“I can’t meditate.”
I hear this a lot in my community, with friends and clients. And it bums me out because meditation can be so good for us. And while I totally understand WHY people feel this way. I think it’s a) false and b) the result of a misconception about what meditation is.
Meditation is not about thinking about nothing.
“Contrary to popular misconception, meditation is more than just thinking about nothing (that’s reserved for Zen masters and dead people),” says traditional self-help skeptic, ABC News “Nightline” Co-Anchor, and Author of 10% Happier, Dan Harris. “Even those of us with short attention spans can learn to focus for the nanoseconds it takes to meditate.”
Meditation’s benefits come from being focused only on our breath, without expectations or judgment, for nanoseconds at a time. NANOSECONDS at a time. Letting go of expectations and truly appreciating those nanoseconds of quiet has had a massively positive impact on my meditation practice.
Even those of us with short attention spans (like you, me and Dan Harris) can learn to focus for nanoseconds at a time.
If you’re still not sold on traditional meditation, but want a few ways to test the waters, here are 3 Meditation Alternatives to Help You Find Peace.
Yoga is practiced in many forms, all which can be beneficial to health. Yin yoga is a restorative type of yoga meaning it is focused on using breath to calm the mind and body. What’s unique about this practice is that you hold gentle poses for one to twenty (!) minutes. It’s engaging while also being very quiet and incredibly relaxing. Try this free evening yoga sequence which prepares your body for deep relaxation and sleep.
If you’re a person with a busy mind (Squirrel!), rather than sitting with your eyes closed, this active form of meditation consists of moving through your environment while staying consciously aware. It’s great for connecting you to your body AND nature. Walking can be a great alternative to sitting, especially on days when you’re feeling extra restless. One of my favorite tracks to listen to while I’m mindfully walking is a guided meditation by Bellaruth Napersek called, Walking Meditation (available on iTunes). Her soothing tone inspires you to slow down and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.
If you have a hard time quieting your mind (and really, who doesn’t?) guided meditations might be your jam. In a guided meditation, you listen to an instructor who helps you take small steps to a more peaceful mindset. A couple of great resources for guided meditation are Buddhify, an app that is also available on Spotify and SoundCloud. Buddhify takes a creative and incredibly modern approach to meditations with sessions such as “Couch: A meditation for an online work break,” and “Flip: A meditation for when you’re feeling stressed.”
Do you have an alternative to traditional meditation that you love? Share it with me by commenting below?