Most people are aware of the benefits that mediation brings; reduced stress and anxiety, increased self-awareness, improved memory and sleep, just to name a few. Nobody is going to argue that focusing the mind and practicing mindfulness isn’t a good thing. The problem is that for many, the path to finding that quiet place seems to be very narrow. A lot of people have an idea in their head about what mediation is: sitting quietly, alone, and turning off your thoughts for extended periods of time. While this is certainly one method that many use to practice mediation, the reality is that it does not work for everybody. The good news is that there are an almost infinite number of ways that someone can practice getting out of their own head and practicing mindfulness. Here are just three examples of meditative practices for people who hate meditating.
This isn’t the hurried meal that gets thrown together after a long day at work. It’s crucial to not rush when practicing mindful cooking in order for it to be a contemplative and soothing activity. Just as you would make time to exercise, set aside some time to prepare a meal. Consider cooking as a form of self-care rather than a duty. By approaching meal preparation in this manner, you may immerse yourself in it rather than just concentrating on getting it done. The goal of meditation is to enjoy the journey.
Of course, you get to eat what you make. That is the best aspect of mindful cooking. Traditional meditation certainly has many health advantages, but those advantages are not often as apparent as the immediate enjoyment of a wonderful meal. Feel good about yourself since you not only made time for yourself to unwind, but you also prepared a satisfying meal. The best way to nourish both your body and mind is to thoughtfully prepare your food.
The process of cooking a meal intuitively incorporates all five of the senses. Be intentional about paying attention to them during the activity. The sounds of the knife hitting the cutting board, the smells of the onions sautéing, the feel of the dough in your fingers. Cooking a meal is the perfect space to connect with yourself and your surroundings using your senses.
Mindful exercise is a great way to relieve stress. Even though rhythmic exercise alone can help you reduce stress, the benefits increase if you practice mindfulness at the same time.
In order to engage in mindful exercise, you must be totally present in the moment—paying attention to how your body feels rather than your regular cares or anxieties. Concentrate on the feelings in your limbs and how your breathing accompanies your movement to “switch off” your thoughts.
Focus on the physicality of each step when you’re walking or running, for instance—the sensation of your feet contacting the ground, and the rhythm of your breathing as you move. If you find that your mind starts to wonder, try to bring them back to your breathing and movement.
A good jigsaw puzzle can be captivating, whether you’re finishing it by yourself or with family or friends. They also promote mindfulness and assist with brain function, which are both long-lasting advantages. Being mindful involves paying attention to our bodies’ current activities and our feelings. In today’s quick-paced, technologically dependent environment, it’s a useful ability to have.
The level of thought, patience, and focus required by puzzles is sure to stretch the intellect. It’s meditative and enjoyable to focus while sorting among the pieces or gazing at the image for extended periods of time. Our brains release dopamine as we put two puzzle pieces together, which enhances our motivation, mood, and memory.
Spending hours putting together hundreds of puzzle pieces may seem like a mindless activity but can in fact be a great exercise in mindfulness if some intentionality is incorporated. Think about the challenge in front of you and understand that no external or internal factors are going to affect the end result of this project in front of you. Allow yourself to get lost and forget what time it is, enjoy your heart rate slowing down. Enjoy the process.