You’ve heard about mindfulness. You know meditation is good for you. You know it can help you de-stress and calm your mind. And so you’ve tried to meditate and failed miserably. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Been there, done that.
Meditation is a practice that takes time and patience. So can we meditate without sitting still? Are there any non-traditional meditation practices? There are. If you’re wondering how to meditate without actually meditating, you’ve come to the right place.
The problem with meditation
If you’re reading this, then it means you want to meditate. But sitting silently with yourself without any distractions is not easy for most of us. I have been meditating, on and off, for a while now and I have personally struggled with getting used to it, especially during the initial phase. I had to wrestle to develop a regular habit of setting time aside, sitting down, relaxing my mind and body, and simply focusing on my breath. It can be really hard to get to this point.
The moment you sit still and close your eyes, a thousand thoughts and emotions rush in. Sometimes you find yourself lost in those thoughts while others times you feel uncomfortable with them and don’t really know what to do. It is hard to sit down with yourself and confront your thoughts and emotions like this. You fidget. You get distracted. You say to yourself, “Do I really have to do this?”
You feel you’re not doing it right. You wonder how long it’s been. You question why your mind is not calming down. And eventually, you lose patience and give up. But even then, even when you think your attempt at meditating was a failure, you experience a glimpse of inner peace. And that is why you got hooked. That is why you want to know how to meditate without actually going through the uncomfortable part of sitting down with yourself.
Non-traditional meditation techniques
Lucky for you, there are different ways you can practice mindfulness through informal meditative practices and these are often as effective as the real thing. Informal meditation and mindfulness practices are easier as you simply need to bring your awareness to your present experience through daily activities. According to a Psychology Today article by psychologist and author Karen Kissel Wegela, Ph.D. –
“These are the everyday activities of life that can support the cultivation of mindfulness. When we engage in these activities, especially if we are willing to let go of distractions like listening to an iPod or playing the car radio, they give us the chance to tune into what is happening right now. We can pay attention to our sense perceptions, our emotions, and our thoughts.”
How to meditate and be mindful in non-traditional ways
Here are simple and effective ways to be more mindful and practice meditation through daily activities without sitting still or chanting prayers.
1. Get more sleep
Sleep is an excellent meditation practice as it helps to rest our conscious minds. When you sleep, your subconscious mind becomes more active. It sifts down all the stress and anxiety that your conscious mind was unable to sort throughout the day. Sleep also helps your mind refresh itself and gives you mental and physical energy to start another day with better mental strength.
The fact is, situations can often be too stressful for our conscious mind to deal with it. Hence, our thoughts and emotions get suppressed as we try to deny, overlook or ignore them. When we sleep, the subconscious mind deals with these difficult emotions and helps to reduce stress in our daily lives. Sleep is an inherent part of our lives and now you have more reason to fall asleep.