Meditation’s popularity has exploded in recent years. And that’s not a surprise, given the swaths of studies demonstrating how the mindful practice can change the brain, enhance moods, and generally improve lives. All that’s fantastic. But what if you just can’t sit still? Hey, here’s some good news. You don’t have to force yourself to sit through the wild swings between anxiety attacks and rage–or ‘hold your thoughts with nonjudgmental awareness’ (whatever that means!)–while meditating. There are other mindful alternatives that’ll help you reach inner peace.
#1 – Breathing
The beauty of this alternative is that this is something you're already practising all the time. All you have to do now is add that element of mindfulness to it–and you’ll be better able to deal with stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. You’ll also sharpen your ability to concentrate, as well. The only question now is… How? How do you practice mindful breathing?
Well, the most basic way is to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. Visualize breathing down into your lower belly; your shoulders shouldn't rise all that much, but you'll feel your stomach expand with air. One reason why this practice works so well is that you can do this while standing. Just close your eyes and breathe. Calmness will follow in only a few minutes.
#2 – Cleaning or organizing
Cleaning or organizing (i.e. household chores) are probably activities you wouldn’t describe as enjoyable–they’re just things that need to be done, and quick. And so, by the time you’re done clearing the suds from the sink, putting away the dishes, and folding the laundry… You’re frazzled, sweaty, and out of breath. Well, here’s a new perspective to take on household chores: the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Ultimately, you have to do them anyway.
So, the next time you’re doing the dishes, be sure to slow down and tune into the entire experience. Notice your breath as you wash the dishes, the temperature of the water on your skin, the sensations and smells of the soap and bubbles, etc. In other words, be entirely and thoroughly present. The same goes for any other household chore.
#3 – Journaling
Mindfulness is all about paying attention. And one of the most powerful tools in your mindfulness toolkit–that you can go back to and refer–is something you may not have considered: a simple journal and pen. While there are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness while putting your thoughts on paper, there are two popular ‘structures’ you could follow. The first is gratitude journaling. This is where you think back to what transpired over the day (or the week) and write down the various things in your life you’re grateful or thankful for. Another useful structure for mindful journaling is ‘check-ins.’ This is where you take a moment to check on your progress on a task or goal, your feelings, and reflect on what has happened.
But if you’re still struggling with writing? Then The Daily Routine Journal could be perfect for you; it comes complete with writing prompts so you can be the most mindful version of yourself. Check out how mindful journaling has changed our customers’ lives for the better here.