Meditation has been hailed as the best mind-body-spirit way to manage stress, but if you have tried it and felt you didn’t do it right, or don’t know how to do it, fear not. There are many other ways to achieve that mind-body connection to create a calm mind and relaxed body. Forcing yourself to meditate and feeling like you failed can create more stress. 

The whole point of meditation is to strengthen areas of your brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, and self-awareness. It is about being intentional, focusing on a task, and letting the thoughts flow freely. 

Here are some things that you can do that help calm your nervous system and retrain your brain to focus on one thing instead of multitasking.

  • Journaling. You can use your journal as a brain dump or a place to record your thoughts or express your gratitude. Instead of keeping everything jumbled up in your mind, you can declutter and create space for new thoughts. 
  • Reading. This is a great way to escape into an alternative world and fire up your imagination. 
  • Coloring. Remember how much fun you had as a kid, taking a blank page with black outlines and making a masterpiece you were proud of? Coloring helps you connect to your creative side and also to your inner child.  It’s fun!
  • Crafts. Before the internet, Facebook, Instagram, etc., we used to have more free time that we would use to actually create things in the real world that are tangible and bring us joy. Consider things like knitting, woodworking, painting, and crocheting.  
  • Gentle exercise. Yoga can be very gentle and meditative as well if you seek out the right style of class. Walking is also a great way to get into the zone of inner calm and peace. 
  • Spend time in nature. Listening to birdsong, smelling freshly cut grass, and feeling the sun and breeze on your skin are great ways to remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Relax and soak it all in.
  • Pet therapy. Pet owners know that the unconditional love from an animal and the soft feeling of their fur can help a lot to decrease anxiety and stress. If you don’t own a pet, you can volunteer at an animal shelter and connect.  

These are just some simple things you can do to help you re-center, feel more grounded, and improve your quality of life. If you feel you need more support to manage your stress, you can reach out to