What could be more valuable than relaxation and personal wellbeing? Let’s face it, most people in the UK have got a lot of ‘stuff’ already. And every Christmas and birthday, it gets harder to come up with great present ideas. Why not try mindfulness gifts this year? It’ll help you to refocus your attention on what you value most.
Giving gifts is a part of human culture. It’s how we build and look after our relationships. So it can be hard to let go of the grand gesture and the big spend. Whether you’re choosing a present for a meditation master or a mindfulness novice, we’ll show you how to create a great impression anyway.
Start as you mean to go on
The run-up to any big event can be stressful. Start by taking stock of how you’re feeling. Are you looking forward to the party? Or do you feel under pressure to find the ‘wow’ factor? How are you feeling physically and emotionally?
Here’s a great technique to gain a little distance from your emotions. We usually use the phrase ‘like a hawk’ to mean watching something very closely, with clear vision. But hawks often fly up to 10,000 ft. high (around 3km). This gives them a very wide perspective.
Make a note or journal entry of your emotions. Then give yourself a new perspective, by seeing it like a hawk, flying high above. Use this clarity to compare what you most value with where you’re putting your energy. As the saying goes, where focus goes, energy flows.
Introducing the dream board
Does your family make lists of birthday and Christmas presents? Children particularly love this daydream, but it can tie you into buying more ‘stuff’. This year, why not try a dream board instead?
Make ‘dreams for a new year’ the theme of your board. Perfect for both birthdays and Christmas. All you need is a piece of cardboard, magazines or other print materials, plus pens and craft materials – whatever you have lying around. (Or if you prefer, there are lots of great mood board apps too.)
Fill your board with good wishes, feelings, goals and inspiration of all kinds. This doesn’t mean the board can’t have a few physical gift ideas. But it’s a great way of changing the discussion around ‘what do you want this year’?.
Of course, it isn’t always practical to ask people for their dream board. So here are some sure-fire ideas that will work in lots of situations. They’re also perfect for the helpful person who wants ‘nothing’.
Do you know someone who’s interested in learning about mindfulness? Or maybe they’ve had a stressful year and could do with a nudge to relax. (Yes, that’s probably all of us in 2020.)
So, what is mindfulness? Simply put, it’s awareness of the present moment. It’s a core part of ancient Eastern philosophies and increasingly popular in our secular world. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. And it’s very simple to put into practice.
Learning new habits can be a bit more challenging though. Lots of people welcome a helping hand with creating new mindful routines. And there are plenty of options, including the MindPanda Thirty Day of Mindfulness pack.
It’s already used in schools across the country, as well as by counsellors and healthcare professionals. The pack contains 35 inspiring cards to guide you through different mindfulness activities. From meditation, light yoga to empowering self-care exercises.
They’re designed to work for beginners, experts and everyone in-between. So whether your loved one is completely new to mindfulness or wants to keep their practice fresh, you can be sure they’ll get something out of it.
Imagine this: you’ve finished your meditation and you feel fantastic. Then the phone rings, the kids start fighting (again) and you remember all the chores and other work for the day. You’re back to reality with a thud.
We love to carry a physical reminder with us during the day, because it can be hard to keep up mindful habits with everything else going on. That’s why we created the MindPanda Stress Balls.
On our desk at work or around the house, they help us to stop our minds from wandering. Each stress ball has its own unique scent. Stimulating jasmine for uplifted moods. Invigorating peppermint for cognitive stamina. And pick-me-up lemon for an energy boost and relaxation.
They have different levels of firmness, too – for that perfect level of squish. Plus inspirational reminders and quotes. Together, the stress balls appeal to all of our senses.
Looking for a stocking filler or thoughtful mindfulness gift? Give them a try.
It’s funny, isn’t it? Mindfulness is all about staying in the present moment. Creativity involves new imaginings that don’t exist yet. But the two are intrinsically linked. Maybe it’s because when we concentrate on a creative task, all other thoughts fly out of the window. And by letting go of our many concerns – which may not be that important in the grand scheme of things – we open up to new possibilities.
Creative mindfulness (or mindful creativity) is a great combination. Here are three great mindfulness gift ideas:
Mindful colouring has been a surprise trend, taking millions of adults back to their childhoods. Along with calligraphy (or hand lettering), it’s easy to master and quick to deliver mindful benefits. Why not create a mindfulness hamper for your loved one with beautiful stationery and new pens?
Journaling and creative writing have long been a core part of mindfulness practice. After all, it’s hard to be conscious of your feelings if you’re not keeping stock of them. To get words on paper means you have to think long and hard about what you have to say. For the word nerd in your life, a new journal might be just the thing.
Ever heard of a Zen board or Buddha board? It uses special calligraphy paper to allow you to paint with just water. When the water dries, your painting disappears and you’re free to start again. Used in the Far East for handwriting practice, it’s a great way of letting go and letting be. You can get them online or make one yourself.
