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Can origami help you achieve mindfulness?

Fold your way to a calmer mind. The soothing art of origami can double as a mindfulness tool.

Inviting ourselves to be fully present in a moment is something too often overlooked. Rushing, multi-tasking and losing focus have become such a normal part of our days, that when we take a moment to try to remember what we did yesterday, it’s often hard to retrieve a thing.

Mindfulness has been receiving plenty of airtime of late, and with good reason. There’s much to be said for allowing ourselves the time to experience a moment in full. Whether that’s slowly enjoying a meal, savouring a glass of wine, crafting an email or the ever-popular adult colouring-in trend, fully engaging our senses in what is actually happening around us has many benefits.

Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, is another activity that has been associated with mindfulness. Its simplicity, the humble act of engaging with paper, the feeling of textures and creases and the visual result that emerges, all offer excellent ways to practice mindfulness.

“Its simplicity, the humble act of engaging with paper, the feeling of textures and creases and the visual result that emerges, all offer excellent ways to practice mindfulness.”

The Art of Mindful Origami by Dr Richard Chambers is a book dedicated to this very association – with fifteen different activities that increase in complexity and beautifully patterned paper to create the designs with.

Dr Chambers is a clinical psychologist and internationally recognised mindfulness expert. He’s also one of the developers of the popular meditation app Smiling Mind, so it’s clear he knows a thing or two about the art of slowing down, calming your thoughts and being present.

In addition to creating the origami designs – from pinwheels to stars, foxes to lotus flowers – additional information is provided on where each model comes from, and exercises you can undertake to cultivate qualities of mindfulness.

With the festive season upon us and gift giving in full swing, consider the very first design of the book, the origami gift box, as a unique present idea. Simple to make, it could be a thoughtful way to offer a small gift to a loved one, while providing you the fulfilling opportunity to make something by hand while fully focusing on the person you would like to receive it.

The Art of Mindful Origami by Dr Richard Chambers is available from Exisle Publishing and wherever good books are sold – RRP $19.99. 

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