Activities to Calm and Cleanse the Mind That You May Already Be Doing

When I first decided to deliberately live a more mindful life, I was a bit intimidated on where to start. We’ve always been told to take baby steps, but what are those steps?  The idea of starting small finally clicked when I was sitting on the bus and wanting to change my perspective about my commute from being a miserable waste of time to valuable “me time”. I slowly but surely started looking forward to my bus rides where I was started off by reading, listening to music, and eventually meditating on the constant motion of the city.

I truly believe everyone can be more present in the moment, but many of us cannot just go into a meditative state cold turkey. We need tools to help get us there and you’ll be happy to know that you are probably already doing at least one of them without even knowing it! Here are just a few examples of activities that can serve as tools to practice being fully present, ranging from tactical to visual to audible:

Tactical (maybe visual and audible combined as well)

Visual

Audible

  • Physical Exercise: Swim, Run, Power Yoga, Biking, Hiking, etc
  • Petting/playing with animals
  • Cooking
  • Driving
  • Swinging on a swing
  • Gardening
  • Arts – painting, drawing, sculpting, jewelry making, coloring
  • Candles, fires, visual aids
  • Music, Mantras

To take it one step further, you should not only do some of these activities, but also reap the benefits of them by cleansing the lense of your mind. The trick is to consciously use them as tools instead of mindlessly trucking through them either with a numbing haze or letting mind chatter and emotions creep in.

I was doing many of those above activities and finding release and fulfillment in them, but couldn’t understand why. I always knew it was healthy to exercise and reduce stress, but I didn’t hone in on the deeper level of impact that was occurring. For example, when I hike alone or in silence with a partner, I had no idea that I was actually participating in a walking meditation. I was wandering around in awe, immensely appreciative of the nature around me, touching everything, and feeling gratitude in the realization that I am merely a small specimen compared to the giant Redwood next to me, the forest, the region,  and the greater universe that’s constantly providing. Similarly, when I watch a candle flame or a bonfire, I got into a deep state. My brother jokes that I’m a pyro because I love fire so much, but what he didn’t see is that I am constantly doing visualization meditation when I observe a flame flickering in the wind.

You see, it’s not about making monumental changes, but rather changing the perspective of what you are already doing or maybe adding in one of the above tools to help guide you on a day-to-day basis. You all can do it and you already have the tools to get there, you just have to take that first step of acknowledging and committing to a more mindful lifestyle.

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