Stress is a major factor in our lives. You probably don’t have time to do everything you want in a day. So when health articles tell you that meditation is key for many ailments, you may roll your eyes. If you really aren’t into the spiritual aspects of meditation, there are all sorts of ways you can get similar benefits.
Fishing is a type of meditation and so is just sitting out and getting a sun blast on your patio. Labeling your moments of relaxation as meditation may be off-putting. The thing is, being mindful is something natural for all of us. It’s an ancient tradition that goes back centuries because it’s a part of what we do as humans.
We solve problems by letting go of trying to solve problems. When we are still and can just be, we allow ourselves to become calm. In the calm is the clarity. Meditation benefits are vast but you don’t have to sit cross-legged for hours in the calm.
Meditation does offer these health benefits:
- Heart health.
- A naturally more positive attitude about life and the changes that come with it.
- More clarity.
- The ability to sleep better.
- Less stress in your life.
How can you get these essential benefits without being too spiritually committed?
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Hang Out by the Waters’ Edge
Sit beside a river, and focus on the sound of the rushing water. Close your eyes and listen to the different rocks being thrown around beneath the surface of the water. Then focus in on the sound of the river as it flows away from you – see how far downstream you can hear the river’s sounds. Next, try just watching the flow of the water. Allow the moving water to mesmerize you a little bit. Try staring through it to the rocks on the riverbed. Then allow your eyes to go out of focus slightly, like you’re “zoning out” or as if you are looking through the water and the rocks.
Expand Your Mind with a Puzzle
Do a puzzle. Working on a complicated puzzle can be a great way to “meditate”. Do your puzzle in silence or with music that won’t distract, if you have trouble concentrating. Stay entirely focused on the task at hand, allowing thoughts to come and go from your mind, but not really thinking about anything in particular. Puzzles that have repetitive patterns can be quite meditative, but can also be frustrating. The benefit of doing an easier puzzle is that you will stay relaxed, and also that you feel rewarded when you make a connection.
A Gentle Wake Up
Try waking up slowly on a day when you have the opportunity to wake up naturally. Waking up without an alarm clock, try to gently fall back asleep. Stay in the in-between state of being awake and being asleep. Allow thoughts to come and go. Be as natural as possible, moving and stretching as long as you don’t wake up too much.
Sitting by a Campfire
Whenever you sit by a campfire, you likely zone out a little right? Everybody gets a little quieter as they spend time outside at night. The fire changes and shifts in the gentle wind and if you watch it long enough, it’s almost hypnotizing. A fire, being one of the natural elements, is known to have a powerful meditative effect on people. The sounds of the wood crackling and the sound of flames roaring as they get that burst of oxygen. Some will say that looking into the soul of a fire can offer purification for those looking.
Think of how easy it is to just let all thoughts dissipate as you fully invest in the moment of being by a fire. This is all that meditation is. Just being in the moment, experiencing things with your senses.
Spending Time in Your Garden
Another great way to spend hours outdoors is to keep up your garden. Even if you live in a small apartment with no balcony, people are coming up with ways to have their own little garden. It’s good for the soul and offers something nature-based that comes from Mother Nature. Nurturing life is a way to bring yourself close to the universal energy. As you take in the garden set up, your inner voice won’t have time to sabotage your happiness. Your focus will be on uprooting weeds that are trying to suffocate the garden you’ve worked so hard on. Dig up the soil and focus on how you’re rejuvenating the earth.
Caring for your plants can evoke thoughts of what life is about and the regeneration process. These types of thoughts come up as we meditate so it can be a similar experience.
Your daily exercise routine is an opportunity to let everything go from your mind. Actually, when you mindfully do sports, you also prevent injuries from occurring. If you go for a run, focus on all the aspects of your body. Be thankful for your powerful legs that allow you to move so swiftly. Be grateful for your beating heart that works so hard for you to live and thrive.
Focusing on your breathing is a big part of meditation and it’s also really important for running. Breathing into your lungs helps you to run for longer. Breathing into the parts that ache from exercise can help ease the stress you’ve put onto them. As you mindfully run, you may notice that negative statements float through your head. See how this affects the difficulty to continue pushing yourself.
Those negative voices can have a negative impact on your daily exercises. You may stop working out sooner just because your mind got bored. When you focus on what’s actually going on, this is just like meditation. It can make you a more athletic person and you can learn to overcome the mind’s chatter. Meditation can literally be used in any of your favorite activities. Fishing, taking a shower, eating and swimming are just a few more general examples. Yoga is not only a good stretch but can be collaborated well with mindfulness and meditation. As you shut out your inner voice and experience moments that are in front of you, you are reaping the wonderful benefits of meditation on your own terms.
There are many ways in which we can come into a state of relaxation, and even meditation, when we simply relax and take in our natural surroundings. Try one of these simple techniques today and find your inner meditator!