How to Be Mindful if You Hate Meditating – TIME
There’s a certain disconnect that plagues almost everyone nowadays: Your body is doing one thing—sitting in a meeting, eating dinner with the family—while your brain is miles away.
Some might call it multitasking, but mental-health experts say it’s more problematic. Corrie Goldberg, a clinical psychologist and founder of Shore Therapy Center for Wellness in the Chicago area, says that a lack of mindfulness can deprive us of a deep connection to our most meaningful experiences. “Our body moves through the motions of life, but our head isn’t in the game,” she says. Not being grounded in the moment—instead allowing our thoughts to skip from place to place—is an open invitation to stress and unpleasant emotions. “Our minds tend to focus on worries about the future, or upsets from the past, even when our body may be in a neutral or pleasant place.”
Enter mindfulness. The now-ubiquitous concept, which is rooted in Buddhism, has surged in popularity in recent years and is generally defined as turning your attention inward and maintaining an awareness of your thoughts, bodily sensations, and environment. The benefits are vast. A mindfulness practice can help lower stress, reduce anxiety (as effectively as medication, in some cases), increase a person’s capacity to savor positive experiences, stop rumination, promote concentration, and more.
Mindfulness can also help cure the blahs. Three years into the pandemic, Kelly Neupert, a psychotherapist in Chicago, says that many of her clients feel like they’re languishing. Becoming more mindful has helped them get in touch with what they’re feeling and why, she says—and cultivated a greater capacity to handle life’s curveballs. After adopting a mindfulness practice, “I typically see that they’re less reactive and more intentional,” Neupert says. “They can respond to other people rather than react. The things that used to set them off, like running late for work or getting cut off, feel more tolerable.”
Meditation is the best-known way to achieve mindfulness—but it isn’t appealing to and doesn’t work for everyone. Some find that it’s awkward, or that they have trouble sitting still. Fortunately, “a person can practice mindfulness while engaged in literally any activity,” Goldberg says, and with any available amount of time.
Here are eight ways to practice mindfulness if meditation isn’t your thing.
Listen to music
Sound can be energizing, calming, or both. Getting lost in a good song is considered an effective way to practice mindfulness.
Before deciding to engage mindfully with any activity, including listening to a favorite album, consider what counts as focused attention, Goldberg advises. That way, you’ll be able to tell if your mind starts to wander. For example, being focused on your playlist might mean “noticing the melody, observing how your body feels and moves without judgment, or focusing on …….