Mindfulness is a conscious state of calm that evokes an awareness of the present moment. When you are mindful, you are able to objectively gauge your own thoughts and feelings at a glance. When you are mindful, you enable yourself to fully live in the moment, and you are thus awake to all you are experiencing.
Meditation yields the same results, but many people are intimidated to begin the practice. If this is you, start with mindfulness! It's a great way to achieve the same results, using similar techniques and applying them to your daily life. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace, and love.”
Below are 8 mindfulness alternatives to meditation:
Yes – cleaning can be meditative! It can be vacuuming, washing the dishes or doing laundry – presence can be brought into every aspect of our lives. Focus on the suds of the dish soap, or the coarse texture of the sponge. When you immerse yourself fully in the task at hand, you allow yourself to actually experience every aspect of that moment. Hey! You missed a spot!
Nothing special is needed for this method. Just choose a time and place and go! While you stroll, let your thoughts pass you by like clouds floating in the sky. Be mindful of your body and become aware of your movements. Acknowledge your feet as they touch the Earth or the way your arms move. When you focus on your body, you are being mindful.
3. Listening to Music
Within the last 24 hours, odds are you have had headphones in your ears or music playing through your speakers. Yet when was the last time you actually listened to music? When was the last time you gave your full attention to the lyrics, the instruments, the rhythm or the harmonies? Mindfulness gets you out of your head, and when you properly digest a song, it becomes an enjoyable form of meditation.
This is a fantastic form of meditation because you can only go so long before you are forced to move into the present moment as you move to the beat. Once we start dancing, we become one with the music. It is good to let go of your inhibitions and have some fun!
Yoga is meditation in motion. Each movement you make on your mat requires an inhale and an exhale. Breath is the quickest way to bring you back to the present moment. When you are doing yoga, you are focusing on yourself, which makes you aware of everything around you as well as within you, both physically as well as mentally and emotionally.
6. Tai Chi
This is also a form of moving meditation. Tai Chi involves movement, breath, concentration and healing, which helps build awareness and mindfulness. The slow, calculated movements help to improve balance, strength and energy flow but also mental concentration and focus.
We did it as kids, so why can't we have the same fun as adults? Mindful coloring books are becoming all the rage, and for good reason! When we color and create something beautiful, everything fades away and we get lost in the beauty. Coloring helps ease stress and anchor you to the present moment.
8. Conscious Breathing
If you have a pulse, you're breathing. Your body has known how to do this since birth. When you take a moment to listen to your breath, you become aware of the way it moves through your nose, down your throat, and into your lungs. Pay no mind to intrusive thoughts that might bother you throughout the day – just keep breathing, and let the rest fall into place.
Being mindful helps you gain control of your emotional and mental state. It gives you the power to be an arbiter of change, rather than a pawn to be played. “Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and now.” – Thich Nhat Hanh