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September Musing: 10% happier

There are many things in life that can cause stress.

Brexit, Buying a house, Brexit, work, Brexit, the London commute and Brexit.

The above list shows how privileged I am but reality is that even without the much bigger problems some others may have, we have to appreciate life can be difficult sometimes.

Taking time to be creative can be a great coping mechanism for dealing with things that are outside your control. My partner paints miniatures. You know, these small statues that need to be made and painted and can be used to play tabletop war games with. The painting of these miniatures takes concentration, attention to detail and a steady hand. First, he applies a base layer, a wash, highlights, low lights and finally he adds in the most miraculous details.

I would argue that the state of mind needed for carrying out such an intricate task is similar to the state of mind you need when you are practising meditation. There is no space for worrying when you completely need to focus on where the point of your paintbrush lightly needs to touch that particular millimetre of the tiny model you are painting. Focusing on something outside yourself and calming the mind is a valid mindfulness technique. As long as you are in the present moment letting go of all thoughts and feelings as they are passing by, painting can definitely be a meditation in itself.

I notice a distinctive difference in my partners mood when he has taken the time to paint regularly compared to times when other things in life take over. Painting seems to give him a sense of calm. He is more patient, cheerful and rested when he takes time out every evening to do some painting.

If he does not take time to do painting though, he is more on edge, snappy and generally seems less comfortable in his own skin.

Dan Harris said that meditation makes you 10% happier. Well, I think that my partner is 10% happier when he paints regularly.

I am trying to convince my partner to run a miniature painting class at Makings and Musings but until that time, why don’t you sign up to one of our other creative classes. Each of our workshops offers time to relax your mind and take a break from the demands from daily life for a couple of hours.

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