Today in our Mindfulness 101 class here at Green Mountain, a wonderful “Aha!” moment happened.
One of the points I make is the difference between medita-TION and medita-TIVE.
Meditation is the practice of using the breath to anchor our awareness in the present moment. Doing this allows us to bring a sense of ease to our bodies, even if only for a moment or two.
This ease is quite the opposite of stress.
In a sense, you can look at ease as the opposite of dis-ease. Unmanaged stress is known to create, or exacerbate disease, while meditation helps alleviate many conditions (or diseases) that stress may cause.
Medita-tive is that feeling we get when we practice it – calm, relaxed, peaceful.
Getting to that point takes time, but if we give ourselves permission to start slow (even 5-10 minutes, once a day) and remember that the purpose is to bring awareness to breath, then we gradually begin to reap the rewards.
Meditation is one strategy for self-care, but there are also many other activities that, when we do them, we find ourselves lost in relaxation, in a state of calm. When we do these things, we sort of feel timelessly peaceful.
That counts too!
Meditation isn’t the only self-care practice that relieves stress
When you spend time doing something that brings you peace, you’re strengthening that relaxation muscle in your mind, which is meditative. No, it’s not medita-tion, but yes, it is self-care and both have a positive impact on stress.
Related Article: 40 Ideas for Incorporating Self-Care into Your Life
While making this point in my meditation class, a woman with eyes wide open, mouth agape, said:
“You mean I have permission to do my crossword puzzle before I start my day in the morning?”
She went on to explain she always felt lazy and unproductive sitting and doing a crossword.
I reminded her that we are human BEINGS more than human DOINGS. We’ve forgotten how to BE, so much so that if we even dare sit for a period of time doing ‘nothing’ it’s as though we’re doing something wrong.
We go-go-go running through life, yet often miss it along the way for fear of not doing enough.
Well I say: PERMISSION GRANTED!
Be. Be Human. Just Be.
Take a moment (or more) to relish in living by allowing yourself to enjoy those peaceful moments. We owe it to ourselves. This can be doing a crossword puzzle, some Sudoku, scrapbooking, knitting, playing an instrument, drawing, painting, coloring, Zentangling® … and the list goes on.
Ideally, we’ll incorporate both meditative activities and meditation into our lives, as both are impactful for stress management.
So the idea is not to replace meditation with knitting, for example, but to instead spend some time knitting and then a few minutes deep breathing, as best as we’re able throughout the day (try our free 5-minute guided meditations).
What are some of your favorite meditaTIVE activities?