Practicing mindfulness has so many benefits. It can help improve our mental and physical well-being, increase our focus and concentration, and reduce stress and anxiety.
But what if the most commonly suggested mindfulness practices don’t feel right for you? What if you can’t seem to stick to a regular practice?
Here are some alternatives to mindfulness that may be more your style and can give you results, even if you don’t practice them on a routine basis. You can do these while sitting or standing, with your eyes open or closed.
Heartfulness is a practice that focuses on the heart center rather than on the breath as in traditional mindfulness.
Begin by placing your hand on your heart and bringing your attention to the sensation of your heartbeat. You may also want to feel the warmth of your hand on your heart. Then, simply observe your thoughts and emotions. Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling in the moment.
A body scan is another alternative to mindfulness that involves systematically paying attention to each part of your body, from head to toe.
To get started, bring your attention to your breath and allow your body to relax. Then, perform a mental scan of every inch of your body. Feel the pressure on your feet or back, the sensation of your clothing on your skin, and the temperature of the air around you. Notice any tension in your body and deliberately relax those muscles.
Visualization is a mindfulness practice that involves creating mental images of calming or peaceful scenes.
Begin by visualizing a relaxing environment, such as a beach, a forest, or even your happy place. Pay attention to the details of your environment, such as the sound of the waves or the smell of the trees. Allow yourself to stay in this peaceful place for as long as you like.
Sound meditation is a mindfulness practice that involves focusing on sounds, either externally or internally.
Notice the sound of the wind, birds, traffic, or anything else. You can also focus on sounds internally, such as your breath or your heartbeat.
Movement meditation is a mindfulness practice that involves incorporating movement into your meditation practice.
To get started, focus on your breath and allow your body to relax. Then, slowly move your body in any way that feels comfortable. You can sway back and forth, twist your torso, or even walk slowly. Pay attention to the sensation of your body moving and the feeling of your feet on the ground.
Gratitude meditation is a mindfulness practice that involves focusing on the things in your life that you’re grateful for.
Sit or stand in a comfortable position and bring your attention to your breath. Then, start thinking of things or people in your life that you’re grateful for. It could be your family, friends, pets, or even the roof over your head. Allow yourself to feel the warmth of gratitude in your heart.
While similar to movement meditation, productive meditation focuses on achieving a goal outside of yourself through movement.
To start, choose a goal or task that you would like to achieve. It could be something as simple as making your bed, vacuuming, scrubbing the tub, or even doing the dishes. Just try to find a goal that has a certain amount of repetition involved.
Then, focus on your breath and allow your body to relax as you work on the task. As you move towards your goal, pay attention to the sensation of your body and the feeling of your feet on the ground or the warm water on your hands. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment.
As you can see, there are many different alternatives and variations to mindfulness practices, each with its own unique benefits. By incorporating mindfulness into your daily life in a way that works for your needs, you can learn to live in the present moment and find peace and joy in simple things.