Did you know meditation is one of the most effective forms of therapy? But, not everyone can sit still and rid their mind of thoughts.
Don’t worry, we have your back and some ideas on how you can gain the positive effects of meditation without meditating.
Decades of research have proven that meditating a little bit each day can profoundly affect 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.
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!
One simple way to begin meditating while in motion is to take a long walk. While most guided meditations encourage you to focus on your breath to anchor you to the present moment, you can focus on your strides and the rhythmic movement of your body during walking meditation. Listening to the sound your feet make when they hit the ground and the sensation of movement in your body as you walk can provide you with a tool to ground yourself and keep you from getting lost in anxious thoughts.
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.
Yoga combines physical movement with a meditative focus and purposeful breath. Some types of yoga are less physically demanding and 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. For those seeking a more active form of meditation, a vinyasa class can provide a great workout while teaching you to move with your breath and practice mindfulness.
Task meditation is great for those who feel they don’t have time to meditate. We spend time each day doing chores such as washing dishes, folding laundry, or cooking; most of us tend to get lost in thought during these activities, and you may even find that you can’t remember completing the task once it’s finished. i.e., if you’re washing the dishes, feel the warm water, smell the soap, and pay attention to the details of every dish. Instead of allowing your mind to wander about the future or past, focus on the task at hand.
Another ideal strategy is to incorporate a meditation practice into your daily shower. Bathing is an invigorating and restorative practice on its own, but many of us are guilty of getting lost in unproductive thoughts while showering. Instead, draw your attention to the smell of the soap, feeling of the water, and sensation of the steam in your lungs; focus less on unproductive thoughts and worries.