Hello and welcome to Motivation and Mindset Mondays! Today, let’s talk about how to meditate even if you are fidgety and stiff. Do you want to meditate, but have trouble sitting still? For many adults, the most difficult part of meditation is finding a comfortable position. Maybe your legs start to ache or perhaps you shift around frequently. Either way, it’s difficult to still your mind when it feels like your body is refusing to cooperate.
Luckily, you can enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of meditation even if you’re fidgety and stiff. Start with these proven strategies that will help you feel more at ease on the cushion.
How to Meditate When You’re Fidgety
Studies show that being fidgety has its advantages, including burning more calories and living longer. On the other hand, excessive movements while youâre meditating can be distracting, so you may want to stop wagging your toes temporarily.
- Prepare yourself. Switching gears quickly from rushing around to sitting still can be a struggle. Smooth out the transition. Depending on your reason for meditating, spend some time before your session saying preparatory prayers or doing any quiet activity that you find soothing and uplifting.
- Remember your purpose. Fidgeting can be an indication of boredom or lack of engagement. Remind yourself why meditation is important to you.
- Fold your hands. Just pressing your hands together can encourage you to be still. Experiment with different hand positions.
- Hold something. Similarly, holding something with your hands makes it less likely youâll engage in other gestures. You can use traditional prayer beads or any small object like a book or piece of cloth.
- Touch a border. Fidgeting can also be associated with nervousness, which is especially troublesome if meditation sometimes brings up disturbing emotions for you. Sitting with your back resting lightly against a wall or your feet touching a pillow may provide a sense of security and reassurance.
- Keep practicing. Fidgeting is like any habit. Each time you manage to overcome your jitters, youâre training yourself to make positive changes.
- Respect your limits. Youâre bound to squirm if youâre meditating too much too soon. Stick to brief sessions or gradually increase your time.
Very few adults can sit in a full lotus position during their first attempt at meditation. Learn how to work with the needs of your body.
- Stretch regularly. Flexibility training will open up your hips and shoulders. Perform static stretches while watching TV, and dynamic stretches when youâre warming up before a workout.
- Do yoga. While any kind of exercise can limber up your body, yoga is one of the most effective methods. Take a class or watch videos online. Practice at a studio or at home. Target the areas where you feel discomfort.
- Warm up. Heat can make your body instantly feel nimbler. Take a warm shower before you meditate or rub your hands over your legs and arms to stimulate your circulation. Drape a light blanket over your lap or shoulders.
- Sit up straight. Proper alignment relieves aches and pains too. Check that youâre sitting with your weight on the center of your sit bones. Relax your shoulders and lift your chest.
- Use props. Buy special accessories or use objects you have at home to pamper your trouble spots. Put cushions or blocks under your knees, behind your back, or anywhere you feel stress.
- Listen to your body. Any modification can be beneficial if it helps you to focus. Sit on a chair or on a cushion. Stand up or move around when you need to.
With a few simple adjustments, you can meditate comfortably even if you tend to be restless or have trouble touching your toes. Bring greater happiness and peace into your life by developing a regular practice.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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