If You Hate to Meditate, Try This: Find Your Zen Without an Om

Knitting can be just as beneficial as meditation

For some people, meditation is possibly the worst thing you could ask them to do.  They don’t want to find their zen, or their happy spot, they don’t want to sit with their legs crossed, and they definitely don’t want to say, “Om!”  Perhaps they’ve even tried to meditate a few times in the past just to end up feeling frustrated.  How can you experience the awesomeness of meditation if you can’t stand what you have to do to get there? Well, you don’t … The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology reported that 54% of participants reported feeling anxious while attempting to meditate.   But experts are now saying that any type of repetitive movement will induce the same stress release response as meditation.  This includes activities as varied as …
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Needlepoint
  • Knitting
  • Listening to music
Basically, any activity that is soothing to the participant, repetitive in nature, and requires a small amount of attention. But You Might Give Meditation Another Go Meditation is a very well studied discipline and has been found to be ridiculously beneficial for just about everything.  From getting ahead in your career to fighting cancer, meditation has been show to have a positive effect. So don’t give up after a few half-hearted attempts.  Give yourself ten tries and see if meditating gets easier and you’re seeing positive results.  If not, give up and try one of the suggestions above.  The big advantage of meditation is it requires no equipment; just sit yourself down and go. Remember meditation is a practice, not something that you perfect.  I’m talking to all you type-A's out there … you know who you are. Do you hate meditation?  Does one of the other activities appeal to you?  Have you found something that works great for you?  Please share it here. I did a post recently on Meditation 101 about the different types you can try. Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

4 Responses to If You Hate to Meditate, Try This: Find Your Zen Without an Om

  1. Steve Roberts November 10, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    I’ve found that the key to meditation (in addition to your great Meditation 101 tips), whether it’s while sitting, standing or running, is to not let thoughts take root, sprout, or multiply.
    For example, if I hear a bird outside, I think “hm”.
    And I pause …
    … and the thought of the bird floats away.

    I don’t think “oh, a bird … that’s pretty … it’s nice outside … what am I doing in here … I should get outside … maybe go for a run … this isn’t helping me lose weight …”

    So I agree — meditation can be done during all the activities you’ve listed above, but without cutting off that “thought propagation”, there’s no meditation. The type A’s need to realize that they love thought propagation (it’s multitasking!), but by switching it off, at least temporarily, they can realize the benefits of meditation.

    Thanks — great blog, bookmarked.

  2. Lisa Johnson November 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    Thanks for the great response! I had to laugh because my brain frequently goes do the second version of the bird chirp that you’re talking about. I have found with patience and practice I’ve gotten more towards Type A but it’s a process.

    Thanks for stopping by and I’m happy to have the bookmark!

  3. De July 13, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    I can’t stand meditation, nor can I stand repetitive activities! I don’t find repetitiveness soothing at all; I find it mind-numbingly boring and aggravating as hell. Can’t stand sewing; only listening to music is appealing to me on that list– probably because the music on my ipod is anything but repetitive OR “soothing”.

    Ironically, I find most things that are meant to be soothing, like yoga, mindfulness, meditation, knitting, to be mind-numbing, and most “relaxation”-type music to be aggravating in it’s slowness and gentleness. Strangely enough, though, heavy metal calms me down when I’m pissed off. So, maybe I should just listen to metal instead.
    I feel like the music “channels” the normal amount of frustration I carry around and seems to validate my emotions and therefore calm me down.
    However, putting a “relaxing” soundtrack on will just make me angry unless i’m already super calm (gentle music seems to contradict my usually irritable mood and just piss me off).

    Also, the idea of forcing silence or forcing my consciousness to focus on one thing only for me aggravates me, while making me juggle multiple mental tasks at once or making me solve a complex problem calms me down.
    Not sure if this is ADHD or Asperger traits? I feel like my brain is “wired” to take multiple tasks at once or to function at high speed and I am happiest while thinking at a pace that feels natural to me. Meditation feels to me like temporary mental stimulus starvation.
    It feels kind of like when you’re holding your breath under water for a period of time and you’re craving oxygen. You feel really unpleasant after the 1 minute mark and you don’t feel well until you come up for air. That’s what meditation feels like emotionally to me. Feel really uncomfortable at the 1 minute mark and don’t feel okay until it ends.


  1. World Spinner - November 10, 2010

    If You Hate to Meditate Try This: Find Your Zen Without an Om ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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