We’ve all read countless articles about how we need to cut back on work, sleep more, keep hydrated, and generally have a healthy work life balance. Stress is bad for you, yadda, yadda, yadda, we get it. It is no lie that working in the art world is hectic which can wreak havoc on your mental health. But how to escape this!
Lucky for you there is a way to help combat the daily stresses of the job, which is embracing meditation and mindfulness. And even better news for busy art ladies is that you don’t need hours of your time in a blacked-out room playing soothing music to reach pure relaxing enlightenment, 60 seconds can sometimes do the trick according to Headspace. Doing a one-minute meditation can be incredibly effective as it offers is a perfect opportunity to take a break, step away from what we are doing, breath deeply, and recharge. Here are three techniques to help you zone out in the workforce.
Inhale the good sh*t exhale the bullsh*t
Find a seated position that makes you feel comfortable, whether you are in your home, in the studio, on the train, or even at a gallery opening. Then, close your eyes and start to focus on your breathing. Silently focus on counting your breaths or doing a body scan. Allowing yourself to deeply drop into your mind and body for one whole minute can help with your decision-making, focus, communication, and boost your energy levels. Breath control in a 1-minute meditation is beneficial because of the immediate cognitive connection, which creates a calmer state of mind.
Yale psychologists recently found that meditation reduces activity in the DMN, the part of the brain associated with mind-wandering and self-referential thinking. When our minds wander, we tend to think about the past or future, which can make us sad. Regular meditation enables us to live more in the present!
(? regram: @thewwclub)
If you can’t get a minute, there are ways to still notice your breath or body sensations, even with your eyes open. You may notice your heart beating quickly, but you may also notice the calm sensation of the breath at the same time. So, when noticing different sensations that have different qualities, you’re switching between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems and creating a balance. It’s a very quick, accessible way of self-soothing. This can be done anywhere; and will help you stay aware of the chaos going on around you but let go of the stress attached to it. Another way to take notice is by the ‘Abramović Method’ – a series of meditative exercises focused on increasing concentration and self-reflection. Originally a program exclusively for artists, the Abramović Method is now available to the general public. You can read more about her method here.
In 2011, Harvard scientists determined that meditation can structurally change the brain. Participants who completed 8 weeks of mindfulness-based meditation were found to have thickened areas of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with memory and learning. Plus, brain scans of these participants also demonstrated decreased activity in the amygdala—the fear, stress, and anxiety center of the brain.
Use your sense of sense
Many of us, especially tactile artists see, smell, hear, taste, and touch countless things on a daily basis, which can feel like sensory overload. But concentrating in on just one of your senses can actually be a point of mindfulness. Anytime you tap into one of your senses, you’re giving yourself a point of your concentration for your mindfulness practice. You could pay attention to smells when you’re at a restaurant if you’re super stressed out for example. Just taking a moment to notice the smells, even in the midst of a very intense conversation, can help to regulate your nervous system. You have five senses; use them all.
Text by Peigi Mackillop