A common experience shared by all humans, and what sets us apart from the rest of the creatures roaming the planet, is the ability to self-reflect and reason. This unique ability is why our minds never seem to shut down and our thoughts often uncontrollably race through our minds. Most of us live with a constant level of stress which often becomes normalized. However, this comes at the cost of increased cortisol levels, which in turn can be very draining on both our physical and mental health.

Finding mental stillness is important to help us clear our minds and get into the flow — the state in which we perform activities while being fully immersed in the task at hand, with full involvement and complete enjoyment in the process. Many of us are not sure where to start with clearing our mind or which activities to consider. The following list presents unique ideas one can participate in alone or with others.

Coloring Between the Lines

Crayons, Coloring Book, Coloring, Book, Colors

Unbeknown to most, researchers have indicated that coloring activities help calm the amygdala – the area of the brain that is activated in stressful situations. At the same time, coloring stimulates the areas of the brain that support creativity. A 2005 study found that those who colored reported drastically decreased anxiety levels.

Coloring is considered an effective and balanced mental exercise which utilizes both sides of the brain’s cerebral cortex–promoting both motor skills and coordination. Neuropsychologist Dr. Stan Rodski explained that coloring stirred real neurological responses, stating: “We started seeing changes in heart rate, changes in brainwaves…the most amazing things occurred.”

The focus that coloring requires makes concentrating on other issues very difficult, and often when people color, the negative thought patterns subside. This negativity is replaced with positive thoughts when prompted by the favorable pairing of colors and the creative pattern.

Steampunk arts and Crafts

Never heard of steampunk? Great! That’s exactly what the purpose of this list. Steampunk is a whole visual style, and philosophy. It’s about mixing old and new, creating a distinct look by fusing the usability of modern age technology with the design aesthetic of the Victorian age. Steampunk has reignited a love of “old fashioned” looks like brass, copper, wood, glass, and various types of gears and cogs. It has boosted the popular aesthetic in its love of the old, the repaired, the reworked and the imperfect.

This is your chance to not only step into a new sci-fi fantasy world, but to also get in touch with your creative side. A good place to start is with small gears which are one of the most frequently used decorative items when modifying. If you’ve ever noticed the gears inside an open face watch or clock, that would be the beauty of steampunk design catching your eye. Gears can be added to just about any object you’re looking to re-work. You might consider giving an old lamp a makeover, turning a water gun into a brass laser rifle, or even creating your own elegant mask, whether it be to wear or simply use as a household decoration. For more mask inspiration you can always refer to Steampunk Origins.

Create your space – Gardening

Consider the quote by William Wordsworth, “Your mind is the garden, your thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds.”   Many are aware of the nutritional benefits of growing your own food; however, gardening can also have positive benefits on your consciousness. By consciously growing your food, you can enjoy the added benefit of growing your consciousness. Gardening can be a meditative process as well. Even in a small garden, you can find tranquility in the sounds of nature, the smell the earth, or the warmth from the sun.

An appealing garden can be naturally aromatic and colorful through the blessings of Mother Earth. However, you can enhance your gardening experience by intentionally manipulating the scenery. One might consider including aromatic flowers or herbs like Holy Basil, mint, and chamomile contrasted against bright colors. During different stages of the process such as during harvesting and during meals, remember that you have created this and to give back gratitude. Simple thoughts of positive nature toward your garden and yourself will cultivate a loving, nourishing awareness within.

Outdoor Trail Riding

Thrill seeker or house dweller, Harley fan or stay at home mom, this activity is sure to elevate your heart rate while simultaneously distracting you from all unwanted thoughts and feelings invading your mental space. Often the best way to clear your thoughts is to simply replace those thoughts with new ones. When you’re faced with a task that requires your full concentration, it’s impossible to have your mind clouded by any other task or idea. This is why getting out of your comfort zone is a fantastic way to escape reality for a while.

The beauty of outdoor trail riding is that it gets you away from the norm and into the fresh outdoor air. You might think this sounds extreme, but you need not worry. Arranging a day or weekend trip through an adventure agency is both simple and fun. With experienced guides showing you the ropes with your vehicle of choice you’re in good hands. Most companies have various options to choose from like 4×4, quad biking or even  two wheeled dirt biking. In addition they will provide you with all the safety gear, from head to toe, or helmet to boot if you will. 

DIY soap and beard oil

There are so many additional benefits to making your own handmade soap, apartment from the process being a healthy escape for your mind. More and more consumers are waking up to the impact of personal products on health, increased costs, and added chemicals which has led many consumers to switch to the vegan soap alternatives.

Making your own soap and beard oil opens the door to exploring the creative side that you might not have known you have. You’re free to add various colors and to create elaborate designs that celebrate one’s personality. Not to mention picking out your favorite fragrances.

There is ample satisfaction that stands to be gained from creating your own soap. From the first experience with the end to end process, a great sense of accomplishment can be felt. It is a personal creation that you can use, literally every single day. 

Stay Calm

Peace of mind is often associated with yogis and monks, sitting alone in a far off place, in a cave or monastery, meditating all day long. However, the truth is that mental stillness and peace of mind can be reached and enjoyed by anyone while leading a normal and ordinary life. Don’t be afraid to leave your physical comfort zone in search of mental comfort.

“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.” – Dorothy M. Neddermeyer