When Meditation Escapes You
Meditation takes practice and mental preparation. If you find it difficult to quiet your mind when you’ve attempted to sit down and meditate, or doze off rather than feeling calmed, connected, and euphoric, this article is for you. Here we will explore alternatives to meditation that will help you to de-stress, release tension, and approach your day to day with a clearer mind. Because peace and tranquility are experiences we could all use a bit more of during these trying times, engage in a bit of self-care today and continue reading to find out which method would suit you best.
Write it Out
Whether you prefer journaling to sort out your thoughts or creative writing such as poetry or short stories to organize the ideas bouncing around in your active mind, the benefits of writing are endless. Not only are you able to slow down your thoughts long enough to analyze what occurred and put it down on paper (or screen), but writing also allows you to practice articulation of words and may even inspire you to expand your vocabulary as you search for just the right words to explain your point of view. If you write often enough, you may even find an outlet in virtual writing groups or open mics.
Another alternative to meditation is Yoga. Yoga originated in what is now India and was first recorded 2,000 years ago in “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”. This book describes the practice of Yoga as the “cessation of mind wandering.” If you have never attempted Yoga before, you can find many videos on YouTube for beginners and beyond. Yoga consists of deep breathing that coincides with body movements that lengthen and strengthen your muscles, so the benefits of Yoga are numerous. While you strengthen your mental focus with Yoga practice, you are strengthening your body as well, two things many ancient Yoga practitioners believed were inextricably connected.
If you have attempted meditation, you know one of the first steps many guides suggest beginners engage in is paying attention to breathing. This is the main principle of conscious breathing. While we all breathe every day, it is rare that we notice the sound of our breath and pay attention to whether it is fast, slow, deep, or shallow. If you feel overwhelmed, or you just want to take a moment for yourself, breathe in deeply and slowly and pay attention to where the breath goes before you release it in a controlled manner. Do it again and again, each time attempting to make your breaths longer and more relaxed. You may find that by controlling your breath to be longer without forcing your breath in and out, you will feel an immense release of weight from your shoulders. Do this as often as needed. And if this form of meditation works for you, try exploring breathwork, a form of meditation centered around intense breathing exercises.
Listening to, singing, or playing music are activities that can induce feelings of euphoria and calmness that are similar to the states of being that are experienced when you meditate. The ancient practice of chanting while you meditate is one example of the power of intonations. Meditation music while you sleep is one of the easiest alternatives to mindful meditation and it is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized when you wake up in the morning. The act of practicing singing or playing an instrument is also an excellent way to clear the mind and calm the nerves. You may also enjoy playing calming music you know and love, and singing along as loud as you can in your car or in the shower. The main idea is to release tension and clear the mind.
Yet another alternative to meditation is going outside to take in nature. Whether you live by a beach, in the desert, the mountains, or the open prairie, beauty can be found in the sky, on the earth, and in the water. Getting outside for a walk through the trees, going for a dip in the ocean, river, or in a lake (if open and available), or even taking in the expanse of the open sky can bring you calm and lift your spirits. Be one with nature, and be restored.
Aromatherapy can be achieved in a number of ways, including Epsom salt baths with essential oils, burning candles, and diffusing essential oils with steam. One bath recipe for relaxing the mind and body consists of one cup of baking soda, a handful of Epsom salt, and 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil. If you’re looking for a bit more of an energy boost, you may find lemon or orange essential oils to be more beneficial than lavender. If you invest in a diffuser, all you need is to add water, a few drops of essential oil, and you’ll have a pleasing scent wafting through your home or office in no time. Burning candles is also a great way to calm the vibrations of a room or infuse it with energy. For instance, burning rosemary-infused candles can increase mental focus, ease stress, reduce minor aches and pains, and repel insects.
Find Your Calm
Any of these methods may help to bring clarity to your mind and peace to your soul. You may even find that after practicing one or more of these alternatives to meditation, you are more inclined to attempt mindful meditation again. Whether you choose to write, stretch, breathe, vibe out to music, commune with nature, or enjoy the scents of aromatherapy, do it for you, because you deserve it!
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