How would you like to be happier? Reduce stress in your life?
What about having a healthier immune system and cardiovascular profile? This, and many more benefits come from meditation. It has even been said that meditation can change the structure of your brain to cause slower aging!
We obviously need more meditation in our lives since 60-90% of doctor-type office visits each year are related
to stress. Email alerts popping up on our computer screens, Bluetooth conversations as we drive, and even telecommuting by Smartphones have us consuming as much stimulation, and striving for more productivity as a society than we ever have before. We move frantically and erratically with the pace of progress, rarely sitting still to smell the rich spices of life.
Find it hard to imagine having the patience or finding the extended time that it takes to enjoy the stillness and quiet that comes to most peoples’ minds when they think of meditation? You aren’t alone. There are many
people who would love to benefit from the practice of meditation, but just can’t seem to get with the program.
Luckily, there is more than one way to get Zen. You don’t have to chant with your string of mala beads; you don’t have to sit cross-legged for long extended periods of time to achieve your purpose; you don’t even need a quiet environment. Check out these highly enjoyable ways to get some meditative benefit without becoming a full-on monk.
Conscious breath is a tenet of meditation. Deep, purposeful breaths that completely fill the lungs with fresh oxygen, and powerful exhalations that empty the airways, are relaxing and calming. They also have the power to increase cognitive capabilities as you bring loads of fresh oxygen to the brain and nervous system. Try this one by
counting out 100 breaths, or simply setting an alarm for as little as five minutes.
You don’t have to sit in a lotus position with your legs piled on top of one another, aching back and all. Easily get all the benefits of breath awareness sitting comfortably on the couch or reclining on your bed. Be careful not to fall asleep though; by staying awake with conscious, connected deep breathing, you’ll get all the benefits of meditation, including increasing your awareness, too.
Take a Walk
Get outside people! There is fresh air, excellent exercise benefits, and even some good people-watching if you live in the city. You don’t need quiet to meditate, surprisingly. You can get out for a brisk walk, breathe the deep
taste of freedom into your lungs, and still get many of the benefits of meditation, all without sitting still.
Busy would-be meditators can kill two birds with one stone by taking a walk. Get that sorely needed stress reduction benefit, and slash a few calories while you’re at it. Start slow if you are new to walking. Even a leisurely walk around the block will give you a boost. Work your way up to a minimum of 30 minutes a day, and you can even experience better cardiovascular health, weight loss, reduced stress and more energy.
Lose yourself in the music, the moment…and call it meditation. If you think sitting still is for the birds, get out and shake it. Dancing can be downright hard work, and as we know, exercise is a form of meditation. It reduces
stress, stimulates the brain, and you know if you’re feeling your lungs and heart pumping, you’re doing it right.
The multitasking benefits of dance-meditation are profound. Get your social interaction for the night (socializing is also good for you), breathe deep and get some exercise, lose your inhibitions for a beat, and blow off some
steam. Get moving, tear up the dance floor, and enjoy the calming effects later.
Do Your Chores
Meditation is all about focus and mindfulness. You can paint this intention on any task you decide to engage in, even your chores. Mindfulness meditation slows down the thought process to digest what is happening in each moment. Focusing on the small snippets of time makes us more present in our daily lives.
Take doing the dishes for example: it’s something that you have to do nearly every day, it takes about 10-20 minutes (depending on whether the dishwasher is full), and you make repetitive movements.
Does your car need a wash? Reserve the Karate Kid jokes for now, but there is some benefit to making repetitive movements with your hands, and being completely aware of simple motions. Wax on, wax off.
Take a Long Shower
Take this with a grain of salt if your region is experiencing a drought. Otherwise, crank up the water heater, strip it down to the ground, and get wet. This is a form of hydrotherapy, which has been shown to increase circulation, detoxify, and increase focus and concentration.
Showers are physically stimulating naturally. Who doesn’t love the feel of a good strong showerhead beating on their back. You can take it to the next level with a little….here it comes again…mindfulness.
Breathe deeply, relax your hands at your side, and take five minutes to just feel the sensation of the water. Shampoo your scalp and give yourself a massage. Soap up and be consciously aware of the sensation of the loofah or
other scrubby accoutrement you choose. The meditative benefits are just a splish splash away.