Mindfulness is a practice, like meditation, that involves focusing on doing the thing at hand. In focusing the mind on one task, it creates space and time for emotional regulation to happen. Our emotions come and go. We can be sad one moment and then happy another. When emotions get out of whack or we no longer notice that they change, we can get out of balance and we can focus on how we are unable to see/feel the “happy” and become depressed.
Mindful activities can be any repetitive physical act, such as sweeping. When we sweep, you hold a broom, you exert a force on the ground, and that makes a sound and moves dirt or leaves or nothing. The trick is to only “do sweeping” and notice the distractions your brain will create. Your goal is to only listen for the “swoosh” and move the broom on the ground or floor. All the other thoughts, ideas, memories, and other stuff your brain is going to send you doesn’t matter. Mentally look at it, as if you are watching a leaf float down a river, and then let it go.
My favorite mindful activities are washing dishes, sweeping, pulling weeds, and sanding wood. Mindful activity doesn’t have to be a chore. Some people crochet or do other hobbies, and some of my miniature activities can be mindful, too. For example, gluing shingles on a large dollhouse roof can be mindful if done with the act of pressing the shingle to the roof and breathing as the focus (not putting the guidelines on the roof and getting the order of steps or trimming shingles). Another favorite of mine is to fold the pages of a book to make a dollhouse room. Any activity that only is easy to do correctly, won’t get in the way of observing the feelings/thoughts “floating down the river” of your mind, and can be repeated hundreds of times is a great candidate for mindful activity.