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When you read the word “meditation,” an image probably comes to mind.

It likely has to do with sitting in a serene setting with your eyes closed, on a pillow, in silence. While this form of meditation is great, it’s by far the only way to practice mindfulness.

I like to think of meditation and mindfulness as any activity that gets me out of my head, into my body, and into the present moment.

If you have some resistance to the traditional, butt-on-a-pillow form of meditation, try starting with these less intimidating mindfulness practices.

 

Do a “boring” thing with intention

I usually try to make chores like sweeping or washing dishes more bearable by distracting myself with a podcast or daydreaming. But when I try bringing my attention to the task at hand, chores can be fulfilling in themselves. As David Cain puts it, sometimes the secret to enjoying life is to decide to enjoy life’s mundane moments: 

“Life’s enjoyment isn’t all locked up in the things we want to do. There’s enjoyment available to us in almost all of the obligatory maintenance stuff too. It is possible to enjoy standing in line at the deli, sweeping the floor, turning the compost pile, sitting in traffic, and untangling Christmas lights—unless we see those parts of life simply as obstacles to the enjoyable parts, as we often do.”

 

Walking

Try leaving your earbuds at home for this one. On your walk, notice the sounds of birds, the feeling of your feet on the pavement or grass, the wind blowing through the trees, or the hum of activity in the neighborhood. Mindful walking is also a particularly great activity for us during this time of quarantine – it's the perfect excuse to get outside.

 

Coloring and collaging

Coloring is already one of our favorite activities for relaxing and unwinding. (I mean, have you seen our coloring books?) Try coloring with your favorite instrumental music in the background, or maybe no music at all. Put your phone in another room. Be present in the action of coloring – notice the color transferring from the utensil to the paper. 

Collaging is another great mindful craft to try – it doesn't have to have any end goal or particular purpose. Allow your mind to rest while cutting up paper, arranging cutouts, and adhering them to another surface.

 

Eat mindfully

Do you usually eat lunch in front of your laptop or with your phone? If you do, you're not alone. But it's hard to listen to our body's needs when we're distracted. Try to make your next meal a mindful one by practicing gratitude, thinking about where your food came from, and noticing the flavors and textures of what you're eating.

 

Journaling

If you're having trouble calming your thoughts, journaling is the perfect way to acknowledge them and externalize them from your brain. Journaling also allows you to pause for a moment and find gratefulness in your everyday. I like to journal without setting myself to a certain page count or timeframe – simply allow your thoughts to flow onto the page. When your thoughts have been emptied and you feel that you're done, you're done. You'll know.

 

Cook your favorite dish with intention

Cooking is a beautiful way to practice mindfulness. Take your time while cooking (or baking) and recognize every ingredient. How does it smell, taste, and feel? Enjoy stirring the pot, whisking the bowl, or slicing up your ingredients. Try to keep distractions away, and simply focus on the art of making a nourishing meal.

 

Try meditating again

Once you have incorporated active meditation into everyday activities, you may feel ready again to try a seated meditation. Your mind will likely feel clearer, and your body more ready to seek the stillness of meditation. Give it another try, and see if it can further enhance your mindfulness. Try an app like Headspace, Calm, or Insight Timer for guided meditations.

 

What's your favorite form of active meditation? Let us know on Instagram – we'd love to hear about it.