I am a big believer in meditation, and the benefit it has for recovery (which is why we mention it quite often on the website).
Too often though, we think we need a meditation room and fold ourselves into a lotus position to even attempt meditation. That is not the case at all really. You can meditate whenever, wherever, AND you don’t even have to sit down to do it! That means that really everyone can give meditation a try, even if you have 2 kids, 3 dogs and a parakeet.
“I struggled and pushed myself to meditate properly with little success, until I realized that any act can be a meditation” (From How to Meditate at Any Time without Meditating by Amanda Cook).
Meditation Is Here and Now
When meditating, you just slow down. You take a moment, just to quiet the world and center your focus on your own body and mind, making that connection with the here and now. Do you know that saying: ‘when you are depressed you live in the past, when you are anxious you live in the future?’ It may be a simplification of life (as so many quotes and sayings are), but the act of keeping your focus on the here and now does help manage your well-being.
And don’t think for a moment that meditation is about controlling your breath, and changing your posture. It is just about noticing your breath and your posture. And maybe the barking of the dog next door, the feeling of the upholstery against your arm or the smell of the grass being cut outside. Here. Now.
“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
For me, reestablishing that connection makes me feel more balanced, more in control. That is what helps me deal with triggers and memories when they overwhelm me, or helps me quiet the anxiety when I hear my abusive mother’s voice in my head.
“Even short stints of meditation have a positive effect on the brain’s ability to concentrate. That in turn makes it easier to focus, retain memories, and be more productive. On a more circumstantial level, meditation can also help you avoid information overload to help reduce the amount of noisy news around you all the time” (From Is Meditation Really Beneficial, or Is It Just Ridiculous? by Thorin Klosowski).
Meditation Without Meditating
I know meditation is not for everyone, and even if you do enjoy the activity life sometimes just gets in the way. Luckily there are so many activities that you can do, that give you that same opportunity to slow down and connect. Give them a try and find out which ones work best in your life, fit best around your family and responsibilities.
“You can manifest an informal practice within your daily habits. You don’t have to change your routine all that much: All it takes is tweaking your intention” (From How To Meditate Without Meditating At All by Kate Bratskeir).
They are gaining so much popularity, and rightly so. Sitting down with a coloring page and getting busy with your felt tips is a great way to meditate. Bonus, you can do this together with the kids too (provided you have some of those). Aubrey and I are so keen on coloring, I created a specific SwanWaters coloring book for you. You can download it for free!
Doing the Dishes
Actually it can be any cleaning task around the house, and since that stuff needs getting done anyway… The trick to any of these activities is to be mindful and aware. So try to be aware of your movements, the sensation of the warm water against your hands, the different surfaces you are touching, etc.
“What these activities have in common is the opportunity to pay attention to sense perceptions in the present moment: what one can see, hear, smell, taste or touch” (From Practicing Mindfulness Without Meditating by Karen Kissel Wegela Ph.D.).
Take a Walk (or a Run)
This one is good for the dog owners too, go outside. Go for a walk or a run and leave your phone and ipod home. Just hear the sounds, see the trees, notice the wildlife. Focus on how it feels to walk, how your breathing changes, how different surfaces feel different underneath your feet… you get the drift
Cook or Bake
Cooking or baking is a great way to connect with yourself. I especially like baking bread, because it gets your hands in there. Whatever you chose to make, make it by hand. No mechanical short-cuts, so the foodprocessor and mixer stay packed away.
“In all examples, the technique is to savor every moment of what you’re doing instead of letting your mind wander (as it naturally wants to)” (From Meditate Without Sitting Still: Turn Everyday Actions into a Practice by Melanie Pinola).