Origami has been around for centuries, and it is not going away. This relaxing paper-folding practice is taught in elementary schools in Japan and for good reasons. Namely, it helps students exercise patience, as well as their spatial skills. And it can also improve concentration and memory! And if it does that for children, why wouldn’t it be helpful for adults too?
Origami Is Accessible Anywhere
One of the greatest things about doing origami is that all you need is a sheet of paper. It can be origami paper or any other type you can get in most arts or crafts stores. Even a post-it note can work.
Therefore, you can learn and practice origami any way. You can learn how to fold by following step-by-step folding instructions, or you can just wing it and make your own design. The point is to focus while also relaxing your mind.
The fact that all is needed for the art of paper folding is a small piece of paper makes it very accessible not only for adults, but it can also be a lovely pastime for kids to do. You can fold the paper on the train to work, in a café, or sitting on a park bench. Plus, the type of paper also does not need to matter as long as it is easy to fold.
Origami Enhances the Ability to Be Aware of What Is Happening in the Moment and Focus
Traditional origami is not only about learning a new skill that can help you relax, but it also has a lot of other benefits. As mentioned, the art of paper folding can help with spatial skills, improve concentration, as well as heighten memory.
There have been studies that say the art of creating paper cranes or any type of origami can also help with perception, dexterity as well as improve hand-eye coordination, particularly in children.
And it can also help with mathematics skills when it comes to middle schoolers. Paper folding has been used to help those that have attention deficit disorder, as well as other types of special needs. However, more study is required on the subjects. But, it may not be outside the realm of possibility since it puts people in the moment and helps them focus.
Use Origami to Practice Letting Go of Self-Judgment or Perfectionism
Samuel Tsang, an origami teacher and author, mentions in his book “The Book of Mindful Origami” that the act of folding paper is a peaceful hobby as well as a craft that combines meditation and science.
He speaks about that following complex origami instructions may seem intimidating to first-timers, but they have to remember one thing. And that is that it is important for them not to be perfect. They must let go of the thought of achieving perfection. Therefore, give yourself space and time to practice the craft.
Tsang suggests starting small with paper planes, a boat, and then moving on to paper flowers or origami fish and the other more, seemingly, complex folds. However, the whole point of this craft is to let go of the idea of perfection that often leads to self-judgment and criticism, which takes away from the mindfulness of origami.
He says that he folded many paper cranes, and they are not perfect. The reasoning is that people are not machines. Therefore, complete accuracy and repeated precision are not possible. And that is fine, and it is the point of origami. It is the feeling behind the art more than the final result.
Origami Can Become a Form of a Focused Attention Meditation
When you are folding an origami flower or even flowers in a DIY style, you are stabilizing your mind as well as creating calmness within yourself. The first note of any origami project is to know the folds by heart. That will take some time, but that is the point. Once you have learned the folds, you can dive further into a meditative and focused state.
Tsang also says that origami is not about creating complicated pieces, but it is about meditating and achieving the four Ps: persistence, perspective, patience, and one of the most important — practice.
When you are folding the piece of paper into an origami envelope, a boat, origami stars, etc., you are tapping into your focused attention meditation, which is one of the main purposes of doing paper folding. This leads to calmness which could result in improved memory, mathematical skills, etc. As long as you are not hard on yourself, the craft of paper folding could work.
Share the Gift of Origami to Connect With Others, Including Your Children
Another great thing about origami is not only what it can do for you, but also what it can mean for other people in the form of gifts. When you are folding the paper and creating something, you can share it with a loved one, be it a child or a friend.
The thought behind this would mean a lot regardless of how “complex” the result is. Tsang thinks that children spend a lot of time with technology. Therefore, giving them something that they can touch, such as a paper flower or a bird, can mean a lot to them.
Not only that, but it can also let their imagination run wild. Also, origami does not have to be a solo act. You can learn with someone by your side. You could think of it as a bonding experience with your friends, lover, or children. Plus, in the end, the two of you would have created something that is not only an object but a memory as well.
And you can also think of a loved one if you are by yourself and partaking in the craft of folding. This can motivate you as well as give you a goal. Plus, it can also take the stress off of you since you know that they would like it regardless of “how it turns out.”
The Last Fold
Origami is a mindful craft that can help you focus while being relaxing. It is not about perfection but about letting go. Therefore, grab the nearest square base of paper you have and get folding. If you think of it, all of us have already done origami. We have all made paper airplanes in school! Making some progress should be just as easy.
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