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6 Alternative Forms of Meditation for People Who Hate Doing Nothing

6 Alternative Forms of Meditation for People Who Hate Doing Nothing

People have been meditating for thousands of years and for the most part it’s been practiced by monks, disciples of spirituality, and hippies. Over the last decade, however, meditation has been gaining a new fan base: scientists.

Meditation has been rigorously studied by the scientific community and the findings of these studies has alarmed everyone. Meditation, it turns out, really works. It doesn’t just help significantly with depression and anxiety, it’s also been shown to help with anti-aging, fighting infections, and even combating feelings of loneliness!

However, if you’re like me, the mere thought of doing nothing for 20 minutes stresses me out more than any amount of meditation could redeem.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of the 6 best alternative forms of meditation for the fidgeters, workaholics, ADD’ers, and multi-taskers of the world who want to get the benefits of formal meditation practice but without the ‘doing nothing’ part.

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1. Listen to Music

girl listening to music

    When was the last time you heard some music? If you’re like most people: probably within the last 24 hours. Now for the trick question… when was the last time you actually listened to music – really listened?  When was the last time you closed your eyes and listened to an album properly from beginning to end with no interruptions? If you’re like most people… you probably can’t remember.

    Meditation gets you out of your head and into the present moment by inviting you to pay attention to your sense perceptions (sight, sound, touch, etc) with 100% focus. Listening to music properly, soaking in the melodies, the harmonies, the rhythms and the timbres is a powerful and enjoyable form of meditation. Get an album you’ve wanted to listen to for some time and listen to it… really listen.

    2. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

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    two women dancing

      Dancing is the natural and optional progression from listening to music. Tribal societies have used percussive music and dance as a spiritual practice since the dawn of humanity. We’ve all had the horrible feeling of dancing while being stuck up in our head, over thinking, self-conscious and paranoid about how we look.

      In order to dance properly, we must enter into our body and become one with the music. Dancing is a fantastic form of meditation and peak experience because there’s only so long a person can dance before they’re forced to become present to the moment. Go out and dance or do it at home on your own. Let go of your self image, have fun and be silly. Why not?

      3. Draw From Observation

      medium_9737141434

        The better you see, the better you’re able to draw. Now I’m not talking about 20/20 vision, I’m talking about your ability to notice and observe the world around you. Most of us don’t know if we have roman numerals on our watches or numbers, let alone the eye colors of our own families. By drawing, you’ll be using your sight perception to get out of your head and into the moment.

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        Some of the greatest minds in history (Da Vinci, Goethe) were avid drawers. It’s a fantastic exercise for the mind because it prompts you to highlight only the important parts of the world around you. Don’t worry about the quality, it’s the process that counts. Pick a person you’re fond of and draw their face. You’ll feel much closer and compassionate towards them and maybe afterwards, towards yourself.

        4. Practice Yoga

        woman doing yoga

          Not only is yoga incredible for flexibility, fitness and strength, it’s also one of the oldest and most potent forms of meditation. You’ll be combining various movements with coordinated breathing to help you focus on your inner body. Start by watching yoga videos on YouYube, there’s hundreds to choose from – and practice them a few times a week. Don’t get caught up with all the bells and whistles, yoga is about feeling connected to the earth and your inner body. Last time I checked, that didn’t cost anything.

          5. Eat Properly

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          man eating

            In our hectic world, we’re all about getting to our destination. Eating is no different. Meditation is all about finding something and doing it with the entirety of your consciousness. But today, we no longer eat; we just swallow food in front of the TV. Rarely do we just experience and savour each bite for what it is. Rarely do we feel the texture, the sweetness and the temperature and show gratitude for the amazing variety of good tasting foods we have access too.

            The next time you eat… just eat. Pay attention to the sensations, the tastes and the smells. Take each bite at a time and savour each mouthful. To some unfortunate people in the world, the food we shovel daily down our gullets would seem like 5 star cuisine. Bear this in mind the next time you eat.

            6. Do Household Chores

            person hoovering floor

               

              If you haven’t realized yet, nearly anything can be turned into a meditative practice as long as you make the decision to leave your head and experience the world through your senses. Television, video games and reading don’t count as meditation because they just replace our own thoughts with more stimulating ones.

              This is why household chores are an excellent form of meditation. Your mind will desperately try and take over and put you up in your head to keep you entertained and stimulated. Resist the pull and focus on the task at hand. If you vacuuming, then vacuum, if you’re washing dishes, wash dishes. Presence can be brought into nearly every aspect of our lives from damaged relationships to unsatisfactory work and you’ll get the same benefits of formal meditation practice. Wax on, wax off…

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              Last Updated on July 10, 2020

              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

              How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

              We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

              We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

              So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

              Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

              What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

              Boundaries are limits

              —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

              Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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              Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

              Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

              Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

              How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

              Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

              1. Self-Awareness Comes First

              Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

              You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

              To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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              You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

              • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
              • When do you feel disrespected?
              • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
              • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
              • When do you want to be alone?
              • How much space do you need?

              You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

              2. Clear Communication Is Essential

              Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

              Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

              3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

              Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

              That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

              Sample language:

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              • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
              • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
              • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
              • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
              • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
              • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
              • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

              Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

              4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

              Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

              Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

              Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

              We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

              It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

              It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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              Final Thoughts

              Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

              Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

              Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

              The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

              Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

              Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

              They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

              Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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