We know that meditation is good for mental wellbeing but, for many, it can feel hard to quieten the mind. Thoughts of meditation may evoke impressions of incense, darkened rooms and trying hard to empty the mind of thoughts. Others might find meditation to be a solitary practice, with headphones and a guided app on their smartphones.
However, various practices, such as mindfulness colouring books or incorporating mindfulness into daily activities, help people achieve the mental wellbeing benefits of meditation without having to specifically meditate. The focus of attention on a single activity can help people reach the same state of calmness. One of these activities involves writing Chinese characters with a soft-tipped brush which, when practiced mindfully and with care, can be both an art form and a deeply meditative practice.
A small study in Taiwan found that the practice of Chinese calligraphic handwriting had comparable beneficial effects on people experiencing stress as practicing traditional meditation over a course of several weeks. After practicing the calligraphy, participants’ heart rates and breathing slowed, which are both markers of relaxation and calmness.
WayAhead will be running a new mindfulness and meditation group trial for the next six months for those experiencing anxiety. The group will practice a particular type of meditation that uses the smooth, flowing movements of calligraphy to focus the mind. Carol, who is already an Anxiety Support Group facilitator and trained in calligraphy meditation, will lead the group.
The group is specifically for those who are experiencing anxiety as a way to calm restless thoughts. It will help build a mindfulness practice without having to engage in traditional meditation. The group will run on the first Sunday of the month with the next group meeting on April 7.
For more details, visit: understandinganxiety.wayahead.org.au