- GUEST BLOG BY MAYBEMINDFUL BLOG AUTHOR, KAT!
Do you slime mindfully?I have heard people say that you can do anything mindfully. You can watchtelevision mindfully, you can play a computer game mindfully, you can evencommit a crime mindfully. Just as long as you do it slowly, deliberately, andwith present moment awareness. But what really constitutes mindfulness?People who say that anything can be done mindfully only take into accountthe two main aspects of mindfulness - attention and awareness. But is zoningout in front of the television true awareness? Does focusing on a video gameleave you open-minded and attentive to the rest of the world? And, mostimportantly, is crime an activity that can ever be done mindfully, consideringthat 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 anyactivity can be done mindfully. What conditions need to be present apart frompresent moment awareness? I have written before about breaking downmindfulness into its various components, but today I want to discussmindfulness in relation to a specific activity, an activity that has fast gainedpopularity and spread all over social media in recent weeks. This activity isplaying with slime. Really, 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 lotof people are now turning to slime for a moment of relaxation. Some haveindeed dubbed it as something "between art and a stress ball". Sure, slime isvisually appealing and, for most people, pleasant to touch. In fact, playing withslime, or just listening to the sounds the slime makes when other people touchit, may produce an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), which isan experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin, afeeling of "low-grade euphoria", or sensations of positive feelings andrelaxation. So slime is attractive, addictive, relaxing and fun. It's alsotherapeutic, easily accessible, and free! But what does it do?Yes, slime!1. A new sensation. In a world full of smartphones, touch screens, flatsurfaces and metal, is it really surprising that we crave a different kindof sensation? Apart from the experience of new sensations (throughtouch and sound), the appeal of slime may just be that it allows us tofocus on our sensations, whatever they may be. We let go of thesurrounding world for a moment, and focus on the slime as the objectof our attention. Much like mindfulness, which teaches us to bring ourattention back to the breath when our mind wanders, playing with slimeteaches us to bring our attention back to the sounds and feel of theslime. Additionally, sensory experiences as a potential source formindfulness are not exclusive to slime. Think about it, we spend ourdays touching, seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling. Our hands washdishes, hold the steering wheel, fold clothes, touch surfaces, and runacross the keyboard. Noticing the senses as they occur in a non-reactive and non-judging way can be a wonderful mindfulness practiceif we let it, whether we are feeling the sand beneath our toes, washingthe dishes, or simply playing with slime.2. Stress relief. As I already mentioned, whether meditation, art, or astress ball is your method of choice to achieve relaxation, slime maysometimes act as all three. It is a very sensory experience, which canunleash your creativity (whether you are making slime or playing withit), and provide tension release through the simple act of havingsomething to fidget with. After all, why did fidget spinners become sopopular? According to art therapist Nadia Jenefsky, “there is adifference between process-oriented therapy which is about interactingwith the thing that you are making, and product-oriented therapy whichis about working towards a finished piece that you want to keep andlook at. Slime is about mixing ingredients and experimenting withdifferent 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 blogabout slime if it was completely unrelated to mindfulness, was I? WhenI first started doing research on slime, I thought that rather thanbringing our attention into the present moment, slime is a distraction,much like switching off in front of the television or getting caught up in avortex of YouTube videos. Instead, I discovered that playing with slimeor even watching someone else play with slime can actually have theopposite effect. Watching a speck in the slime move further and furtherinto the goo, or listening to the pop of a bubble when it finally bursts isprobably the most we have paid attention to anything in a long while, ifever. Slime can provide that much-needed “micromoment” that holdsour focus and awareness, if only for a minute. In fact, it may be thatone relaxing thing we do, while doing absolutely nothing else at thesame time. It may be that activity that gets us to pause, relax, de-stressand simply bring our mind back to the present. Will I replace mymorning meditation with slime play? Probably not. Do I think it can bebeneficial? Yes. Am I now interested in trying it for myself? Absolutely!Thank You To Our Guest Author, Kat!Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maybemindful/Twitter: https://twitter.com/maybemindfulBlog: https://maybemindful.wordpress.com