A growing number of people are experiencing the healing and transformative effects of mindfulness meditation.
Some people meditate to help them cope with stress, traumatic experiences or diagnosed mental illness.
Some enjoy the spiritual growth that can be attributed to regular practice. Some simply like relaxing into the heightened awareness and impermeable calm that result from daily meditation.
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For many of us, it can be hard to meditate regularly in a fixed space. Career demands and the responsibilities of home life can take away from the time and energy needed to meditate. If you have found yourself falling out of your meditation, here are five useful ways to practice mindfulness on the go without the incense and pillows.
1. Nature Hike
Live near the beach, a good hiking trail or a tranquil lake? Even if it’s a corporate garden or botanical cafe, finding some nature in which to immerse yourself can take the edge off a stressful day.
Pay attention to the details of flower petals, the trickle of a fountain or the whistle of grass as you breathe in the comforts of natural (or man-made) scenery.
2. Animal Interaction
The presence of animals can be very soothing for us as humans. Hands on interaction with pets and other furry friends is always a good way to lighten our hearts and distract our minds to a place of childlike admiration.
If you live with animals, take a little extra time to pamper them, to cuddle them, and yes, to talk to them. If you take your dog for a walk, leave your cell phone at home.
If you don’t have pets, visiting an animal shelter or small wildlife sanctuary can be just as emotionally enriching. Large zoos are enjoyable, but usually don’t provide the intimate interactions of smaller wildlife establishments.
3. Labyrinth Exploration
Labyrinths are special spaces that offer a restorative walk into a deeply meditative state. They appear to be similar to mazes, but offer only one route to the center, and are not meant to be challenging. Some are small, taking only minutes to navigate, while others accommodate many people at a time.
If you are lucky enough to leave near a labyrinth, make time for a brief stroll, clearing your mind as you focus only on slowly reaching the center. If not, try searching online for hidden areas in your neighborhood. You may be surprised to learn of secret walk-able labyrinths in your vicinity.
4. Bring A Friend
Sharing meditative experiences with another is a great way to keep yourself in tune with positive energies. Invite a friend or co-worker to join you on a peaceful walk, and try to listen twice as much as you speak.
Let the focus shift to your friend. Stepping outside of yourself is a powerful way to keep yourself grounded when it comes to your own personal life.
5. Carry A Charm
You may be familiar with the terms amulet or talisman. Carrying a special object on you is a wonderful way to remind yourself to breathe and stay present.
Many people carry symbols of faith or idols associated with a particular religion. The key is to pick something that is small enough to fit in your pocket, but not so tiny that it will easily get lost.
You can choose something personal, like a family heirloom, or something aesthetically pleasing that calls to you and gives you a good feeling. Don’t be afraid to have fun with this—the object should put a smile on your face! Reaching into your pocket to hold your charm will become a soothing association for you.
Making time for you is very important, although it is something with which most of us struggle. Stop making yourself feel guilty for neglecting your meditation.
If you go out of your way to try at least one of the suggestions listed above multiple times per week, you will start to ease yourself into a natural ability to calm your mind, ease tension and soothe your spirit.