Mindfulness is simply paying attention with your senses in the present moment, without judging what you're sensing. When we teach process-focused art, we are practicing mindfulness, cultivating curiosity and playfulness, and engaging our body and the senses, which also helps to soothe our nervous system and reduce anxiety. We can practice mindfulness in so many creative ways! Here’s a fun and accessible way to practice mindfulness with a sensory fidget you can make yourself!
Fist off, here's some simple instructions on how to make a pom-pom:
Wrap yarn evenly around your hand, coiling it around the palm of your hand. The more yarn you wrap, the thicker your pom-pom will be.
Carefully remove the yarn coil from your fingers, keeping it in form as much as possible.
Bind the looped yarn at the center very tightly with another piece of yarn and tie it off.
Fluff and trim the pom-pom into a spherical form using scissors. Add a few pony beads to the tie for an additional texture if you'd like.
Here are some invitations for mindful sensory exploration with your new fidget:
Find a comfortable position, hold your pom-pom in your hands, and take a few grounding, deep breaths, in and out. Notice the texture of the pom-pom in your hands. What do you feel? Is the yarn soft? fluffy? fuzzy? How would you describe the texture? Does it remind you of anything? A comfortable sweater? Knitted blanket? What would it feel like if you could wrap your body in this texture?
Now take a moment to explore the texture of the beads. How do they feel? Are they hard? Cool? Can you feel their shape or form? How do the beads feel different than the yarn? Can you move them? What does the texture of the beads remind you of? Did you use these materials to embellish or make anything as a child?
Let’s take some time to be playful and curious with this object! What do your hands want to do with it. Do they want to toss and catch? Gently hold? Play with the beads? Squeeze? Play with moving the pom-pom up and down your arms. How does it feel against your cheeks?
We can practice positive affirmations using the beads. Choose a simple phrase you wish for yourself. Here are some examples: “I am loved.” “I am curious.” “I am relaxed and calm.” “I am grateful.” Touch each bead one at a time and repeat your affirmation with every bead.
Regulate your nervous system with a simple breathing exercise. We can use the beads to center ourselves by counting beads along with our breath, moving at our own pace. Touch a bead, inhale... exhale, “one”. Touch a bead, inhale... exhale, “two”. Touch a bead, inhale... exhale, “three”. Repeat.
Now that you’re acquainted, maybe give your fidget a name. Pinky? Sky? Rose? Jade? You can carry this sensory mindfulness tool with you anywhere you go for a quick centering practice.