There is no doubt that meditation benefits many. For some, however, the task may seem daunting or difficult to keep stillness. With the help of ideas from The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, here are eight ways to de-stress and practice mindfulness that are different from meditating. Mindfulness is an act of being engaged in the present, in a non-judging manner.
- Take a Nature Walk: Nature helps to get away from technological distractions such as computers, phones and television. Your attention can focus on surroundings of vibrant colors, different sounds, plants and animal life. Take note the sensations your body feels before, during and after the hike and if they change along the way. Find new places to explore in Outdoor Guides.
- Gardening: You can simply go into your backyard or patio to get in touch with nature! The act of getting your hands in the dirt and touching the plants is an act of mindfulness that will calm the mind. Take it deeper into the present and note the sensations of touching the dirt, different colors of the plants, how your stress levels feel and the sounds of digging into the dirt or the crunching of leaves.
- Get Out Your Coloring Book! Yes, just like you did when you were a child! You get to be creative, keep focus (read: mindful) by staying within the lines and relieve stress. There are coloring books geared toward adults, too!
- Dance: Try dancing to your favorite music at home or take a class. Let your body feel the beat and move as it wants. If you take a class, your mind will need to be completely focused on what you are doing…giving you little opportunity to think about anything else.
- Mindful Exercise: Any type of exercise can be mindful. It just requires one to be present and focused on what is happening in the body: sensations, awareness of movement, the breath and attention to form. If you take a class such as yoga, tai chi or Pilates, the experience may be enhanced with the instructor guiding you through the movements to keep you in good form and present in the moment so your thoughts have little opportunity to wander.
- Yoga: One form of mindful exercise, yoga uses the body as a focus which enables the mind to be calm. Try these five poses to do in the morning, from MindBodyGreen.
- Play an Instrument: Instruments are another creative outlet that can bring mindfulness to your day. You don’t need to be experienced and some instruments including the drum, gong and chimes allow you to play away! Focusing on what you will do and how you will play allows the mind to stay present and focused on the activity.
- Watch a Sunset: Another encounter with nature, just seeing the sunset can make all of one’s cares and worries leave the mind. Look at the colors, where light reflects and the sensations you feel in your body as a result.