5 Active Forms of Meditation for Those Who Can’t Sit Still

5 Active Forms of Meditation for Those Who Can’t Sit Still

Published on February 27, 2020 by First Responder Wellness

The data regarding meditation is everywhere you look these days. Decades of research have proven that meditating a little bit each day can have profound effects on your mental and physical health. Meditation decreases stress, improves focus, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, boosts the immune system, helps manage pain, and even reduces cravings for those struggling with addiction.

However, implementing a meditation practice in your life, like so many other healthy habits, is easier said than done. Many people find the prospect of sitting in silence for five to ten minutes extremely intimidating. 

While this may define meditation in the most traditional sense, the good news is that there are other options for those who wish to reap the benefits of meditation without having to sit still. Finding stillness and quiet reflection is a great goal to work towards in meditation practice, but any one of the following methods is a perfect alternative in the meantime.

Walking Meditation

One simple way to begin meditating while in motion is to take a long walk. While most guided meditations will encourage you to focus on your breath to anchor you to the present moment, during walking meditation you can focus on your strides and the rhythmic movement of your body.

The concept of focusing on your breath requires you to bring your attention to something that is constant and ongoing. In this way, listening to the sound your feet make when they hit the ground and the sensation of movement in your body as you walk can also provide you with a tool to ground yourself and keep from getting lost in anxious thoughts.

Martial Arts

Many forms of martial arts, such as tai chi, incorporate a meditative practice.  Some practices utilize katas or patterns of training exercises practiced in a particular order.  These practices require the individual to memorize complex movements and become completely in tune with their body in a way that makes it impossible to become lost in thought. 

These ancient arts were developed for the strengthening of the mind-body connection, which ultimately improves both physical and mental wellness. Taking a tai chi class or something similar is a great way to practice meditation in motion.


Similar to formal martial arts practices, yoga combines physical movement with a meditative focus and purposeful breath.  Some types of yoga are less physically demanding and may more closely resemble traditional meditation, such as yin yoga. Yin prompts practitioners into deep stretches that they may be asked to hold for several minutes while taking slow, deliberate breaths. 

However, although many people who are unfamiliar with the practice of yoga think of it as mostly stretching, many techniques involve great physical endurance and athleticism. For those seeking a more active form of meditation, a high-intensity vinyasa class can provide a great workout while also teaching you to move with your breath and practice mindfulness. 

Task Meditation

Task meditation is great for those who insist they don’t have the time to meditate.  We all spend time each day doing chores such as washing the dishes, folding the laundry, cooking, or sweeping the floor.  Most of us tend to get lost in thought during these activities, and you may even find that you can’t quite remember completing the task once it is finished. 

Instead of allowing your mind to wander to worries about the future or regrets of the past, truly focus on the task at hand. If you are washing the dishes, for example, feel the warm water on your skin, smell the dish soap, and pay attention to the details of every dish as you wipe it clean. 

Cooking is a great way to meditate during a task, especially because it is a chore that many people enjoy. Make this task even more enjoyable by noticing the smell of every ingredient, feeling the textures of vegetables as you wash and chop, and listening to the sizzle of food as it hits the pan. 

Being present in these moments that we all take for granted can strengthen your mind as you learn to focus on one thing at a time, and also help you to better appreciate the little things in life.

Meditative Bathing

Another ideal meditation strategy for someone who believes they do not have the time to meditate is to incorporate a meditation practice into your daily shower or bath.  Bathing is an invigorating and restorative practice on its own, but many of us are guilty of getting lost in unproductive thoughts while we rinse off the day.

Instead, draw your attention to the smell of the soap, the feeling of the water, and the sensation of the steam in your lungs.  If you do choose to begin moving towards a quieter and still meditation practice, the bath is a great place to begin that transition.


Many people who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues find that meditation is a helpful addition to their new sober lifestyle.  The First Responders Treatment Program at Simple Recovery uses trauma-informed strategies to cater to the unique needs of law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses.  We recognize that first responders encounter job-specific barriers and obstacles that come with the culture of their careers, and that existing stigma may make seeking help for addiction and mental health issues especially difficult.

Addiction does not have to mean the end of your career or a lifetime of struggling with your health and relationships.  By taking a holistic approach to treatment and addressing the underlying causes of addiction, Simple Recovery makes it possible for first responders to regain control of every aspect of their wellbeing.

First responders dedicate their lives to protecting their community, and at Simple Recovery’s First Responder Treatment Program, we believe in dedicating our time and expertise to helping these compassionate individuals find a path to lasting sobriety and mental wellness. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us now at 888-743-0490.