Meditation is often referred to as a practice, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that mindfulness is a way of life. It is a state of mind. It is something you can do while doing other things. There are many activities that shut off the noise and bring you to the present moment, but they might not all be for you. If you’re into complicated activities, that will turn off the mind. But so are simple, tedious activities. Below are the best things to do that quiet the mind.
Swimming in the Ocean
Nearly every form of exercise is good for quieting the mind, but swimming specifically can take you to another world. Even better, swimming in the ocean is both spiritual and incredibly good exercise. Go out in the morning or afternoon and commit to swimming in the ocean. You will need to keep your wits about you, but you’ll also have these moments of pure quiet and peace. When you are finished swimming through the waves, your brain will be calm. You will be lucid and empowered. Stress will lower. So will anxiety. It’s a cliché for a reason—the ocean heals.
Playing an Instrument
Another great way to quiet your thoughts is to play an instrument. It’s difficult to stop thinking when you are first learning, but once you get comfortable with your instrument you will lose yourself in the music. You also have the benefitting of collecting instruments, and you can even start by building your custom guitar or drum set.
When you’re an intermediate player, you will have to really focus. Pulling off a difficult bar of music provides a sense of satisfaction that is difficult to get elsewhere. When you are deep into playing music, you won’t be thinking about your problems socially, monetarily, or vocationally. You’ll have to dedicate yourself and be diligent, but if you are it’s a great way to be mindful.
An art like photography is a great way to focus and practice mindfulness. When you take photos, you must be in the moment. People think that you are missing something when you are focused on taking photographs, but what you are really doing is focusing more than you would at that moment. You will be in tune with the details because you will be looking for them. You’ll zoom in on life and look at things differently. Taking photos is a great way to be meditative if you have trouble in your daily life. It will help you be more mindful and focus on the small, important things in life.
Like playing an instrument, dancing is one of the best ways to lose yourself in music. If you are learning how to move your body to music, you’ll be more immersed in it. Dance brings people together. It is mindful because you must focus on accurately moving your body. Dancing is one of the best ways to let loose. You can stop worrying about the outside conventions of society and move your body to the music. You will lose weight, tone your body, and find an escape that is as significant as just about anything in life. Dancing moves your soul.
When you play a game of chess against a formidable opponent, your brain is firing on all cylinders. You are thinking about offensive strategy, defense, board position, and no shortage of different moves forward and back. Chess is compared to war strategy for a reason. It’s also like learning a language or playing an instrument in the way that it uses your brain. You begin to think differently. Chess is supremely meditative because you lose yourself in the game. You are focused solely on capturing the opponent’s king. It is simple and exceedingly complex.
When your mind is bouncing off the walls, you need something to bring you back to Earth. It is not always easy to be mindful, but when you do things that help you practice being in the moment, focusing, and forgetting your ego, you will be able to meditate in your life. You will find solace, peace, and happiness in these thoughtful and comprehensive activities.
Ryan Beitler is a writer, musician, and life enthusiast.