It has long been proven that mindfulness helps to reduce stress and help promote healthy mental well-being. There has been an increase in popularity over the last couple of years for mindful activities, ranging from yoga and meditation, to activities such as adult colouring books and even knitting is making a comeback.
What is Mindfulness?
I’ve taken this definition of mindfulness from the Mindful.org website:
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us
Sounds good doesn’t it? I like to look at it from this point of view; Too many of us lead busy lives, trying to balance the pressures of work, social expectations and family commitments. We end up running on auto pilot, lost in our own heads, slave to our thoughts, worries and stress. This is where mindfulness can help.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which is research-backed and widely used in schools, hospitals and other medical establishments worldwide. In the following video he explains how mindfulness lights up parts of our brains which are otherwise inactive when we are running on autopilot.
There are many ways that you can be mindful, from doing relaxation activities such as yoga and meditation to simply taking the time to stop occasionally and noticing your surroundings.
Occupational therapy departments in hospital around the world have been using craft activities as a rehabilitation exercise, helping patients to stop for a while and relax, be creative and express themselves.
Can Paracord Kotting Reduce Stress?
Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. They have been using paracord knotting as an occupational therapy activity since the start of 2017. It has proven to be a very popular and successful mindful activity, helping the veterans that attend the sessions.
The veterans who attend the occupational therapy sessions are given the paracord supplies and directed towards YouTube to follow tutorials. Some find it easy to follow the tutorials, where as others need more help. The vets have supported each other, learning more and more complex knots and ultimately bonding over the art of paracording.
We have also talked to a number of veterans, from all over the world, on different social media paracording groups and they have all told me that paracord knotting has greatly helped to reduce their symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They have found that by occupying their hands on an evening tying paracord, they are able to easily relax and feel less stressed.
As a side effect of this stress reducing hobby, a couple of the vets I spoke to have also started selling the bracelets that they make and are helping to supplement their income. In a few cases, they have gone from struggling to make ends meet after retiring from service with PTSD, to running a successful business selling hand crafted paracord products online to a worldwide fan base.
In conclusion, there are many things we can do to be mindful. Paracord knotting is one of many craft activities out there which help promote mindfulness. So why not give it a go, get yourself some paracord, get knotting, create something for yourself, for your kids, or to sell to others…be as creative as you want and relax.
We’ve created KNOT Paracord to help you do just that, bringing together the best that paracording has to offer in one place. Feel free to take a look at our online paracording magazine, you’ll find lots of inspiration, tutorials and more.
We hope you find mindfulness and enjoy paracording as much as we do.