Seated meditation isn’t for everyone. For some who sit at a desk 40 hours a week, more sitting isn’t the answer. For others, due to physical limitations or sensory processing or ADHD struggles, sitting isn’t relaxing, it can be downright painful. If this is the case for you, then don’t sit. Walk.
Find a space—this can be inside or outside, big or small—where you can pace without needing to give much thought to your direction. Begin by finding your rhythm. Some inhale as they lift the foot and exhale as they plant it. Others inhale for up to three or four steps and exhale for three or four steps. The goal is to be mindful and match your breathing with your steps. This helps keep your awareness focused on your breathing and your movements. With your mind focused on this, your thoughts will more easily rise and pass without you becoming attached to them.
This same practice can be used when running, swimming, while doing yoga, dancing—really any exercise where you’re practicing mindful breath and movement connection helps detach your mind from your thoughts. Just like with seated meditation, the goal isn’t to stop your thinking. It’s the very flow of letting the thoughts rise and pass that allows your mind and body to calm in reaction to them.
The added bonus to walking outside is a dose of Vitamin D which can be a mood booster and help with sleep. And the truth is, without a good night’s sleep, it’s difficult to ever feel whole. And in changing your environment in any way can help you detach from what you were feeling before. So that if you’re depressed in your room and you step outside for a walking meditation, between the Vitamin D, the fresh air and the change of scenery, you’re energy is changed by the time you return.