Just because meditation works for me, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone.
The beauty of the human race is that we are all different, and unique in our own ways. What one person loves, another hates. What one person values, another sees it as irrelevant. We will come across situations where people’s opinions conflict all the time, so of course, self-help is the same. Everybody deals with their thoughts and emotions in totally different ways, and we all have totally different strategies that help us to move past our negative emotions. Yes, I meditate. However, there are several other ways I practice self-care, that you can use as alternatives for meditation if you wish to – they will be just as beneficial in terms of improving your concentration, your overall wellness, and of course, your negative thought patterns.
Adult colouring books.
One method I use is colouring. (Yes, I did just say colouring, and yes, I’m aware I’m not 6 years old anymore). There are hundreds of adult colouring books out there, that all focus on different things. I have a ‘Can’t Sleep Colouring Book’, which I always get out when I should be going to bed but just can’t seem to drift off. Just 30 minutes of colouring later and I’m ready to put my head down and start counting sheep! There’s hundreds of different varieties; some for anti-stress, some for relaxation, some for therapy, some for anything that you may need it for. So, what are you waiting for? Dig out those colouring pencils and dedicate a certain amount of time each day to add a bit more to your masterpiece!
Another form of self-care that can replace meditation is listening to calming music. Again, you would need to dedicate a certain amount of time each day to do this, as you would with meditation, in order for it to have a similar effect. As I’m a student, I have my Spotify Premium account at half price – so I take full advantage of this by following a huge number of calming playlists.
Everybody’s taste in music is going to be different, but my favourite playlists are Meditation Relaxation, Calm Vibes, and Your Coffee Break. The key to achieve best results by listening to calming music is to just listen to it, and do nothing else. It can be tempting to play around on your phone or do something else whilst listening, but it is important to take out a small amount of time to just focus on yourself, listen to the music and allow it to resonate within you.
Many people who don’t enjoy meditation, much prefer to practice yoga. In some ways, yoga is the same as meditation, but instead movement is incorporated into it. For those who are really busy in their everyday lives, it can be hard to actually just sit and be, so yoga can be a great alternative. There are hundreds of yoga apps that you can download (on both Android and iOS) that can show you different poses to try, and even walk you through the process of how to perform each pose in the most beneficial way. My favourites are Daily Yoga, Down Dog, and Yoga Studio. A lot of people disregard yoga before they begin because they ‘aren’t flexible’, but let me tell you – I am not flexible in the slightest!! Everybody is a beginner when they start anything new, you will grow to love it if you practice it enough!
This is a much easier than performing meditation each day, because you can practice gratitude at any point throughout your day. And surprisingly, it has similar effects to meditation, as long as a considerable amount of thought is put into it. Personally, I have a gratitude journal. Each day, or whenever I feel that it is necessary, I write down the date, and what I am grateful for that day. This can be anything from ‘I’m grateful that I am in good health’, to something more specific, like ‘I am grateful that I completed my exam today’. The importance of this task is that you write down anything that you are personally grateful for, and not to seek gratitude from elsewhere. Reflecting on what you are gratituous about can work wonders for your wellbeing, and have the similar impact to what you would achieve through meditation.
I would love to hear about your experiences of these alternatives to meditation, and if you find them useful! If you have any other techniques for practicing mindfulness in your everyday life, please feel free to comment below!