5 Mind-Clearing Activities That Are Way More Fun Than Meditation

Knitter for life.

“When traditional meditation isn’t working, pour yourself some wine and peruse Nordstrom.com.” — the Dalai Lama

Meditating is so awesome — in theory. Taking a few minutes each day to sit quietly and clear your mind, contributing to your overall sense of well-being and inner peace? Sounds amazing!

But in reality, meditation often means closing your eyes, trying to clear your mind, immediately thinking about your crazy to-do list for the day, chastising yourself for being unable to clear your mind (if Sting and Gwyneth can do it why can’t you?!?!), then being interrupted by husband/wife/children/cat/dog/phone ringing/breakfast burning/construction next door and giving up. Sigh.

We should all aim to keep practicing meditation — lord knows it’s a worthy endeavor — but while you’re working on the whole “close your eyes and clear your mind” thing, here are a few activities that can produce a similar effect, and, honestly, they’re a lot more fun.

1. Playing with Legos.

Have you guys tried those “adult Lego sets? They’re not “adult” in, like, a “build your own dildo” way (although I’m sure that’s a thing on eBay) but in a “you follow instructions that are probably too advanced for your 3-year-old nephew to follow and feel super smart and accomplished when you put the final piece on the top of your small-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower” way.

THEY ARE SO FUN.

The best thing about about them is how weirdly relaxing they are. Something about following instructions that are challenging but straightforward allows the rest of your brain to calm down and all your worldly worries to melt away. At least until you realize you missed a piece.

2. Masturbation.

I read somewhere that the only time in life when our minds clear COMPLETELY is while we’re having an orgasm. I enjoy this fact so much that I’ve purposefully avoided any information that might prove it wrong. Do you know what this probably-true fact means? Masturbation is meditation! The most fun, pleasurable, simple form of meditation there is! So get to it. And get to it often. And then maybe write some sonnets about your vibrator afterwards.

3. Coloring books.

Thousands of trend pieces have been written on the adult coloring book craze and the zen-like effects of zoning out while scribbling pretty shapes with crayons, so I won’t add much except to say: it’s true. And if you haven’t picked up a grown-up coloring book and a fresh set of colored pencils yet, I encourage you to do so.

4. Online shopping.

“When traditional meditation isn’t working, pour yourself some wine and peruse Nordstrom.com.” — the Dalai Lama

OK maybe that quote is made up (maybe), and maybe my Buddhist friends are never going to speak to me again after reading this, and maybe (definitely) online shopping isn’t an emotionally-healthy alternative to meditation, but let me tell you: There’s something about browsing through photos of pretty dresses and shoes and lingerie that instantly sends me into a trance-like calm. If you’re able to keep yourself from buying stuff, a bit of online shopping can totally clear your mind.

5. Knitting or crocheting.

I think I might have hit my peak level of emotional and mental wellness during the few months I was crocheting a huge blanket. Why? Because every night, no matter how stressful my day was, I would sit quietly on the couch for an hour or two and let myself get lost in the quiet, repetitive act of crocheting.

Busying the hands and keeping the mind loosely focused on your stitches is a truly meditative act; and if the emotional benefits weren’t enough, you also get a cozy scarf, blanket, hat, or mittens when you’re done. Now that’s a win-win.

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