6 Intriguing Meditation Alternatives; A Meditation Teacher’s Advice
Meditation is a fantastic tool for bringing about focus, reducing stress, regulating emotions, and improving your quality of life. But it’s not the only tool.
What’s more, meditating isn’t always an option. For instance, if you’re traveling for work or have kids running around, you can’t always walk away into a quiet corner to meditate.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives that can help you clear your mind in just a few minutes.
Here are 6 alternatives to meditation that can improve your life.
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Coloring books are a fantastic mental activity for stress reduction, being present, and enjoying some creative release.
Adult coloring books are generally full of intricate designs and geometric patterns, challenging enough to keep you engaged but not as daunting as having to create an oil painting from scratch.
Just like mindfulness meditation, coloring directs your focus to a single point and helps you reach a meditative state through the focused attention of keeping the colors within the complex patterns.
What’s also great about coloring books is that they are extremely portable and can be used when a classic meditation technique might not be possible.
This could be on your commute to work, during your lunch break, or just when you get home and are too tired to sit down and meditate but are still looking for a way to switch off and relax.
Juggling isn’t going to be the most straightforward activity on this but the basics can be learnt reasonably quickly, and you’ll be hooked once you get the hang of it.
Just like with meditation, scientists have studied the brain activity of Jugglers, and it has been proven to increase your brain’s cognitive functions, promoting growth in the neural connections related to movement, focus, and memory.
Juggling can also be very relaxing and stress-reducing. As you become more proficient at the skill, you can allow your intuition to take over.
This allows your mind to get lost in the motion, losing track of time and entering into a flow state
Most traditional forms of martial arts have some form of connection with meditation. This might be through formal breathing exercises or allowing yourself to focus your attention on your body through repetitive physical movements.
Most physical activities, by nature, force you to become present. Some martial arts add in an extra element, avoiding getting hit by your opponent.
When sparring, this adds a new level of focus. It can be frustrating to be struck, but you’ll be given no choice but to remain present and focused on the moment.
Joining a martial arts club also comes with the added social benefit. Learning with people of different skill levels will help build trust and compassion, both fantastic tools for increasing emotional intelligence.
The Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, or “Forest Bathing”, involves spending extended periods in the outdoors, particularly in forested areas, to help ground yourself through a connection with nature.
Like meditation, spending time in nature has been proven to promote good health, reduce stress, and improve mental health.
Meditating in nature can also be hugely rewarding as there are sounds and sensations everywhere you go to become mindful of.
If you don’t want me be caught under a tree meditating like a buddha, then you could practice a walking meditation or spend time contemplating your surroundings.
From the smells of the ingredients to the skills of preparation, cooking forces you to be present in the moment and focused on the task at hand.
Obviously, at times, cooking can be pretty stressful. But if you make a few adjustments to your process, it might become your favorite zen activity.
For starters, ensure you give yourself enough time and that the time is your own. Rushing around the kitchen with hungry children waiting for their dinner isn’t going to make for a relaxing environment.
Then just focus on the task at hand. Note the textures and smell of the ingredients. Taste the food as your cook and eat mindfully. Try to lose yourself in the process as much as possible.
Lastly, if you cook for someone else, use this time to practice loving kindness. What do you appreciate about the people you’re cooking for, and how does doing them a service make you feel.
Whether you play music, listen to it, or dance to it, sometimes you cant help but become lost in it’s rhythm. Music is a powerful tool for stress reduction and self-improvement.
Even if you’re not a musician, there are countless ways to improve your concentration and focus through the use of music.
Music therapy focuses on the use of music to promote healing. Playing a musical instrument gives you and your brain a physical task to focus on other than your thoughts and emotions.
Similarly, just listening to music can help you clear your mind of overactive thoughts, allowing you to refocus and gain energy and positivity from the music.
MindEasy founder & meditation teacher
Griff Williams is an accredited meditation teacher and founder of MindEasy. He spent 12 years working as a London firefighter before changing paths to pursue building MindEasy. He received his diploma in meditation teaching from The British School of Meditation.