Meditative exercises – that’s probably a phrase you’ve never come across before.
I mean, there’s either meditation or there’s not – right?
People who can’t meditate…
Personally, I absolutely despise meditation. I can do it, but I find it boring and I am a terrible fidgeter, so I never really get the full benefit.
But I love immersing myself in doing stuff. I love putting my full focus into a game of football, getting into a flow state when I’m writing or even just the calm that cooking a meal brings about.
So actually – yes, there are meditative exercises that aren’t actually meditation. You just need to look for them.
The biggest hurdle
Your phone is going to be your biggest enemy when starting your meditative journey.
How often do you start doing something, have a quick check on your phone, then catch yourself 30 minutes later scrolling through Instagram?
I’ve done it countless times and I’m certain you have to.
Taking away your phone’s grasp on your attention should be your first step. If you’re going out and about then leave it at home. If you’re staying in and want to get in the zone, then you may have to take drastic measures. Try locking your phone away for a set amount of time.
At the end of the day, our willpower is much weaker than we think. Taking away the choice is the best option in the long run. It creates much else mental chatter and we will eventually adapt to our circumstance. Try using a kitchen safe to store distracting trinkets in. This is also useful when you’re looking to get some flow state built up during work hours too.
I can’t seem to find anything cheaper than the ‘safe’ linked above, but if you do then let me know because these things are weirdly expensive. Probs worth it though…
What is a meditative exercise?
Basically, something that gets you into a flow state.
That’s pretty much it.
Meditation quietens the mind and helps you to not get attached to your thoughts, instead, allowing them to drift on by, free of judgement.
This creates a sense of inner calm, which can also be achieved when your mind if focused on just one thing. When you are completely invested in one activity, your mind becomes instantly calm. Just think back to how engrossed in your video games and sketchbooks you were as a kid.
When was the last time you felt that connected to a task? To anything at all?
Meditative exercises tap into this zen state, letting you reap the benefits of meditation without having to be bored and sat completely still whilst doing so.
Meditative exercises to try out
There are bucketloads of meditative exercises to try out that will get your mind zen AF, but these are some of my personal favourites.
Have a read through and try to gauge whether you think you could get involved with some of these.
Walking (on one condition)
You can’t take that pesky phone.
When we go out for a walk, we have all the good intentions of getting back to nature, but then we just check the time, then just a few messages, then BAM, you’re walking with your head buried in your phone.
No earphones, audiobooks or anything else with you either. Take a little notepad out to jot down any ideas or thoughts you have so you can check them out online later if needs be.
During this time is when I always feel calmest and have some of my best ideas.
Maybe you will too.
Cooking and cleaning
Cooking and cleaning is one of the best ways to get into a flow state.
How good does it feel to whack on some tunes and just start cleaning your room? We all know that feeling of accomplishment you get when you’ve been rearranging your house for 3 hours. It’s addictive.
But don’t forget cooking either. Prepping, cooking and eating are all meditative exercises and if you really take your time, you’ll feel a huge sense of joy and calm. Make sure you keep that phone away though and really immerse yourself in it.
Adult colouring books are the cats pyjamas.
They are so effective in fact, that they are used in the treatment of PTSD. Remember how good it felt as a kid when you spent hours on that perfect drawing? Or when you had the latest and greatest Star Wars colouring book?
Well thankfully, shops are cottoning on that we adults still love a bit of childlike artistry, so grab yourself a colouring book and get involved.
This is probably my favourite.
When you’re fully engaged in sports, you don’t really have time to dwell on anything outside of the game you’re in.
There’s no time to stress, no time to worry about what you’re having for tea tonight – you’re just fully immersed in the now. Competing and being in a team are also great for mental wellbeing. Not to mention, winning creates a huge spike in Testosterone – just saying.
The gym is also a form of sport and is widely accepted as a tool for battling depression and anxiety, much like meditation. If you take one thing away from this article, let it be that.
Join a gym.
Having a good old read
Obviously this site is your best starting place for reading the best of the best… but settling down to a great book comes in at a close second.
It is so easy to lose yourself in a great book and it is infinitely more beneficial than sitting and watching Youtube and TV for 5 hours a night.
Whether it be fiction or non-fiction, it really doesn’t matter. If you can rediscover your love for the written word, you’ll become a far more zen person – that much I can guarantee.
Learn a skill
Instruments in particular are very effective at cultivating a quiet and peaceful state.
When you have to concentrate on learning a new skill, it is all you can think about at the time, because otherwise you’re not going to learn anything are you?
Things like learning to draw, paint landscapes, play guitar or even learning something left field like origami would be perfect for entering the meditative state we all crave.
If you want to try out meditation but you’ve never been able to sit and actually do it, trying out these meditative exercises may well be for you.
Try one or two out over the course of the next couple of weeks and see what happens.