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What to do when you can’t meditate

What to do when you can't mediate

Meditation is no easy task. We're all hard-wired to think at 1,000 miles an hour, and most of us find it difficult to shut down the chatter on demand. Even as a qualified yoga teacher, I can't honestly say I find it easy to shut down, and rarely do I find the time to prioritise a 20 minute medi on the fly. However, the mental and physical benefits of meditation are well documented, and can help you with clarity (for all that goal kicking!), anxiety, self-esteem, depression and even weight loss.


Here's my favourite alternatives to switch off when meditation ain't your thang.

  1. Focus on a paper or audio book

    Focusing on someone's voice or throwing yourself into a good story line makes it hard to think of anything else. Mission accomplished, and you get to work your way through that ever growing 'to-read' list too! Try it 10 minutes before lights-out for better sleep too.

  2. Yoga

    Whilst you might find it hard to sit still and focus, movement can offer your brain a distraction without causing an eruption of thought. Yoga - literally referring to a moving meditation, focuses on the breath and holding asanas (yogic poses) to stretch the muscles and improve flexibility. Most yoga studios offer a free trial, so check them out in your area to get some zen in your life.

  3. Colouring In

    Mindfulness colouring for adults is kind of old-news, but still super effective. It's amazing how much concentration it takes to stay inside the lines...seriously. Turn on some tunes, grab your crayons, let's do this.

    Get your FREE printable colouring sheet right here!!!

  4. Bake

    I might be a bit bias, but baking is totally therapeutic. You can be meditatively absorbed—not thinking of yesterday or tomorrow, but giving your attention to the chocolate cake you're whipping up. Give it a go - take note of the aroma and texture while you're baking. Clock here for healthy baking ideas to get you started!

  5. Take a bath

    Draw up a bath with a few drops of essential oils like lavender or sandalwood, turn on your favourite chilled music (preferably with lyrics so you can focus on them) and enjoy some quality you time. For people who spend a lot of time in their head, it’s a good activity for grounding.

  6. If all else fails...Watch trashy TV

    The mind-numbing kind. You know, Housewives of Beverly Hills, The Kardashians, some house renovation show that drags on for an entire hour. Don't watch David Attenborough or other documentary that will call for your brain to make a judgement or start debate. Strictly not meditation, but a sure-fire way to stop incessant thinking and shut down an active mind.

Sally O'Neil - Editor in Chief

Sal is on a mission to prove that healthy and nutritious doesn’t have to be boring – and that even while staying in shape you can have your cake and eat it too. After losing 14kg from adopting a healthier lifestyle, she shares her journey with others on The Fit Foodie Blog. She also works as a commercial food photographer and stylist, is studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, and is the author of two cookbooks: Love Move Eat (Bauer Media, 2017) and Meal Prep Plan (Murdoch, 2019).

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