Some people never sit still, and sitting quietly to meditate—even just for 10 minutes—is akin to torture. Every good meditation practice should revolve around what works best for you as an individual, so if you’re not prone to quiet moments and cross-legged positions, we present four mindfulness hacks.
These techniques can help you reap the benefits of meditation while sidestepping the discomfort (or at least distracting you from it).
1. Active Meditation
If you seldom sit still, it’s likely that you enjoy walking, running or biking. Many cultures have ancient traditions of meditations that involve movement (think, for example, of the Whirling Dervishes), so it’s natural for modern society to also move and meditate. As you walk, run or cycle, ditch the headphones and focus on the actual experience. Pay attention to the sensations you feel physically. What do you feel? Is it the breeze on your face, the sweat trickling down your back or the churning of your legs? What sounds do you hear? What smells? Choose one sensation and focus on it for 10 minutes, allowing your mind to explore how it feels from every possible angle.
2. Mastication Meditation
Even if you don’t sit down much, you still gotta eat. As you nibble (or drink), slow down to feel the textures in your mouth, the response of your tongue, the sensations in your throat or stomach. Savor the smell and every bit of the flavor. Instead of focusing on a complete meal, try starting with a piece of fruit, a chunk of chocolate or a raw vegetable. You can expand the menu once you master mindfulness in small bites.
3. Focal Point Meditation
Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by a fire, the clouds floating across the sky or even a lava lamp? Light a candle, lie on your back outside or dig deep for that old lava lamp and focus your gaze. Stare. Your attention will be held without effort. Then simply observe what you see and let all other thoughts fall away.
4. Monotony Meditation
What chores are on your to-do list? Do you need to fold laundry? Mow the lawn? Wash the car? Vacuum the house? Water the garden? Good. While you’re at it, consider these moments an opportunity to be mindful of the task at hand. Focusing intently on what you’re doing, as opposed to letting your mind wander freely as it often does during such monotonous duties, will keep your mind in the present.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Don’t worry if it seems like everyone else is sitting like a yogi. Explore to find what works best for you.