How To Meditate Without Meditating
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 & 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.
Why you should meditate
Meditation helps. I have personally experienced a lot of benefits after struggling through anxiety and depression for years. But don’t take my word for it. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University has found that meditation helps to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression in adults. It was found that meditation has the same effect size as antidepressants.
Another study has revealed that meditating for more than 8 weeks can modify genes which manage glucose metabolism, circadian rhythms and inflammation which in turn leads to reduced blood pressure. One study also found that mindfulness meditation has “salutary effects on patients having clinical depressive disorders during the acute and sub-acute phases of treatment.”
Just a few weeks of meditation can also help to improve sustained attention and focus for extended periods of time, confirmed another study. Moreover, long term meditation practices also have potential age-defying effects on gray matter atrophy and can help the human brain to stay younger, a recent research found.
The list of benefits that meditation offers is endless as more new research is being conducted to find out how mindfulness and meditation can help a live a healthier life. The question here is not why you should meditate, rather how to meditate without facing typical problems and issues related to meditation for beginners.
Still in doubt if you should meditate? Read Why You Should Give Meditation A Try- Know The Benefits
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.
Having trouble meditating? Read Meditation For Beginners: Everything You Need To Know About Meditation
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 & 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.