How can doing nothing be so utterly challenging?!
If you find meditation perplexingly difficult, rest assured that you are not alone.
As our brains are so used to playing a constant loop of thoughts, it’s no wonder that asking it to stop is about as difficult as trying to put a dog lead on a loose tiger. Yet at their core, both mindfulness and meditation are essentially about paying attention. Luckily there are other ways to do that, than just sitting on the floor crossed legged in silence.
6 simple ways towards more mindfulness every day...
#Solve a puzzle
Simple puzzles, like word searches, sudoku, jigsaws, or even colouring books, can not only help your mind to de-stress, they also promote creativity. Focusing your brain on the task at hand requires your attention to move towards the present moment. As you work, try to avoid the mind wandering and just focus on the challenge in front of you.
#Take a bath
If you’re looking for a launch pad, then start off your meditation time as just “me time”. Creating a relaxing environment by running a warm bath, adding some essential oils and lighting some candles, may help to take the pressure off. As you starting to unwind then bring your attention to the rise and fall of your natural breath.
Research has shown that journaling can improve not only emotional, but also physical health. Find a quiet spot, set a timer for ten minutes and start with the sentence “In this moment...” or “Right now…”. Explore sounds, sensations, tastes, smells, and sights, as well as thoughts or emotions that arise. Try not to stop and contemplate anything you write, just let it flow naturally.
Guided meditations can be a great gateway into creating your own independent practice. Creating a journey for your mind to go on, by following the speaker's voice, will help to restrain your own thoughts from running away. There are plenty of free apps or videos available on youtube, like The Honest Guys, who have hypnotically relaxing voices!
#Listening to Music
Much like a guided meditation, listening to music or soothing sounds can provide a simple external source to focus on, which helps you to stay grounded in the present.
#Take a walk
As any yogini knows, meditation doesn’t have to be static. Yoga is in itself a form of meditation, as we align our breath with purposeful movement. Another form of active meditation can simply be to take a walk. As you do, pay attention to your body, how it moves, and your surroundings. Notice the feel of your feet as you walk, as well as the sounds, sights and smells around you.
Although it doesn’t always feel like it, ultimately there is no “wrong way” to meditate. It’s all about intentionally setting time aside to do something that’s good for you. So however you choose to meditate, the most important thing is that you do it in the first place!