There are lots of great books on mindfulness. From the classics by Deepak Chopra and Jon Kabat-Zinn, to newer fiction and non-fiction. We all have our favourite, but here some great ideas for the bookworms in your family:
The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
Two international spiritual icons discuss a single burning question: how do we find joy in the face of suffering? And as you’d expect, it’s a gift full of love, warmth and hope.
Buddha in Blue Jeans by Tai Sheridan
A short book with a long subtitle: An Extremely Short Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly and Being Buddha. Full of inspiration for spiritual and secular mindfulness fans alike.
The Taoh of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Despite the epic title, this isn’t for kids. Instead, this book explains Taoist principles using A.A. Milne’s wonderful characters. At the top of the New York bestseller list for 49 weeks, it appeals to a wide audience of readers.
A mindful home
Many mindfulness fans dedicate a corner of their home to meditation. A guaranteed quiet space, safe place and retreat. Why not build a mindfulness corner in your home, as a gift to your loved ones?
Make it soft and inviting, with a calm atmosphere. Decorate it with your favourite affirmations. Even though you don’t need any physical object to meditate, it can add to the sense of comfort and safety.
While the weather is good, you may also like to have your mindfulness nook in your garden. What better way of meditating than to feel the breeze on your skin and hear the leaves rustling in the trees?
Zen gardens are a Japanese tradition. They feature careful arrangements of rocks, water features, trees and other plants. Areas of sand or gravel are raked carefully, as a form of meditation. They’re both beautiful and relaxing.
If a full-size Zen garden isn’t an option, you can also have a miniature version for your workspace. Water features optional. Whatever size you choose, they’re a thoughtful and relaxing mindfulness gift.
When we engage our senses, we’re brought back into physical reality. That’s why so many mindfulness activities involve activating our smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch. There are lots of ways to try out:
Did you know that our noses are linked to the emotional centre of our brains? It means that fragrances can produce powerful memories. Try thinking of an orange without remembering the smell, for example. This is why each of the MindPanda stress balls has its own delicious fragrance.
A growing body of research suggests that a slower, more mindful way of eating could help with weight problems. Rather than ‘banning’ particular foods, eating more slowly and deliberately helps us to realise that we’re full. So there’s a whole new reason for buying delicious chocolates.
Wind chimes, indoor water features and other relaxing sounds can complement mindfulness activities. Or maybe a kid-free afternoon with time to appreciate the stillness. Ah, bliss.
Many mindfulness practitioners use physical objects to help them focus. From Mala beads to intention stones. And did we mention our mindfulness stress balls?
One mindfulness gift that combines all the senses is tea. From the traditional English cuppa to beautiful Japanese tea sets, an afternoon tea is an exercise in mindfulness all by itself.
The most valuable gift of all is your time and attention. Not to mention that as more of us move away from only giving physical objects, the load on the planet is reduced. So when offering your mindfulness gift, show your love through a beautiful presentation.
For example, donations as presents have been increasing rapidly in recent years. But there’s the catch. Gratitude and compassion are physically good for us. But if someone donates on our behalf, we don’t get the same endorphin release. To make your loved one feel great about the donation, why not ask them to choose the charity? Or get them to press the button in some way. The more involved they are, the more they’ll feel the benefits of charity.
Many of the gifts in this article can be home-made or upcycled. Add the ‘wow’ factor to your gifts through innovative wrapping. Think home-painted present paper. Make reusable wrappings from fabric. Create miniature Christmas trees and winter themes with leaves and twigs. It’s a great way of showing your love.
What do you get the person who has everything? A question we’re asking ourselves more and more often. We’re in an era when most people in the UK have lots of possessions. The planet is overloaded and landfill is overflowing. Mindfulness gifts – and the gift of mindfulness – are a great alternative to more trinkets.
Whatever you’re celebrating, we hope you’ll enjoy the occasion. And if you have any suggestions for mindfulness gifts or mindful celebrations of any kind, we’d love to hear them. Please let us know in the comments below. Take care.
What should I get the person who has everything?
We give gifts to show our appreciation of someone. Instead of thinking of their possessions, think about what they value. Maybe they’d like an experience they can share with their beloved grandchildren. Maybe there’s an old hobby or new discovery you can enjoy together? Nothing shows your love more than thought and effort.
What to get the person who wants nothing?
It’s great if your friend or relative is able to switch off from constant ‘wanting’. There are still lots of ways you can celebrate your relationship. From donations, to a shared experience or a thoughtful home-made present. Your time and attention are the most valuable gifts of all.
What are some thoughtful gifts?
Thoughtful gifts take into account the character of who you’re buying for. What would bring them joy? What would improve their life? It doesn’t have to be a physical gift either. We’ll say it again: it’s your thought that counts.
Bonus Gift: Short & Sweet
A quick and easy way to send a mindfulness gift to a friend can be through the simple art of sharing media that can boost their positivity. A short and quick video to send to a friend can show that you care about them greatly.
We love this very cute video about how to detox and channel great inner wellbeing, and it was actually a great mood booster!
So get sharing!