Yes, making risotto is a highly relaxing thing. It’s a dish I love to make just for the way it calms me down (not to mention it is delicious). You have to be mindful when making risotto. You don’t have to be constantly stirring it, but you do need to be attentive to it. Steam rises off it as you cook it, and that is relaxing. Once you get the hang of it, being mindful of the transformation of the dish is also relaxing.
Need more persuasion? Here’s the chef and owner of the River Cafe who thinks the way I do: A Chef’s Advice for Relaxation: Stir Some Risotto – The New York Times.
If the idea appeals to you, here are 20 Easy Risotto Recipes To Make All Season Long from Chatelaine.
Start off with a classic parmesan risotto and go from there! It’s really not that hard. Plus, as I argue here, it’s a great way to use up veg. Enjoy!
(Image by Roberto Caruso: linked to in the Chatelaine recipe.)
Reading this great piece by John DeMont on how he finds calm while doing katas made me think that I often forget that motion is a good way to deal with a too active mind. Sure, mindfulness and meditation are great, but there are days when my brain resists that. Moving, whether it is katas or tai chi or simply walking, all help the mind in finding a place to center and calm down. I believe involved movement such as katas help with that even more.
If you have a discipline such as martial arts, then you can tap into that. You can also do workouts, even workouts that approach tai chi, such as this. Or just go for an engaging walk where you push yourself not only to walk a bit faster but to really observe and take in the world as you go.
You’ll be glad you did.
(Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash)
For some time I have been practicing a simple form of mindfulness to deal with stressful thinking. It’s a good skill to practice, and while I am not an expert, it has helped me deal with anxiety.
However as this article reminded me, mindfulness as it is practiced in Japan is much more than that. Mindfulness is a way of being present. Of being aware. Of appreciating the transient nature of our lives and thereby enriching them. Japanese people have mindful practices woven through their lives. I think we could all gain from adopting these practices. Read the piece: I am sure you will agree.
P.S. I have adopted the practice of shisa kanko (literally ‘checking and calling’) and have found it helpful in making sure I do things properly. It’s a very different form of mindfulness than focusing on breathing, but it comes from the same source.
(Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash )
For some time, I was doing well practicing mindfulness. I found it helpful. I don’t know why I stopped. But then I have stopped doing so many things during the pandemic, and mindfulness was one of those.
If that sounds like you too, here’s two good pieces that could help:
- How to Practice Mindfulness | A Cup of Jo
- How to Meditate: It’s Not Complicated, but It’s Not Easy | GQ
They’re also good if you haven’t done mindfulness before and want to start.
(Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash)
You might get something like niksen. At least that’s what I thought as I read this article: I tried niksen, the Dutch are of doing nothing. We all need more of it. – The Washington Post.
Key quote from the article:
So when I heard about this Dutch concept of doing nothing, or “niksen,” I was willing to give it a shot. Apparently it’s about as straightforward as it sounds: You can actually actively engage in doing nothing — like looking out a window for a few minutes — and not feel guilty as if it’s a waste of time. Lots of studies have shown that daydreaming and letting your mind wander increases creativity.
It might be just the thing to help us get through the pandemic. For more on it, click this Google search.
(Photo by Sid Leigh on Unsplash)
The first one is make art. It can be of anything with anything. Draw, make collages, do simple painting. Anything. Why? As David Hockney says:
“We need art, and I do think it can relieve stress,” he said. “What is stress? It’s worrying about something in the future. Art is now.”
And if you can find the ingredients, try and bake bread. It’s also good for getting you to focus on the now and stop worrying about the future.
Read both pieces I’ve linked to. Then get busy.
For all of you performing (or interested in performing) mindfulness, I recommend you read this: The Honest Guide to Mindfulness : zen habits.
If you have been doing mindfulness for awhile and you are getting frustrated or giving up, then it can help ease your frustration and prevent you from quitting. If you are new to mindfulness and concerned you won’t be able to do it effectively, then it can help give you some perspective.
Mindfulness has been good for me. I am looking forward to reading this from time to time whenever I find it difficult.
If you think all mindfulness is the same, then read this: Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds.
a new study from the Max Planck Institute finds that three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in corresponding brain regions. The results, published in Science Advances, have a lot of relevance to schools, businesses and, of course, the general public.
Mindfulness can be helpful for many reasons. But how you pursue it can yield different results. Something to keep in…mind.
There are few who would argue against a good walk. And any old walk will do. But if you want to walk mindfully, then Thich Nhat Hanh has a book that will help you do it. Quartz has a run down on it here: Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains how to walk more mindfully.
I think it could be great for people who have a hard time being mindful because they always need to be on the go. And for people who want to have more mindfulness in their life, it is also great. Read the article/book and improve your walks and your mind.
A small, handy guide to dealing with your emotions:
I often struggle with how to get through the long, cold winter. If you do too, or are dealing with other difficulties that can make you sad and miserable, try this exercise that I find helps.
For a period of no more than 10 seconds, do something that makes you happy. It can be looking at something beautiful, enjoying a piece of music or a piece of food, or saying something good to someone you love. Choose the best thing you can think of. In that 10 seconds, don’t think of anything else, just that. Think about it before you do it, think about it while you are doing it, then think about it after you have done it. That’s it. That’s the exercise.
Now, maybe you think 10 seconds is too short and a minute or more is something you can focus on. Great! Do that then. Or you so enjoyed that 10 seconds of admiring the snow, or sipping you tea or juice, that you are going to move on and try the exercise with something else. Also great. Whatever you do, try the exercise and then try to do it repeatedly through the day, week.
Happiness is hard to define, and still harder to quantify. But I think that each of us, in our own way, can build up the part of ourselves capable of being happy and work it and make it stronger. The heart literally gets stronger through exercise. The heart figuratively can stronger through exercise, too. At least I think so. Try this exercise and tell me what you think.