Finding Mindfulness in LEGO®

I never intended on finding mindfulness in LEGO®, but it has been the perfect fit. For much of my life I was described as emotional and sensitive. What I didn’t know is that I was living with an undiagnosed mental health disorder and struggling to cope with something I didn’t know I had. After my diagnosis about 10 years ago, I was working with a counselor who had me create a sensory box to help me cope. A sensory box contains different objects that appeal to the five senses. Mine contained scented lip gloss, grape Hubba Bubba, my favourite CD, a colouring book and pencil crayons, photos of people and places I love, and a red LEGO® window (3853) with green shutters (3856).

Contents of my sensory box used in my mindfulness practice including the LEGO window and shutters

The Impact of the LEGO® Shutters

While most of the items remained in the box, the LEGO® shutters found a home in my pocket. The shutters helped me stay grounded when I was feeling anxious in a long lineup at the grocery store, waiting in a doctor’s office, or attempting to socialize in a loud pub with a big group of people. If you’ve ever experienced any kind of anxiety, you’ll know how difficult it can be to manage a rapid heartbeat, shallow breaths, sweaty palms, and racing thoughts in public. Feeling the LEGO® shutters helped me keep my mind from spiraling out of control, manage the physiological symptoms, and stay present in the moment.

The Challenge of Mindfulness

Around the same time, I began classes in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and was introduced to the idea of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation where you focus on being present in the moment. This involves noticing your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. Part of this technique involves the basic skills of observing and describing. These might sound like simple concepts, but they can be challenging for those who experience intense emotions and destructive thoughts. Like many forms of meditation, much of the focus is on the breath and this is something I really struggled with. I was able to achieve similar results when I felt the LEGO® shutters in my pocket, so I decided to incorporate LEGO® into my mindfulness practice.

My sigfig looking out the LEGO window with shutters after finding mindfulness in LEGO

What Mindfulness LEGO® Looks Like For Me

The point of finding mindfulness in LEGO® is not to build absentmindedly or to avoid your thoughts. The idea is to build mindfully. This involves paying attention to your senses and noticing your thoughts without judgement. For me, this means paying attention to the feeling of the bricks. As a tactile person I find it helpful to focus on how different LEGO® pieces feel. When I am building mindfully, I focus on feeling the raised letters of the LEGO® logo on the studs, the ribbed sides of profile bricks, the smoothness of tiles, and even the way my fingertip fits inside a 2×2 dome or a minifigure hat. For me, building mindfully is about slowing the process right down. I try to pay attention to the sensation when I snap two pieces together or slowly pull two pieces apart.

Finding mindfulness in LEGO using a variety of LEGO pieces

Other Ways to Build LEGO® Mindfully

For some people, mindfulness is more visual or auditory. In mindfulness LEGO®, this might involve paying attention to the colours or shapes of the pieces you’re using. It could also involve noticing the sound that bricks make when you snap them together or search through a bin of LEGO®. For tips on finding mindfulness in LEGO®, check out the page dedicated to LEGO® mindfulness on LEGO.com! Incorporating LEGO® into my mindfulness practice has really made a difference in my life. The pace of life can be overwhelming and LEGO® is a great way to de-stress and nurture our well-being.

Have you tried building LEGO® mindfully? If you do use LEGO® as part of your mindfulness practice, which sensory aspects appeal to you most – tactile, visual, auditory, or something else? We’d love to hear from you so please share your experiences with us by commenting below!

Play well folks,

-Krista

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2 comments

  • Thanks for your comment Mike! like many people, I found mindfulness quite challenging until I incorporated LEGO into my mindfulness practice. I hope you are able to find it as helpful as I have!

  • Wow what an awesome story! Thanks for opening yourself up enough to share your experiences. I must try building mindfully as well. I think about mindfulness often, but haven’t really thought about it with regards to lego. I’m glad it’s been able to help you.