Makers, menders, kids, and grannies are all in on the joys of crafting. Who doesn’t love rolling up their sleeves and diving into a box of fabric, paint, glitter, and glue? But aside from the plain fun of it, crafting is also an excellent form of mindfulness meditation.

Like many mindful activities, crafting creates the experience of “flow”, that state of being where we are fully immersed in the task in front of us. All worries, preoccupying thoughts, and internal chatter just melt away. When we have flow, we leave behind the ego and focus on the present moment. Similar to meditation, flow tends to leave us feeling calmer, peaceful, and happier.

While there are lots of crafts to inspire flow, we’ve suggested the following activities.

Knitting

Knitting’s rhythmic motions make it one of the best crafts for mindfulness. Repeating the same stitches over and over inspires a relaxing harmony between the brain and body. When you knit, you can ease your wandering monkey mind by bringing your attention back to the stitches in front of you. An added perk? Homemade scarves!      

Calligraphy

It’s no surprise that calligraphy is also tied to the history of Zen Buddhism. Writing out letters with a brush creates soothing fluid motions that lull you into a state of calm concentration. Try writing a favorite mantra or intention over and over, just like if you were meditating with a mala. Because you’re simply writing words, there’s no pressure to achieve a final masterpiece.

Cross-stitch

Similar to knitting, cross-stitch requires the same stitch over and over, creating a repetitive hand-movement that you can easily get lost in. There are lots of cross-stitch starter kits and pre-made patterns available, so you don’t have to feel pressured to come up with your own design (unless you want to!).

The next time you’re unable to meditate, consider taking a trip to the art supply store.