Category Archives: Mindfulness

Slow down and find contentment in the moment, just as it is. Learn more about meditation, getting out in to nature, paying attention and mindful movement.

Daily Creativity: Part 3 – A Slow Experiment

Sticker Mule

“The notebook is the place where you figure out what’s going on inside you or what’s rattling around. The keyboard is the place that you go to tell people about it.” — Austin Kleon in Episode 5 of Hurry Slowly

Are you a pencil and paper kinda person? Or someone who gets their creative juices flowing when they’re tapping away on their computer? Do you like old-school vinyl or are you a digital music fiend? Or, perhaps, like most people, a little of both?

In today’s episode Ben and I dive deep in to a topic I’ve been excited about since beginning the experiment: analog vs digital – which is better for creativity?

Before we get in to it, Ben and I talk about our experiences over the past week, as we’re now more than halfway through this month’s daily creativity Slow Experiment, and this week has brought some really interesting lessons for me personally, as well as what feels like a huge shift in the way I’m solving problems. I’ve found myself focusing more on the process rather than the output, my empathy has stepped up another level as I’ve been able to view things from different perspectives (particularly those of my kids) and excitingly, questions I’ve been pondering for months suddenly have clear solutions. This creativity thing has bigger benefits than I’d imagined!

If you’re subscribed to the Slow Post you may know that Ben’s challenge this week was to do something creative for himself, without an audience, and in this poggie he shares how he’s played around with skiing switch (backwards) and reflects on the joy of truly sucking at something.

Ben also identifies some of the different ways we can categorise creativity (cognitive v emotional and deliberate v spontaneous) and we share our experiences of each of these modes so far, before diving in to the big question of today’s episode:

Analog vs digital: which is better for creativity?

As a staunch advocate for pencil and paper, I’m not going to lie. I was hoping for a unanimous “analog rules” verdict in my research. It would make things so much easier! Instead what I found was that there really is no right or wrong. Our personal preference towards analog or digital is actually closely tied to how we best learn, and the truth is that everyone could probably benefit from dabbling in both means of creative expression.

We discuss handwriting, Austin Kleon’s wonderful dual-desk system, note-taking on a computer vs by hand, and the current hypothesis on why some people find creative thinking difficult to do while typing (hello, me!) and others who don’t find it tough at all (hello, Ben!) in this episode. There’s a lot of juicy ideas in here that may just help you unlock the daily creative practice, or at least begin to understand your personal tendencies towards digital or analog.

If you’re getting creative with us this week, why not try mixing it up again? If you’re always in analog-land, why not try creating using digital this week, and vice versa – if you’re a tech-head, why not try something a little more tactile?

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #slowexperiment on Instagram if you’d like to share, and stay tuned for next week’s episode all about letting go of ideas of “good” and “perfect” and getting back to creating, just for the sake of creating.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Daily Creativity: Part 2 – A Slow Experiment

Philipp Lublasser

“This is what slow is. It’s about diving deep. It’s about asking questions, if even the answers that we find out about ourselves aren’t ones that we love.”

Welcome to the second episode of this month’s slow experiment, where Ben and I are aiming to do something creative every day throughout May.

The last week has been really interesting for both of us and in today’s poggie we dive in to the patterns we’ve seen emerging in our own creative efforts and the changes we’ve each experienced, even in such a short period of time.

So far the experiment has had a bigger impact on my headspace than I expected, as it’s begun opening me up to see more creative opportunities in my days – problem-solving, parenting, the perspective with which I view the world.

We also dig deep in to the question of who, exactly, we’re creating for. I guess another way of saying that is we’re trying to figure out our Why of creativity. Because as people who both, at least in part, work creatively in their day-to-day jobs, we’ve discovered that it’s hard to remove the idea of creating for an audience from our efforts. Thinking about the end result or the output is ingrained in our thinking, and the frustration I’ve come up against every day is that this results-oriented approach stops me from creating with complete, playful abandon.

Ben talks a lot about the value of slowing down our creative efforts, which flies in the face of today’s hustling, deadline-driven world. Very rarely are we allowed to let creativity take time. Very rarely are we encourage to let go of our need to reach a deadline, and simply allow a solution take shape over days, weeks or even years. Again, the lesson here is learning to focus more on the process and less on the output.

