out room at work that is rarely in use around lunch time. I've been disappearing in there with my iPhone or book or magazine for my lunch hour. 
Today, I read portions of the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living. Actually, I looked at many of the beautiful photographs and read one (that's right, only one) article.
The article was approximately two pages and spoke to me with tidbits I didn't know had been researched and that I find exciting. Forgive me for not remembering the title of the article or the author. But, if you decide you want to seek out the article, it should be pretty obvious which one it is (once I explain).
The article was about the psychological benefits of creating crafts. As you know, I've recently taken up painting as a hobby and I find that time stands still when I'm "in the zone". When I complete my work I'm both "spent" and refreshed. It doesn't make sense that I would be both things at the same time. 
The article explained that crafting can have similar benefits to meditation. It said that the physical and creative part of crafting required full presence and the part of the brain that "problem solves" (my word) has to turn itself off during the craft project. The mind can not just "turn off" on its own. But when the brain is engaged in something that takes full concentration, the mind can take a rest from the constant thinking and problem solving that it gravitates to. 
The article quoted a psychology researcher and explained how different locations of the brain are engaged in different activities and how making sure that the brain gets some "down time" helps a person gain the feelings of relaxation when crafting. There are some releases of feel good hormones as well. One is released because of the physical repetitiveness of an activity. One is released with the pleasure of something beautiful and yet another is released if the project is being created as a gift. One factoid I remember is that some crafts (it specifically referred to knitting) can have the same relaxing result as petting a dog or a cat. --We've all heard the studies of how petting a dog or cat reduces blood pressure, and promotes heart health.
One thing I should point out is the MSL article emphasized that the act of creating was what produced the positive health and emotional benefits. The final result of the project was not material to the health results. The emphasis is on the "doing" of the thing.
  
Tonight I tried to find the article so I could give you the link (which I could not find for you). But I did find a few other articles that seemed to bear out the Martha Stewart Living article. One article I found was a guest post on Too Depressed.Com. The post is  "Reducing Depression with Hands On Activities". by Kathryn Vercillo.  Kathryn also blogs at: Crochet Concupiscence
This information helps me realize that I need to prioritize crafting and art as an important part of my life.
For today, I think I should focus on increasing the several things for a happy (and healthy) life.

I will call this my SERENITY LIST

1. Exercise {Endorphins, Increased Stamina, Help with Asthma}
2. Quiet {Alone}Time (but not too much).
3. A Mindfulness Practice.
4. Crafting.

Who's with me?

Enjoy your weekend.

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16 comments:

  1. Your serenity list makes perfect sense!

    In my book I share several ways people can use crochet to achieve mindfulness and I've found that the integration of creativity with mindfulness is really appealing to people.

    Thanks for sharing the link to my article.

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm looking forward to reading more from you. :)

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  2. I also have the same need for alone time and the same fear that others will perceive me as anti-social. However, alone time is SO important for us all - it's a time for reflection and a way to push away the stresses of the day and focus on getting back to a good state of mind.

    Stopping by from the Friday blog hop!

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    1. So glad you dropped by! I don't know how others do it with limited alone time during the day. I have to have my time. Simply have to!

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  3. I definitely require alone time. It's a bit more difficult now that my hubby & I are both retired, but we make it work. The hubby and I each have our own special rooms in our home -- I have a craft/sewing room & he has his man cave, plus a a woodworking shop. We each get some alone time each day.

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    1. I get what you mean about carving out alone time when you share space 24/7. A craft room is a great way to lose yourself. My hubby and I find ways to grab alone time on the weekends too.

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  4. Loved this post. Can totally relate. I need to get back to an art class. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. I'm so glad you came by. I'm loving this new hobby. This is something that my daughter & I often do together...which also makes it fun. :)

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  5. I don't paint, but I do bake! We have 19 month old quadruplets and it can get stressful over here! My baking time is my relaxing time. I love that craftiness is part of your day too!

    Rebecca
    www.abeautifulruckus.com

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped in to say "hi". With four 19 month olds I can only imagine how much you need your "special time". I can see how baking would really be soothing too. Plus, you get the additional joy of smell and taste. :)

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  6. Amazing blog. I love widget the cat!

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    1. So glad you like my blog. :) I love widget the cat too. I love cats...but hubby is allergic...so I have to settle for a virtual cat. :)

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  7. I am definitely with you! Doing my crafty stuff definitely relaxes me, I need to do it more often!

    Jane
    http://thehealthybeehive.com

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    1. I find I don't "do" things enough. I do enjoy alone time...but I don't think reading and writing (which is what I do a lot of) really takes me to that super relaxed state that painting or scrapbooking does.

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  8. Replies
    1. I know what you mean. I think there's something about using a different side of the brain that enhances things. :)

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