We all lead busy lives. With mobile devices and social media distracting us from living in the moment, its no wonder so many of us are running on autopilot and forgetting to appreciate what’s in front of us. As we race from place to place keeping up with deadlines and meetings at work, catching up with our friends and seeing our families as often as possible, taking a moment to pause it happening less and less.

Have you been on a holiday and found yourself too busy taking a photo than enjoying the moment? I call this a ‘Walter Mitty’ moment. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, done that.

We all know taking time out from our hectic schedules to be mindful has a huge impact on our overall happiness and wellbeing. I can personally vouch that by being mindful I feel calmer and less stressed.

Four months ago, when I was in the middle of a very stressful month of travelling, hosting my family in Sydney for my Dad’s 70th birthday, packing to move to the Sunshine Coast, working and blogging, one of my besties gave me a book called ‘The Mindfulness Colouring Book”.

An anti-stress art therapy for busy people, the author, Emma Farrarons explains being mindful “is about paying attention to the present moment, clearing your mind of distractions and focusing on simply being”.

Basically, it’s a colouring in book for adults. And it was just what I needed.

How to be mindful

What I find interesting however it that fast-forward a few months later, I can’t step into a boutique or book shop displaying ten different adult colouring in books to help achieve mindfulness. Even when I was in Iceland, these books were everywhere – and it’s the capital of hipster.

Initially I wasn’t too sure what to think about colouring in, surely being mindful didn’t require me to do the same thing my five and four year old nieces loved doing every day.

Yet whilst I have zero interest in meditation and I have friends who have been practicing it for years and swear by it, I was intrigued to try this new act of mindful meditation.

If you’re anything like me, then you would rather do something physically to be mindful than sitting in one spot trying to focus on my breathing and calibrate my thinking. Because lets face it, I don’t have a long attention span when I have to sit down in one spot.

So how to I stay mindful?

I exercise. I colour in. I make stuff.

Recently I have fallen in love with concrete – whether it be a kitchen top, cheese board, bathroom basin or an ornament, I love creating with concrete to help me stay mindful.

You might have noticed these concrete diamonds in one of my recent blog posts; I actually made these! I used a template I found online (I can’t remember where I found the template but I saved it here for you to download) and made a few concrete ornaments for home and for gifts for my friends

It feels so good making stuff. And it’s these moments, when I am present and being mindful, where I find I come up with my best ideas and where I find I am my most creative. Often when I am exercising, colouring in or making stuff, I keep a notebook next to me because I know these activities make me mindful, which leads to creative thinking, which leads to ideas.

However this post isn’t just about how the simple act of exercising, colouring in and making stuff can lead to mindfulness. Done right, here are five reasons why paying attention to the present moment and colouring in eliminates stress.

1. It gets you moving. Whether it’s hiking, enjoying a picnic outdoors, exercising, painting or colouring in, moving your body or making something yourself is the key to being mindful.

2. It clears your mind. By moving your body or making something yourself, your mind clears and all of a sudden, you’ll find yourself feeling highly creative.

3. It makes you appreciate the small stuff. When I am mindful, I stop to smell the roses, I notice people around me, I appreciate a sunrise and I take care of myself.

4. It keeps you active. Being mindful isn’t about sitting down, breathing slowly and thinking in the moment. It’s about keeping you active in the most relaxing and enjoyable way possible.

5. It makes you happy. Enough said.