Slime and Mindfulness ?

  •  Do you slime mindfully?
    I have heard people say that you can do anything mindfully. You can watch
    television mindfully, you can play a computer game mindfully, you can even
    commit a crime mindfully. Just as long as you do it slowly, deliberately, and
    with present moment awareness. But what really constitutes mindfulness?
    People who say that anything can be done mindfully only take into account
    the two main aspects of mindfulness - attention and awareness. But is zoning
    out in front of the television true awareness? Does focusing on a video game
    leave you open-minded and attentive to the rest of the world? And, most
    importantly, is crime an activity that can ever be done mindfully, considering
    that it lacks all the other basic qualities of mindfulness, such as non-judgment,
    non-reactivity, non-attachment, and kindness?
    While crime is an extreme example, it does raise the question of whether any
    activity can be done mindfully. What conditions need to be present apart from
    present moment awareness? I have written before about breaking down
    mindfulness into its various components, but today I want to discuss
    mindfulness in relation to a specific activity, an activity that has fast gained
    popularity and spread all over social media in recent weeks. This activity is
    playing with slimeReally, slime?
  • While in the past people have gone for a run, practiced yoga, meditated,
    exercised, danced, played an instrument, or coloured to release stress, a lot
    of people are now turning to slime for a moment of relaxation. Some have
    indeed dubbed it as something "between art and a stress ball". Sure, slime is
    visually appealing and, for most people, pleasant to touch. In fact, playing with
    slime, or just listening to the sounds the slime makes when other people touch
    it, may produce an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), which is
    an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin, a
    feeling of "low-grade euphoria", or sensations of positive feelings and
    relaxation. So slime is attractive, addictive, relaxing and fun. It's also
    therapeutic, easily accessible, and free! But what does it do?
    Yes, slime!
    1. A new sensation. In a world full of smartphones, touch screens, flat
    surfaces and metal, is it really surprising that we crave a different kind
    of sensation? Apart from the experience of new sensations (through
    touch and sound), the appeal of slime may just be that it allows us to
    focus on our sensations, whatever they may be. We let go of the
    surrounding world for a moment, and focus on the slime as the object
    of our attention. Much like mindfulness, which teaches us to bring our
    attention back to the breath when our mind wanders, playing with slime
    teaches us to bring our attention back to the sounds and feel of the
    slime. Additionally, sensory experiences as a potential source for
    mindfulness are not exclusive to slime. Think about it, we spend our
    days touching, seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling. Our hands wash
    dishes, hold the steering wheel, fold clothes, touch surfaces, and run
    across the keyboard. Noticing the senses as they occur in a non-
    reactive and non-judging way can be a wonderful mindfulness practice
    if we let it, whether we are feeling the sand beneath our toes, washing
    the dishes, or simply playing with slime.
    2. Stress relief. As I already mentioned, whether meditation, art, or a
    stress ball is your method of choice to achieve relaxation, slime may
    sometimes act as all three. It is a very sensory experience, which can
    unleash your creativity (whether you are making slime or playing with
    it), and provide tension release through the simple act of having
    something to fidget with. After all, why did fidget spinners become so
    popular? According to art therapist Nadia Jenefsky, “there is a
    difference between process-oriented therapy which is about interacting
    with the thing that you are making, and product-oriented therapy which
    is about working towards a finished piece that you want to keep and
    look at. Slime is about mixing ingredients and experimenting with
    different colours and supplies.” The point is therefore less to create
  • something, and more to simply be creative; less to achieve something,
    and more simply to fidget.
    3. Present moment awareness. I obviously wasn't going to write a blog
    about slime if it was completely unrelated to mindfulness, was I? When
    I first started doing research on slime, I thought that rather than
    bringing our attention into the present moment, slime is a distraction,
    much like switching off in front of the television or getting caught up in a
    vortex of YouTube videos. Instead, I discovered that playing with slime
    or even watching someone else play with slime can actually have the
    opposite effect. Watching a speck in the slime move further and further
    into the goo, or listening to the pop of a bubble when it finally bursts is
    probably the most we have paid attention to anything in a long while, if
    ever. Slime can provide that much-needed “micromoment” that holds
    our focus and awareness, if only for a minute. In fact, it may be that
    one relaxing thing we do, while doing absolutely nothing else at the
    same time. It may be that activity that gets us to pause, relax, de-stress
    and simply bring our mind back to the present. Will I replace my
    morning meditation with slime play? Probably not. Do I think it can be
    beneficial? Yes. Am I now interested in trying it for myself? Absolutely!
    Thank You To Our Guest Author, Kat! 

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