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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 25, 2020

              How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

              How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

              When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

              So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

              1. Exercise

              It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

              2. Drink in Moderation

              I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

              3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

              Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

              4. Watch Less Television

              A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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              Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

              5. Eat Less Red Meat

              Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

              If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

              6. Don’t Smoke

              This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

              7. Socialize

              Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

              8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

              Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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              9. Be Optimistic

              Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

              10. Own a Pet

              Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

              11. Drink Coffee

              Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

              12. Eat Less

              Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

              13. Meditate

              Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

              Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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              How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

              14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

              Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

              15. Laugh Often

              Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

              16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

              Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

              17. Cook Your Own Food

              When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

              Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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              18. Eat Mushrooms

              Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

              19. Floss

              Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

              20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

              Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

              Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

              21. Have Sex

              Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

              More Health Tips

              Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

              Reference

              [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
              [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
              [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
              [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
              [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
              [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
              [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
              [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
              [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
              [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
              [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
              [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
              [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
              [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
              [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
              [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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