We’ve all heard that a consistent meditation practice provides some pretty amazing benefits.
Traditional meditation is wonderful if that works for you. But if you find the idea of practicing meditation intimidating, know that there are many different types of meditation that you can choose from that will still provide the same results. Meditation is easy and is accessible to everyone and it doesn’t need to be sitting in an uncomfortable cross-legged position while your legs go numb and your mind won’t stop running. Here are a few different and accessible styles of meditation you may not have heard of yet:
If you prefer to be active and breathing in fresh air while relaxing your mind, try a walking meditation. Go for a walk by yourself somewhere that you find peaceful; perhaps near some trees or a creek. Turn off your phone so that you will not be interrupted. Allow your mind to be clear as you focus on your environment, taking in all of the sights, sounds and smells along your way.
Guided visualization meditations are also a great option for people who don’t like to be left alone in silence. Rather than sitting in silence or listening to soft music, a guided visualization meditation involves a meditation instructor providing information and gently guiding you through your practice. You may be guided through grounding, centering your mind and practicing deep breathing. There are different themes for guided visualizations and you may be guided through releasing pain or trauma from the past, manifesting something you want or creating an intention. You can find guided visualizations online or in several apps.
If you like to be in nature and have access to a forest or park, you could try the Japanese practice of forest bathing called shinrin-yoku. It is a relaxation practice that evokes a calming state of being simply by surrounding yourself in the energy of nature. It was developed in Japan in the 1980’s and is seen as a form of nature therapy. Several studies have found spending time in forests demonstrated positive health effects in participants.
Find your flow state
Positive Psychology has created the term Flow State to refer to the state of being you enter when you are doing something you love. You know you’re in the Flow State when you lose all track of time and are naturally in a calm state of mind because you are so immersed in doing something you love. The Flow State is often found when doing something creative such a creating art, crafting, playing music and writing.
Take a few deep breaths
Even taking a few minutes to find stillness and take a few intentional deep breaths in and out will provide similar benefits to sitting in meditation. By focusing on the breath, you are redirecting your attention away from your busy mind toward the sensations of your body and the steady repetition of your breath. You can take a few minutes wherever you are; at work, driving or spending time with friends or family and take a couple deep breaths to center your mind and find inner stillness.
Indulge yourself by engaging in an activity that turns your focus on yourself and what your body needs. This will look different for different people. For some it’s taking a relaxing bath, for others, it’s reading a book or listening to music. The first step to get started in your self-care meditation routine is to discover what is your favorite way to take care of yourself. Once you determine that, carve out some time on your next day off of work to take care of you. Relax into the stillness and express the gratitude you have for your body for carrying you around each day.
Try out a few of these alternative meditation practices and see which one you love best. The key is to find out what works best for you. The more you love it, the more you’re likely to do it and experience the benefits of finding your inner peace on the daily.