4 Creative Alternatives to Meditation You Can Try Today

“Find a quiet place, get comfortable, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Deep breath in… deep breath out…” 

These words probably sound quite familiar if you’ve tried guided meditations or attended a meditation class. But if you’re reading this article, it’s most likely because they don’t work for you. Are we right?

We agree with all the facts that say meditation is a great tool to improve focus, reduce stress and bring a sense of calm. But let’s face it, the practice isn’t for everyone. It takes years of sustained effort before daily meditation can become a habit. And even after trying, there are many who struggle with the basics, which makes it harder to stay consistent.

The truth however remains, that meditation is one of the most effective wellness strategies to develop mindfulness and a sense of calm. So, what does one do to achieve these same results, if they are unable to build up a habit of daily meditation? We have some ideas!

Here are 4 creative alternatives to meditation that you can try today! 

(Note: We are not suggesting these are replacements to attain the same benefits as meditation. These are simply creative activities that can help you experience a similar sense of peace and flow)

1. Dabble in Zentangling

What it is:
You’ve probably seen or heard about this popular art practice quite often in recent times. Zentangling is a form of art that involves creating abstract, repetitive patterns. It is usually done in a short period of time where the goal is to focus and get lost in the free-flowing line work. It is similar to meditation in the sense that you focus on one aspect or movement (in this case, putting pen to paper) and remove yourself from distracting thoughts or environments by finding a state of calm in the act of drawing itself.

How to do:
There is no fixed format, or one right way to do this. Simply grab a piece of paper and a pen, and let the lines flow. Don’t think too much about what patterns you want to create. The idea is to take some dedicated time for yourself and get engrossed in the activity. So, start with something simple - intersecting lines, or concentric circles, and see where the art takes you!

2. Try out Gratitude Journaling

What it is:
It is as simple as the name suggests - journaling about things you’re grateful for! The idea here is to take a few moments to be intentional and notice your surroundings, the people around you, and even yourself. And being thankful for the things you appreciate, but may inadvertently ignore everyday.

How to do:
All you need is your daily journal or a piece of paper (you could even grab a tissue if you’re sitting alone at a restaurant waiting for a friend!) and something to write with. Now, make a list of 3 things you’re grateful for, 3 people you’re grateful for, and 3 things you like about yourself. (It can be something as simple as a good cup of coffee, the person who smiled at you at the store and how energetic you feel that day). There’s no right or wrong here - it’s everything YOU are grateful for. You can list these out as bullet points, write long paragraphs or even doodle them out as cute illustrations. Do it your way!

3. Engage in Sensorial Experiences

What it is:
The goal of meditation is to imbibe an ability of mindfulness - which means, the ability to be fully present and aware. We can also attain this by engaging one specific sense and giving into it completely, thus tuning out the rest and lowering the volume of mental chatter as a result.

How to do:
Pick any one of your senses that you want to focus on. As an example, let’s consider touch. The idea here is to engage your sense of touch and let that take over completely. Let’s consider, for example, that you choose pottery. When you begin, focus on the cool texture of the wet clay in your hands, pay attention to creating shapes with your fingers, notice how the pressure of your hands moulds the mud in interesting ways. You can do the same thing with other activities like origami, or even gardening! Focus on doing something with your hands, and immerse yourself into the sensorial experience. That’s a creative form of meditation right there!

4. Give Colour and Art Therapy a Go

What it is:
It is a well known fact that colour influences the mind. Ever seen a field of yellow sunflowers and felt a sense of sadness? Or felt dejected at the sight of a bright, blue sky? Even food packaging uses colour to create impressions in the mind (did you know red is the most used colour in food packaging because it triggers the appetite increasing the desire to eat!). So, let’s try and use that as a tool for mindfulness too.

How to do:
Grab a colouring book (there are plenty in the market for kids and adults alike!), or draw your own patterns and colour them in. You could also pick up a box of paints and a piece of paper and wash it over with whatever colour best represents your mood in the moment. Find the right colours to express how you feel, and let it flow!

Are you ready to try any of these? Let us know if you do!

PS: You can try all these activities with our Calm Paperbox. It is a box of 150 sheets in 25 beautiful shades that you can use the way you like!