Meditation is scientifically proven to lower your stress and help make you happier, but it’s not always easy to try to empty your mind for a long period of time. If you’re having trouble with meditating, here are 5 different ways of meditation or alternatives to meditation for people who don’t want to meditate or don’t like meditating.
Note: I have no idea if these different ways of meditation have the same scientific benefit of actual meditation, but the main goal is to help you be more relaxed and less stressed, so just find something that works for you. 🙂
5 Alternatives to Meditation | Meditation Alternatives | Different Ways of Meditation
1. Candle gazing meditation
In this “meditation,” you simply light a candle and watch the flame flickering and moving. Watching a candle burn can be weirdly relaxing! I like to use a Root Geranium Lavender candle for special occasions, but any candle with a relaxing scent will work. 🙂
2. Nature walk meditation
For this one, instead of sitting still somewhere, you just go for a nice, leisurely stroll outside, preferably around some nature or greenery. Nature and walking are both good for you, so this one packs a two-in-one benefit.
3. Do a legs up the wall pose
There is a yoga pose where you literally scoot yourself over to the wall as close as possible and then put your legs up vertically against the wall while your head and torso is flat on the ground. It looks kind of weird but it’s nice to just sit there for a while and relax.
4. Watch the sunset or sit under the stars
Find out what time the sun is setting on the day you want to do this and then either go outside or watch the sun setting from a window. If you just sit there and try to quiet your mind, it’s a lot like meditating but you’ll know you’re done once the sun goes down so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of how long you’ve been “meditating.”
Or if you want to wait a few hours later into the night… I used to sit out on the patio late at night and just look up at the stars through the screen and think. Night time is really peaceful because it’s quieter and a lot of people have gone to sleep, so it feels like you have the whole world to yourself. For this one I wasn’t really trying to clear my thoughts but just let my mind wander wherever it wanted to go.
5. Hand wash the dishes
One of my favorite meditation activities is washing the dishes. To be honest I usually leave my dishes in the sink until I’ve completely run out of dishes (no dishwasher), but then I’ll do all of them at once. It actually only takes me a few minutes, but if you just focus completely on the task at hand, it’s almost a form of meditation.
This could be applied to any kind of cleaning or organizing task, which is probably why from time to time I get in the mood to do a lot of cleaning and organizing. 🙂
Instead of dreading things like this, now you can see it as a time of self care, because you get to meditate! Wash each dish carefully, as if that’s the only task in the world you’ll ever have to do. Turn on the water mindfully, scrub the dishes mindfully, and rinse and dry them mindfully.
Take it one step at a time and don’t try to multitask. Just focus on one dish, one sink, one task at a time.
In this way, you can meditate doing almost any task.
How to Meditate Without Really Trying
I’ve found the easiest way to add meditation to your life with minimal effort (because let’s be real… we’re all secretly a little lazy ;)) is to focus your attention on doing some slow, repetitive task.
The best tasks for this are things like washing the dishes, vacuuming, folding laundry, etc. For example, if you were going to meditate while folding laundry, it’s possible to still your mind while still completing the action.
Focus in on the present moment and really be aware of what you’re doing. Instead of thinking about how your day was or how much left is still on your to-do list, simply soak in the moment of folding the piece of clothing in front of you.
You can use lots of different slow activities as a form of “meditation.” For example, sometimes in the morning when I’m drinking coffee I’ll just sit down and only drink my coffee. I’m not on my phone, I’m not working, I’m not doing anything else. I’m just enjoying slowly drinking the coffee and living in the present moment.
Another way you can meditate without really trying is by doing a candle gazing meditation. Simply light a candle and watch the flame as it flickers. It’s actually kind of mesmerizing to watch fire. 😃 Try not to think about the stress in your life or everything you need to be doing right now: just focus on the candle in front of you, appreciating this moment.
Although some people are very disciplined about their form of meditation, I take a casual approach of incorporating into every day life so it’s a daily habit that I don’t even have to think about. The easier it is you make something, the more likely it is that you’ll stick with it. 😃
Related Meditation Posts:
- Finding a Meditation Technique that Works for You
- How Meditation Can Change Your Life
- 10 Ways to Defeat Stress with Meditation
- 7 Meditation Tips for Beginners
- 7 Meditation Tracks to Calm Your Anxiety
I hope this has given you some ideas for alternative ways to meditate! If you’re not the kind of person who would love sitting in an ashram all day and meditating (a la Eat Pray Love :)), there are definitely other ways to add a little peace and quiet to your day.
If you don’t have time, try cutting out 20 minutes of something like watching tv or scrolling through Facebook and try one of these “meditations” instead. 😉
If you’d like more ways to quiet your mind and lower your stress, check out our Slow it Down class.