Does sitting still for 20 minutes (even 5) sound unbearable? Meditation is a way to calm the mind and train it to relax and let go of stress. However, many forms of “passive” meditation are tough for a lot of us, including those with PTSD, ADHD, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
The goal of meditation isn’t to empty your brain of thoughts. It’s to hone the skill of gaining distance from the many things that clutter our minds and focus on one single thing at a time — which many of us find difficult. Don’t worry – you’re not a failure if traditional meditation frustrates you. Here are some more “active” forms of meditation that achieve the same result.
Sitting meditation can make some impatient, but walking meditation is just as helpful in both connecting to your environment and clearing your mind. Maybe you like to take a quick trip around the block or a long park stroll. “Mindful walking” — where you literally focus on your steps and breathing — will allow you to become more aware of emotions, thoughts, and senses, as seated meditation does. Plus, it allows you to get your exercise while practicing introspection.
Adult coloring books aren’t just a trend – they’re a mental health resource that’s proven to be extremely useful during the pandemic. Scenes of nature or geometric patterns are mentally soothing, and coloring books are frequently used in art therapy for both kids and adults. According to science, coloring a pattern as opposed to free drawing can reduce stress levels and anxiety. The structured and complex nature of filling in shapes allows our brain to think passively — and brings back a little nostalgia from our childhood.
Anyone with a love for crafts (of all kinds) has a secret to staying calm. Knitting, for example, is a reflective and comforting experience similar to the slow, intentional movements of yoga. We experience relaxation through the repetitive and even rhythmic process. This also applies to things like weaving and crocheting. Scrapbooking and making collages have a similar impact by giving us something else to “focus” on.
Meditation in the mundane
Daily tasks — even housework — can be meditative if you focus on the little details and how the activity affects your senses. For instance: during a shower, feel your feet on the tiles and the water against your skin. Focus on singular aspects, like the scent of your body wash, or the texture of the bubbles on your skin. Return wandering thoughts to the present moment.
Ultimately, meditation does not always mean sitting still. It all comes down to what helps you feel more grounded and connected. During this 21st century life, it’s easy to let the chaos take over. But your peace is your power. Find a meditation technique that works for you to harness that sacred energy — and give yourself some much-needed peace of mind.