Have you ever wondered how to improve your sleep quality, become self-aware, reduce anxiety, and kick stress to the curb? There's no doubt that you have— it's only human nature to want to feel our best. Fortunately, you can change the course of your life by starting one simple practice.
That magic practice is meditation, and there’s actually nothing supernatural about it. The mind is super suggestible and if you don’t put ideas in it, someone else will.
As we said the benefits of regular meditation are everything we mentioned above: better mental health, and then all of the indirect health advantages of getting proper rest. So why doesn’t everyone do it? Let’s be honest, the collective human attention span these days is getting closer to that of a goldfish. To be exact, our focus lasts for roughly 8.5 seconds. So building a routine or integrating a new practice really challenges us. There’s also a huge contradiction (or friction, rather) in the habit, which takes 21-30 days to build. Those numbers aren't exactly in sync. Plus 8.5 seconds, screams that are thoughts are controlling us, we’re not present because we’re always seeking constant stimulation.
We’re still going to say it, by maintaining the practice, you'll walk into every day with a level of clarity you've never experienced before. Sounds tempting right? But frankly, sitting cross-legged on a pillow for 35 minutes does not sound cute, so this article is about your options.
Can exercise operate as a meditative practice?
Exercise is meditation, “in its own right,” says one Psychology Today article.
But can it replace traditional meditation?
Are we going to break down the differences between the two?
Nope, not in this article.
We get the impression you're not here for an article about logistics, but for how to benefit from meditation without actually doing it- or at least not in a traditional way.
Briefly, the difference can be compared to running for general fitness versus running to prepare for a marathon in the mountains. A traditional meditation practice involves more than picking up a weight and following your breath. It involves mental training.
Can fitness be a practice of mindfulness?
Running is essentially meditating. A person's mental state greatly affects their ability to perform aerobic exercises. If you're thinking this is terrible, I'm exhausted, etc., it's going to feel like hell. By focusing on breathing, the swooshing of your arms, and your gait, you'll run farther and feel satisfied. My friends, that's meditation.
When you're running, you may find your mind wandering, or thinking about discomfort, but tried and true runners know to let those thoughts be. Focus and discipline are needed to run well, and that's a lot like meditation. Besides, meditation and exercise are both good for you, so it's a double whammy of mood-boosting. Say bye, bye random bout of anxious thoughts.
What about other forms of fitness?
Looking for other ways to exercise and practice mindfulness? Or maybe you’re wondering if your weekly lifting session could also be meditative? The answer is similar: Put your mind in your body, release ruminating thoughts, and be present. The more you practice deliberative movements throughout a workout, the easier it will be to concentrate and lull yourself into a focused flow. There’s another more physical benefit during this as well, the increased attention will impact your overall performance, resulting in maximized output.
Another way to introduce yourself to a regular practice is to incorporate it into your cool-down routine. Lay back like you would if you’re finishing a yoga flow with savasana. If it helps open up a guided meditation app to help you along. When you’re done we guarantee you may possibly be the most centered you’ve ever been.