So in the spirit of our discoveries this week, we’re going to try and mix it up and would love you to try too. If you’ve been creating just for you, try sharing your work – it doesn’t have to be online, you can just show a loved one. Or, if you’ve been creating with an audience in mind, this week try doing something just for you. Notice if and how this impacts the process and let us know!

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #slowexperiment on Instagram if you’d like to share, and stay tuned for next week’s episode all about analog vs digital in creativity.

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Daily Creativity: Part 1 – A Slow Experiment

Kris Chin

“Everyone has the ability to think creatively, to view things through a different lens, to take things from a different perspective. And that to me is creativity.”

Welcome to May, and welcome to the next Slow Experiment of 2018!

March’s nature experiment was such an incredibly transformative experience that inspired so much change not only in myself, but also in lots of our wonderful listeners, so I’m equal parts excited and nervous to share this month’s theme with you. (Though if you listened to last week’s hostful episode you will have heard us talk about it a little already).

This month we’re experimenting with daily creativity, and I’m excited to share it with you because increased creativity was one of the biggest and most surprising benefits of our nature experiment in March and I think there’s so many common elements between slow living and creative living. But I’m also nervous about it because there is often resistance when people hear the word “creativity”. And that resistance often looks like one of these:

  • “I’m not a creative person. I can’t draw or write or sculpt or knit!”
  • “I don’t have time to be creative.”
  • “I used to be creative, before life got busy/the kids were born/work took up all my free time.”

And I get it. Even as someone who writes for a living, I often don’t feel very creative. “Be creative” feels like an additional item to add to the list of things I “should” be doing in order to live a well rounded life. But the more time we spend exploring slow living and all her elements, the more I realise that creativity is vital and it also has nothing to do with arts and crafts. It’s simply about encouraging thought, mindfulness and play, and by redirecting our focus, even for just a few minutes a day, to look at things a little differently. Which really, is what slow living is all about too.

So how do you join in? The good news is there are no hard and fast rules. This is an experiment, and all we encourage you to do is aim to do some kind of creative practice every day. It can be a specific creative project, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s more about approaching life through a more creative lens, rather than having an agenda or making anything for a specific audience (more on that next week). It might mean simply approaching an everyday task like getting dressed or making dinner as a creative act, rather than a chore. Or it might mean writing, sculpting, knitting, singing – whatever it is, it doesn’t have to look the same every day, it just has to happen.

Which brings me to the other side of resistance: time.

If you feel like you don’t have time to be creative, I’d recommend doing a brief audit of your daily inputs (e.g. social media, news websites, podcasts etc) and asking yourself if they fuel creativity or not. Then pick one, and swap out the time you’d normally spend doing it with a form of creative output for the month, and see how you go.

It doesn’t need to be hard or exciting or Instagrammable, honestly. Just creative. And if you’re still stuck for ideas there are some out-of-the-box suggestions on this month’s downloadable PDF, which you can find here.

So how will you flex your creative muscle? We can’t wait to see – if you’re playing along and feel like sharing, don’t forget to use the hashtag #slowexperiment on Instagram. And in the meantime, enjoy your creative play!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Elise Bialyew on the science of mindfulness

Christopher Burns

One of the most incredible parts of our trip so far has been the constant opportunity to dive deep in to time. Finding those little moments of mindfulness has been important (vital, actually) to me and my mental health since I started recovering from post natal depression back in 2011, but removing some of the additional layers of life over the past few months has opened my eyes to just how many chances we have to pay attention – every day.

Despite increasing research in to the benefits of mindfulness, it still sometimes suffers from an aura of woo, and while I’ve known and experienced the impact of it for years, a lot of people are still looking for proof.

So if you’re a skeptic, or even mildly curious about the science behind mindfulness, today’s poggie guest has got you.

Dr Elise Bialylew is the founder of Mindful in May and author of a brand new book, The Happiness Plan, which is about all things mindfulness, meditation and the science behind it. Coming from a background in psychiatry, as well as being a parent of a 2 year-old, Elise offers a blend of deep understanding of the science behind why mindfulness works with a real-world approach to practicing it in your daily life. Her passion for the topic shines through this conversation and her work, which is such a delight to hear.

