Our haul of rocks from our Sunday morning hunting around Ely!
Rock-tastic Mindfulness! Why I’m Loving The Current Ely Rocks Mania!
This weekend was a big one in the Regan household as we went family rock-hunting for the first time around the streets of Ely. That’s right, rock-hunting!
Here in Ely, a growing number of people are drawing, painting and decorating rocks and hiding them around Ely for others to search for and find. There’s a Facebook group with over 1200 members so that when you find a rock, you take a photo of it, post it in the group and then rehide it for someone else to discover. And as the Facebook photos show, there are some pretty talented artists out there of all ages. In fact, a quick scroll through the page shows I’ve come to this at least a couple of months late but hey, what does that matter now I’m here!
Now I don’t actually know who started this idea or whether it’s bigger than just Ely and the surrounding area, yet what I do know is that it’s pretty addictively fun stuff! After finding my first rock on my walk to work the other day, I’ve found myself eagerly walking around my usual Ely routes yet with my eyes peeled to spot more amazing rock finds (ok, ok so my eyes are actually checking out every possible corner and hiding place along the way…and yes I have actually altered my route a bit to go past places where I’m sure there must be some rocks hidden…I mean they are just awesome places to put a painted rock…come on rockers, please someone put some more rocks out on my route!!).
And having taken my rock finds home to show my kids, they were very excited about the weekend and having a chance to get out there and find some rocks themselves. It’s great family fun!
Along with being lots of fun, here are some other reasons why I think no matter where you live, you should get rocking…
Rocking your Mental Well-being & Mindfulness
Here are a few of the reasons I love rock hunting:
1. It’s Creative Fun
Can there be anything better from your mental health than having fun? There’s the designing of the stones and the satisfaction of completing them, along with the fun of searching every nook and cranny in the area for the sight of a treasured rock. We had a lot of excitement and a lot of laughs and every place we searched and every rock we found just added to the fun!
2. It’s Good Exercise
Exercise is awesome for your mental and physical health and walking is a wonderful way to get all the benefits. We ended up walking nearly 7 miles! (Yes, I was curious about how far we would cover so I put my GPS running watch on!). And because we were all focussed on looking for rocks, there wasn’t one word of complaint from my two girls.
3. It’s Mindfulness in Action
One thing I talk to my anxiety and stress clients about, and write about in my articles, is shifting your thinking from what’s going on inside your head to what’s going on outside of it and around you. When we get caught up in our thoughts we can find ourselves stuck in that cycle of thinking worst case scenarios which leads to feeling worried and fearful, which in turn ramps up the anxious thoughts. It can create an ever deepening cycle of negative thoughts and can lead to losing a sense of perspective and treating thoughts as facts (rather than perceptions and habits).
Using mindfulness, hypnosis and other strategies and techniques, you can learn to give your mind some time off from all that unwanted stuff and to be more in the here and now. For example, you might actively pay attention to what you can actually see and hear (so as to diminish those imagined things.)
This why I love rock-hunting as a mindfulness-boosting strategy. When painting and colouring rocks, all thoughts can shift to completing the task. There’s the sense of achievement when a rock is completed and ready to hide and, if you chose to, you can check Facebook for photos of others enjoying finding your creation. And of course, there’s the searching itself. When you are walking down the street and eagerly looking for any sign of rocks, there is little, if any, room inside your mind for imagined worries. Your focus is absorbed in the rock-hunting task at hand. Don’t believe me? Then get out there and have a go!
Take a look at the video of our rock-hunting mindfulness expedition:
Huge thanks to whoever came up with the original idea – my family and I love it! And thanks to everyone who decorates, hides and hunts for rocks – you rock!
Rock on people!
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