Many of my friends are curious about meditation and its benefits. Who doesn’t need a little mental health break occasionally?! Yet, many are intimidated by the thought of trying not to think. This is nearly impossible for most of us to do but I am about to tell you a secret; you do not have too! There are many ways to mediate and you don’t even have to do it cross-legged on the floor while listening to ocean waves and pan flutes.
For those of us who have a hard time ‘sitting still’ or quieting our mind for an extended amount of time. Here are some alternative ways to get the same relaxing benefits of traditional meditation by just using intentional mindfulness. The best tip I can offer, for keeping your mind in the here and now, is to focus on your breathing. Make sure you are taking in deep belly breaths, then notice and relax any and all areas in your body that feel tense.
Walking Meditation: Getting out into nature and fresh air helps to clear our minds. It is also almost automatic that we become more alert and in the here and now, when outdoors. The whole point of meditation is to be here, right now. Most walks are pleasant, if you aren’t thinking of something that happened in the past or will in the future. Try to only focus on where your next footstep will fall and how beautiful that sunset is, your mind will be at peace.
Shower/Tub Meditation: Water is a very healing element. When you step into the shower or tub, do your best to keep your mind in there with you. Don’t think about what you are going to have for breakfast later or all you have to do today. Just enjoy the blessing of indoor plumbing and hot water; while thinking thoughts of gratitude. This is one of my favorite ways to start the day and to ‘fit’ meditation into my schedule.
Guided Meditations / Yoga Nidra: To be honest, I sometimes prefer guided meditation over regular meditation, when I am trying to clear my energy. It takes the pressure off when trying to keep my thoughts in check, because it keeps your mind busy listening to instructions. Stacy recommended to try Yoga Nidra last year on a very particular hard day I was having and I have been hooked ever since. It helps me get into a deep sense of relaxation by suggesting you focus your energy on different areas of the body.
Cleaning: Believe it or not, cleaning is an excellent mediation. Doing dishes, vacuuming and dusting; demands our focus. When doing an activity, that is not too challenging, we tend to pay attention to our task at hand and this allows us to stay in the present. Plus you get instant gratification results, which is always nice!
Massage/Acupuncture: Any practice that leaves me feeling like I am in an alternative universe for an hour or two is much like meditation. Some people fall a sleep on the massage table (sleeping is not meditation) but most people slip into a state of Zen; if they feel like they don’t have to fill the silence. Some people like to talk and that’s okay, but the ones that do not seem to get more than physical relief, they get mental relaxation. Feeling warm, safe and completely relaxed is a form of mediation that leaves us feeling blissful.
Coffee and Car rides: Believe it or not, even a quiet cup of coffee in the morning or a car ride can feel like a short meditation, if you can stop yourself from mentally running through your list of daily chores, just for a bit. Try instead to give thanks for the day you are about to embark on. You will be amazed at the peace it can bring. Turn off the noise and just breathe.
These are just a few tips and tricks I have learned on my journey to heal. I realize that we cannot be healthy without the body, mind and spirit connection flowing together as they should. So, to all of us who have a hard time with traditional ways of meditation, please do not give up! There are many ways to go within and give yourself time to destress!
I hope some of these suggestions will help you see meditation in a less intimidating way! Wishing you a blissful state of mind and a relaxing state of being in the here and now. Namaste!
Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister
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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister