Taking a break from the stresses of life is important for good mental and physical health. Oftentimes, work and life can be overwhelming and fast-paced. It is good to slow down at times and indulge in some mindfulness in order to not let our emotions get the better of us. Meditation is a great way to help us take a breather and continue with a fresh mind.
However, standard meditation is not for everyone. Not everyone is able to focus on only their thoughts or lack thereof. Some may prefer something less “passive”. Meditation is the act of using mindfulness or focus in order to achieve a calm and stable mood. There are other activities that also use mindfulness or allow us to focus on a specific thought or activity. Here are some alternatives to the standard meditation most people generally think of. Some people also consider them to be meditation. What do you think?
Breathing is an important technique in many meditation styles and for a good reason. Deep breathing exercises are beneficial for slowing things down, because that’s exactly what they do! Slow and deep breaths result in the body activating its “rest and digest” system while dimming its “fight or flight” system. When our emotions are running wild it’s often caused by our fight or flight reactions.
Taking the time to breathe for a few minutes during stressful situations will give your mind the time to relax so that you can continue with your day in a calm and collected manner.
Some may see yoga as a form of meditation already, but it is distinct. Yes, it incorporates meditation within its domain, but it also draws upon the benefits of breathing exercises and physical activity. Those who find standard meditation too boring may find yoga a pleasant activity to achieve the same sort of mindfulness and calmness because there is some movement involved.
Not only does yoga improve your mental wellbeing if done correctly, but it also positively impacts your physical health.
There’s nothing special about walking in and of itself, but when we take the time to go out for a stroll instead of using hurried strides, we allow ourselves to slow down figuratively and literally. In addition, breathing exercises combined with walking can be a powerful tool.
In order to maximise the benefits of walking, it is better to do it outside. Trying to become attuned to our surroundings is a good way to relieve ruminations and intrusive thoughts in our minds. Walking in nature compounds this effect where things are often serene. Focusing on the chirping of the birds or the flowing of a stream causes our bodies to calm down. For others, listening to some music can be a good way to relieve stress, and walking is a good time to do it as well.
Meditation techniques often involve focusing on a specific activity or sense, or allowing our thoughts to roam and taking note of them. Music provides all of that. Listening to music allows other distractions to wash away, leaving us with only one thing to focus on. Letting our minds wander can also provide a way for our stressors to stop taking up occupancy leading to us calming down.
On the other hand, playing music can do that as well. Connecting with music is often associated with catharsis and the release of our stress which can be helpful for calming down.
From one art form to another. Drawing is also associated with focus. These drawings do not need to be elaborate. Simple doodles can do just fine. They can be about something real or something not. For some, drawing “takes them out of reality” and that is the kind of feeling they may need in order to slow down.
Many people feel that they cannot draw, but colouring can achieve the same effect. Children do it, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t. Colouring patterns and mandalas can be seen as tedious, but this very “tedium” is what makes colouring an effective alternative to meditation. When we focus on one particular activity, we eventually shut out all other thoughts. This includes negative feelings that can be causing us stress or anxiety.