The benefits of meditation are old news. Every week there's a new article out on Huffington Post, or any other online news source, about how sitting cross-legged for 20-30 minutes a day with a clear mind will help us: live to one-hundred, be smarter, sleep better, be happier, stay healthier, loose weight, beat cancer... The list goes on and on. But guess what? I have a confession:
I DON'T LIKE TO MEDITATE.
It's not that I don't like (or need) to calm and center my brain on a daily basis. I find that I am a better acupuncpturist for my patients, partner to my boyfriend, and a better person in general when I'm able to start my day feeling both grounded and clear. Yet, I just don't like to sit down and meditate.
So what do I do to stop the chitter-chatter that continuously infiltrates my thoughts? Here are four of my favorite ways to glean the benefits of meditation without having to preztel my legs into lotus pose each morning.
1. RIDE MY BIKE
I ride my bike a lot. Every day a lot. But not every ride is meditative for me. Most of the time I’m hurrying to get somewhere on time. My brain is busy trying to figure out the fastest route, or the best way to avoid heavy traffic. Biking, for me, had always been a way to get from point A to point B. This summer that changed. I began spending more time away from city streets, and more time on trails, country roads, and putting on miles just for the sake of putting on miles. I realized that once I wasn’t playing defense against the city streets and drivers, my mind was able to just be. It was probably one of the closest feelings I’ve ever had to pure mediation – a mind at complete rest – but without having to sit still in a position that was often uncomfortable.
2. WALK AIMLESSLY
Walking has basically become my version of a meditative bike ride when I’m too busy to spend a few hours out on the trails. Lately I’ve been getting up 30-60 minutes earlier than usual and spending that extra time wandering around my neighborhood with no destination in mind. I let my feet do the leading and I enjoy the sounds of the world waking up around me. While I’m never quite able to zone out as much as I when I’m on my bike, I still find this practice to be a very calming and centering way to start my day.
4. ASSEMBLE A PUZZLE
Puzzling is a perfect wintertime meditation on patience. This is especially true if you set it up on your dining room table with the hopes of one day using said dining room table again. All kidding aside though, it really is one of my favorite ways to center myself after a busy day at work. It's a slow, time consuming activity, and I just love it. My friends and I spend so much time together working on puzzles each winter that we even have a theme song for it to the tune of “Every Day I’m Hustlin’” (but obviously, every day we’re puzzlin’… well, you get the idea).
4. READ A BOOK.
For this to be meditative for me, the book in question has to be a work of fiction. Brushing up on my World War II history or learning more herbal remedies for arthritis isn’t going to do the trick. But when I find the right book, it is much easier for me to get lost in another persons’ world than it is for me to try to get lost in my own world.
WANT MORE? TRY ANY OF THESE 25 IDEAS TO SLOW DOWN AND SMELL THE ROSES MORE:
* knit a scarf * stretch tight muscles * cook a meal * practice yoga * run a 5K * play an instrument * mow the lawn * listen to your favorite record on repeat * go to a museum and look at your favorite painting * do the dishes by hand * jump rope * fish for that night’s dinner * dance alone in your room * weed your garden * make a quilt * forage for wild edibles * float down a river * paint something * sit by a bonfire and watch the flames * lay down in the grass and watch the clouds drift by * complete a sudoku puzzle * draw a continuous line drawing * walk a labyrinth * visit the arboretum * bake a cake *
*Note that none of the above ideas should be done while watching tv, listening to a podcast, scrolling on Facebook, etc. The idea is to lose yourself to your chosen activity and allow your mind to drift or settle.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO MEDITATE WITHOUT MEDITATING?
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