Q: I’ve heard about all the mental benefits of meditation, but I fall asleep, get distracted, and don’t find it relaxing. Why can’t I get into it?
I had a patient who felt something was wrong with her because she couldn’t get into meditating the way her friends had. Another patient said he felt “meditation-shamed” by colleagues because he didn’t join them in the meditation room at work. It may be all the rage these days, but that doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Consider trying a different technique, but if it still doesn’t suit you, don’t worry about it.
There are plenty of other ways to reduce stress and boost mindfulness. Exercise, spending time in nature, and engaging in creative activities are well-documented stress relievers. To cultivate mindfulness, Harvard University psychology professor Ellen Langer recommends actively noticing new things. It’s about turning off autopilot, paying attention to the world around you, and being present. No candles or incense necessary.
This article originally appeared in Marie Claire.