You don't need to sit still on a pillow to get many of the benefits of mindfulness, science shows.
I've probably written a dozen articles over the years about the benefits of mindfulness, how it impacts the brain, and how simple it is to get started with meditation. And yet I confess I have personally never managed to keep up a consistent meditation practice.
At least I know I'm not alone. Experts reassure struggling meditation newbies that just sitting still and breathing can be way harder than it first seems. And if that doesn't work to alleviate my guilt, then I also remember this post highlighting the wisdom of Wharton professor Adam Grant and author Oliver Burkeman, arguing there are many other ways to practice mindfulness aside from classic meditation.
You don't need to meditate to practice mindfulness. After being harassed for years by mindfulness's many boosters, Grant finally took to The New York Times to argue that meditation isn't for everyone. Many people, he explains, find other ways to quiet their brains, be in the present moment, and reduce their stress.
Burkeman concurred in the Guardian, writing "I have a personal theory that almost everyone secretly meditates, whether they realize it or not....almost everyone pursues some activity demanding absolute presence of mind: if not mountain climbing or sailing or bike racing (where a lapse of attention might mean death), then photography or singing or recreational cookery (where a lapse of attention means you'll screw things up)."
If these smart guys are to be believed, then I probably have another way to clear my mind, and keep myself in the present (probably running, gardening, and cooking). But what other activities can function as everyday mindfulness exercises with some of its benefits?
Everyday meditation alternatives If you're looking for some ideas then look no further than a recent TED Ideas post by designer, and author Ingrid Fetell Lee. Fetell Lee also struggled with meditation until her therapist suggested some people simply just aren't a good fit for a traditional practice (particularly those with unresolved trauma). Fetell set out to find alternatives that would work better for those like her, sharing a few she discovered in her post:
BY JESSICA STILLMAN, CONTRIBUTOR, INC.COM
Photo credit: Pexels
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