Elise talks about how and why she started meditating, and how interaction with scientists like Richie Davidson (doing groundbreaking work on mindfulness and its impact on the brain) as well as her own personal experience at a silent meditation retreat really flicked the switch for her. As a doctor, she felt like mindfulness was the missing piece in the well-being and brain health puzzle, and it’s been her life’s work to educate people about the nature of the mind ever since. She and I go on to talk about her own personal practice (and how that’s changed since becoming a mother), the connection between mindfulness and compassion, the developments in brain science, how much meditation is enough and more.

If you’re feeling inspired and excited to try creating or continuing with your own meditation or mindfulness practice, be sure to check out Elise’s Mindful in May program. It’s a wonderful way to dip your toe in and start (and stick to) a healthy habit, with a real sense of community, accountability and support as well as inspiration and experimentation. The science behind the practice is made accessible, and daily emails, guided meditations and interviews with experts will provide you with all the tools you need to find a practice that suits you and your life, as well as an understanding of what’s going on and why it’s so valuable.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

The Great Outdoors: Part 3 – A Slow Experiment

If you’ve listened to the previous two episodes where Ben and I have discussed this month’s experiment, you know that I’m already convinced of its benefits. From my personal experiences I can see that spending time in nature is calming and grounding, and brings a sense of awe that simultaneously makes me feel small and important. I don’t need any more proof.

Which is precisely why this week’s episode surprised me so much. I came to this topic of nature’s role in improving mental performance with the attitude of, “Well, I don’t need convincing but if it helps other people get on board then great.” But as Ben and I chat, and even over the subsequent days since recording, I began to realise that this element of the equation is vital. If we want to create workplaces and schools and institutions and towns and cities that value nature (because we’re all starting to see just how vital it is) then we need to prove to them that the returns are there. That students learn better, employees are more productive and enjoy higher levels of well-being, that patients heal more quickly.

Personally, I feel as though it should be enough that people are happier and kinder and more well-equipped to deal with stress after spending time in nature. That our focus should actually be on nature itself and how we can become better stewards of it. But I’m probably putting the horse before the cart there, because first we need to convince the decision makers, the policy makers, the town planners and architects, school boards and huge corporations that inviting nature in to our daily life is not only a ‘nice to have’ but that it makes sense to the bottom line too.

This might just be where we start to see real, community-wide change, where we may follow in the footsteps of countries like South Korea and Japan, who both have fascinating nature programs designed to help employees recover from stress and develop mindfulness techniques to minimise stress and improve productivity, as well as programs for children to experience wild, natural spaces.

There’s a lot of research that shows how time spent in nature helps us concentrate more, be more creative, improve our memory and do better in work and study, and Ben and I talk about a lot of it in today’s poggie (you can find links to most of it below).

We also talk a lot about creativity – a less measurable mental benefit, yet one that Ben and I have both felt a lot after time spent in nature. We’ve often gone for a walk and left thoughts of a problem or situation floating around in the back of our heads, only to find a solution or new, creative approach to try after spending time outside. In fact, every time we go camping we come home energised or with a new perspective on an old issue, and I really don’t think it’s a coincidence. As Ben discusses, this actually ties directly into the research about active and passive attention, and the importance of downtime for your brain.

At the end of the episode, we also share a bunch of ideas for those living in urban environments who are finding it challenging to get out in nature. These include things like:

  • Take your lunch to a park and eat it there
  • Find a patch of grass and sit on it – take your shoes off and pop your feet on the ground, see what it feels like
  • Make a date with friends/family and go for a picnic
  • Drive out of the city one night and look at the stars
  • Make a date every month and make that your nature day – no phones, just hanging out, outside
  • Buy a couple of house plants
  • Looking at images and listening to sounds of nature
  • Go camping

If you’re playing along, don’t forget to share how you’re going over on Instagram using the hashtag #slowexperiment, or comment on Facebook. We’d also love to know what you’ve found challenging or easy so far, especially if you’re in an urban environment.

In the meantime, enjoy!

 

 

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

Recently we hit the mind-blowing number of 4 million downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! This is all thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!