4 Alternative Meditation Techniques to Try
What It Is: You follow a script that helps you home in on a specific intention—getting to sleep, conquering fear, boosting self-esteem.
What You'll Do: For fear, you might progressively relax various parts of the body, starting with your toes, moving up to your ankles, and so on. For inner strength, you might imagine being a tall mountain.
Give It a Whirl: Chopra.com, TaraBrach.com, Jon Kabat-Zinn on YouTube.
What It Is: Developed by psychologist Les Fehmi, PhD, based on his EEG biofeedback research, Open Focus directs your attention not to a breath or a mantra, but to empty spaces; in turn, your brain produces slow, calming alpha waves. Less complicated than it sounds.
What You'll Do: Imagine the space between your eyes or inside your ears.
Give It a Whirl: OpenFocus.com.
What It Is: Sending compassionate thoughts to yourself and others; practiced by Buddhist monks.
What You'll Do: First, wish yourself well with the phrases "May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be safe. May I be at ease." Then repeat the process, thinking first of someone you respect. Then someone you love. Then a stranger. Then someone who's hurt you.
Give It a Whirl: When you're feeling really grateful, when you've had a fight with your teenager.
What It Is: Mindfulness...while you walk.
What You'll Do: Embrace the sensation of each foot as you lift it and put it down again, the pressure of your soles, the feel of your shoes. Notice your surroundings—what you see, hear, smell. When you stop, feel what it's like to be still.
Give It a Whirl: On your lunch hour, in a lush forest, in the parking lot at Target.