You want to meditate. You know it is good for you. You’ve heard about all the benefits, from a calmer mind to less stress. But for some reason, you just can’t seem to sit still. If this sounds relatable, realize that you’re not alone in this. There are lots of people who find sitting still and practicing mindfulness to be uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are some active forms of mindfulness that can offer a meditative experience (plus those calming benefits) without the need to sit still for twenty minutes. Here are four of them.
Mindful walking: A perfect alternative to the usual sitting meditation, walking meditation can help you clear your mind and connect with your surroundings. In fact, you can even find guided walking meditation recordings on youtube or in popular meditation apps, like Headspace, to help bring mindful purpose to your commute or a quick trip around the block. And while walking meditation may be slightly different from a traditional practice, walking meditation allows you to become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations while you get a bit of exercise.
Mindful coloring & tracing: Adult coloring books have been having a moment. A trendy-take on the childhood classic, they are filled with whimsical scenes of landscapes and gardens or interconnected geometric patterns, rather than the old cartoon characters. In one study, researchers found that mindfulness, guided coloring decreased anxiety in participants. And in another study, students who colored a pattern, rather than free-drawing, saw greater improvements in anxiety as well.
Gardening: There is something so powerful about actively participating in nature. While the end product (ultra-local veggies, anyone?) is great, the actual process of gardening consists of a lot of day-to-day tasks, like watering and weeding. For many, this nurturing process can boost mental well-being.
Knitting and crafting: In an online-survey of knitters, those who knit more frequently reported higher rates of happiness and lower rates of anxiety, with many saying they knit solely for the purpose of stress relief and relaxation. In any case, enjoying the process of creating something with your hands can help you free up your mind for a meditative experience.
This story was one of the best from 2019, and we are happy to include it in our “12 Days of Optimism” as we get ready to welcome 2020!