By: Sarah Hoftstedt, CSUN Public Health Intern
Clear your mind. Be calm. Don’t think about the dirty dishes in the sink. Or the exam next week, or the fact that your car’s air conditioner probably needs fixing. Don’t think about that one time you embarrassed yourself in front of your sixth grade class. Clear your mind… Wait, did you remember to feed your roommate’s goldfish?!
There is no doubt that meditation is a proven stress-reducing method. Sometimes, meditation can seem impossible. How are we supposed to be quiet and mindful when stressors are around every corner? Sitting on the floor and trying to think about nothing can even inspire anxiety in some people, defeating the whole purpose of meditation. Here are some alternatives to traditional meditation that may suit your lifestyle:
Yes, it’s that simple. Just by paying close attention to the way your body draws breath, you can reap the benefits of mindfulness. There are plenty of breathing exercises to try, but even just breathing in and out slowly and deeply is relaxing to both the body and mind.
Take a walk (outside)
You don’t have to sit still to be mindful. Walking in nature is healthy for your body and your mind. Walking in nature can boost your immune system because of its relaxing effects, making it a great way to experience an active mindful state.
For those who struggle with sorting through their thoughts to get to a meditative state, free-writing is a great alternative. The linear nature of writing forces you to have a less judgmental view of your own thoughts, allowing you work through and understand them.
Visualization is part of many meditations, but not everyone can visualize themselves in a meadow at sunset very easily. Coloring is an option for all ages, not just kids. It engages the hands and mind while keeping you focused on the image in front of you.
Having a clean space is great for your health. Cleaning is a way to feel connected to yourself and your home, and has the added benefit of making your house presentable so you don’t panic when you have company!