Like most things in life, it’s easy to fall into a narrow view of a new subject; this applies to mindfulness as well. We think that there is only one way of doing it, or at least a single best way. Truthfully though, there are many genuine ways to be mindful.
Some people find that meditation works well for them, and this tends to be the most standard mindfulness technique. However, there are other ways to be mindful beyond meditation.
If you’re a bit antsy and need to be doing something, then meditating can seem an impossible endeavor. However, there are plenty of mindful techniques that involve motion. T’ai Chi, for instance, incorporates movement into its mindfulness. As with meditation, the point is not to be thinking of everything around you or judging your form or thoughts. Rather, one focuses on paying attention to each and every moment in the movement. Observe thoughts on how slow or fast you move or notice the felt sensations within the body. Don’t make judgement of them, let them float by. Try focusing your energy on each movement and what you feel. Concentrate on the right now, not on the future or the past. When you get through a form, focus on the next. The beginning has past and the end will come, no need to dwell on either.
Another exercise in mindfulness option that can be done anywhere is writing. What’s been happening today, where have you been, what have you done? Dispense all those thoughts in your head onto the page. How much you write doesn’t matter. Some days it might be a few lines, others a few pages. Just write until those exasperating thoughts are on the page and out of your mind.
If prose isn’t your thing, then try poetry. Free verse offers a way to express many of the thoughts clouding your mind. You can also do structured forms like haiku or sonnet if structure helps whittle down your thoughts better and clear your mind faster. Write on your thoughts, feelings, or the world. All of these can satisfy a foundation of mindfulness and might shed new light on something that was eluding you before.
Alternatively, if you prefer to use your hands, you can do a multitude of other activities. Cooking, cleaning, painting, crafting and more can all be mindfully done. The key is to do the activities for the sake of doing them, paying attention intimately to the minutiae of every step, not to “accomplish”. What you choose to do is not nearly as important as how you do it.