Modern life is not made for the faint of heart. Fast paced days, constantly feeling judged, competitive work places and the weight of consumerism telling us that we also need more.
It’s perhaps no wonder that meditation is increasing in popularity so much, with sales in mindfulness books increasing by 13% last year.
But meditation can feel like a tricky thing to start with. Sitting still, in silence, with our own thoughts?
Writing can offer a great place to start as there is the feeling of physically doing something along with the time and space to be quiet and to reflect. Not exactly an alternative to meditation, but a great mindfulness activity that could act as a catalyst toward meditation.
The Warm Up | Write without thinking
This might sound ridiculous, but writing a piece of stream of consciousness journalling can be a great way to unstick the mind and move past difficult thoughts.
Set a timer for a few minutes at first, put pen to paper and simply write whatever comes to mind. It might be a rant about work, a series of questions about what you are doing with your life or it might turn into a piece of creative writing, don’t worry about.
Pick a Place | Move the thoughts along
Now I want you to pause. Turn to a fresh piece of paper and before you start to write close your eyes and imagine you are somewhere else completely. Perhaps you are in a forest or your childhood home, at work, sitting in a cinema waiting for a film to start, lying on the beach.
Just pick any place.
Now open your eyes and begin to write about the place, this time without a timer.
Every time a thought about something other than what you are writing comes to mind, recognise the thought and then simply move past it, back to the place you are imagining yourself to be.
It could be helpful here to focus on the details. If you are at the beach, focus on the sound of the waves hitting the sand or the smell of the salt water. If you are in a cinema, are the seats scratchy or soft? What film are you hoping to see?
Write for as long as you like, focusing on the place you are imagining. When you are ready to stop writing, move your attention from the place in your mind to the pen in your hand. Watch the movements it makes across the page and slowly stop writing. Then bring your attention to what the writing looks like on the paper and then to the room around you.
Take a few long, deep breaths to bring yourself back into the space.
In case you are struggling to get started with the second writing activity I have included some images for you below to consider.
I would love to know how you get on with this exercise if you choose to give it a go!