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The Mindful Life – 3 Great Ways to Rest in a Frenetic World

| written by Susan Hammond | 6 comments

According to the dictionary rest means to cease work or movement in order to relax or recover strength/energy. However, I think rest is so much more than this and although it seems contradictory, rest does not always have to involve inactivity. It can simply mean doing things in a different way.


Recently I have committed to living more mindfully. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”. It is about being fully present in the here and now, and concentrating on what is happening moment-by-moment allows our minds to refocus away from the busyness of life and feel calmer. I also feel more alive than ever before and can deal with challenging life circumstances far better.

And the great thing is anything can be done mindfully. Read on for some ideas.

1. Get Creative

I love colouring in. There has definitely been a craze for this in the last couple of years and I can see why. An activity that doesn’t need much thought beyond ‘what colour pen shall I use?’ is a great buffer for the many complex tasks we often try to complete in a day. To get a fuller experience I try to really notice the different shades as I put pen to paper, I use a variety of hand movements to create a variety of patterns, and I frequently sit back and contemplate my handiwork.

However, there are many other ways to be creative. Why not paint a picture, take some photos, write a poem or play or sing some music using a great mic for recording singing? I’m sure you can think of all sorts of creative pursuits. I’d love to hear about them.

2. Rest Actively

Sometimes simply getting away from the normal humdrum (or chaos!) of life and doing something different can be restful.

I frequently enjoy a strenuous mountain trek, feeling the wind in my hair and blowing away the cobwebs. It takes me away from other life activities and while not physically restful it certainly restores my soul and refreshes my mind. Often the next day my body also begins to relax.

You don’t have to walk up mountains to get this kind of rest however. Just find something physically active that you are able to do – it could be a slow stroll down the road or some arm stretches from your chair. As long as it’s different from other things in your life and you become totally absorbed in it you will reap the benefits.

3. Immerse Yourself in Nature

It is well known that being in nature is good for our wellbeing. Only this morning I was lying in bed listening to birdsong and it lifted my spirits. I was able to rest amid the pleasant twittering of the dawn chorus and it made me feel positive about the coming day.

Why not try walking to a peaceful place by running water? Sit down a while and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world. Allow your senses to absorb your surroundings. Stop and rest a moment. Breathe. Slow down and you’ll notice so much more.

What are you going to do this week to get some proper rest?

Susan is passionate about the natural world and can be found soaking it up whenever possible. Trained as a geologist/palaeontologist, and with a deep interest in the landscape around her, she now enjoys blogging about her adventures in the great outdoors. Find out more on her blog.


Andrea: Susan, love the landscape it looks so peaceful. Thanks for the great tips! I can attest they are effective as I consciously apply them in my own life regularly. Reply

    Susan Hammond: Thanks Andrea. Assume you mean the landscape at the top of the post - this was taken on a winter evening in Shropshire as the sun was setting. It really was peaceful and the colours were amazing. Glad you like my post. I just hope it encourages many people. Reply

JOOLS: I love it! Thanks Susan. I know I can trust your experience of the countryside and all it's natural phenomena. You know so much of it so well! xx Reply

    Susan Hammond: Hey Jools! Glad you like it. Reply

John: I have decided. I'm doing the pennine way in May! Reply

    Susan Hammond: Good stuff! Definitely the best time of year to do it for weather and scenery. You doing it this year? Reply

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