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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 March 13, 2019

              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

              Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

              You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

              Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

              1. Work on the small tasks.

              When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

              Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

              2. Take a break from your work desk.

              Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

              Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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              3. Upgrade yourself

              Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

              The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

              4. Talk to a friend.

              Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

              Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

              5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

              If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

              Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

              Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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              6. Paint a vision to work towards.

              If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

              Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

              Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

              7. Read a book (or blog).

              The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

              Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

              Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

              8. Have a quick nap.

              If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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              9. Remember why you are doing this.

              Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

              What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

              10. Find some competition.

              Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

              Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

              11. Go exercise.

              Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

              Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

              As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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              Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

              12. Take a good break.

              Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

              Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

              Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

              Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

              More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

              Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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