How to Meditate When You Can’t Sit Still

You’ve read the articles, watched Oprah, and heard it from friends: Meditation is good for you. Meditation is good for the body and soul, it is used as an aid to healing in hospitals across the world, is responsible for lowering stress and high blood pressure, increasing creativity, and a host of spiritual benefits as well. And while this all sounds great you may be wondering: How can I learn to meditate when I can’t keep my body or mind still for more than a few seconds?

The solution is Active Meditation. When most people think of meditation they picture someone dressed in loose, earth-toned clothing, sitting cross-legged on a mat in the middle of a forest while they chant vowel sounds for an hour. And while sitting in this manner and speaking a mantra is certainly a common method of meditation, known as transcendental meditation, it is certainly not the only method. Active meditation allows for body movement, in fact, it requires some movement as part of the meditation process.

Tai Chi, walking meditation, and GGGG a Japanese writing meditation are all samples of meditation practices that use simple body movements to bring about a meditative state. And while I personally have enjoyed walking meditations and Tai Chi, my preferred method of active meditation is coloring. Any art form that you are comfortable with can bring about relaxation and meditation.

I have a friend that is an amazing artist and she told me that when she paints she goes into a state of complete peace; she says everything around her becomes clearer, even the most mundane things like the colors of vase she may have had for years become bright and vibrant. Isn’t it worth giving active meditation a try knowing that such peace and happiness exists for you too?

The following is a coloring meditation reprinted from my latest book 30 Minute Celtic Mandalas Coloring Book: Easy Meditation through Coloring. If you wish to follow along you can download a free coloring page off my website and give active meditation a try.

Following are the basic steps involved in coloring meditations. Even if you don’t adhere to these steps exactly, you will still enjoy the relaxation that coloring provides. So, set some time aside to experience the wonderful healing power of 30-Minute CELTIC Mandalas.

Step One: Gather your coloring pencils or markers and your 30-Minute CELTIC Mandalas Coloring Book; then choose a comfortable place where you can be quiet for approximately 30 minutes. (Note by adding details, shading, or even coloring outside of the design you can make this meditation stretch beyond 30 minutes. If you have the extra time, I highly recommend it.)

Step Two: Smile. Holding a light smile on your face will help put you in a receptive mood for the meditation. Don’t skip this step just because it sounds a little silly. Science has proven that smiling, even when you are not happy, can raise the level of endorphins (mood enhancing chemicals) in your brain. So, start smiling!

Step Three: Flip through your coloring book and pick the first design that peaks your interest. Don’t dwell on it, just accept your choice and move on.

Step Four: Choose your first pencil or marker and then begin to color. No need to over-think the colors, in fact I’m always amazed at the color combinations I come up with during a meditation and how wonderful they look together. I often find myself using colors I would normally ignore and then loving the end result. Whenever possible let the colors choose themselves.

Step Five: Watch the design take life with every stroke. Allow your self to experience the movements, hear the sounds of pencils on paper, or feel the markers as they glide across the page. As thoughts or pictures pop into your head (and they will) simply acknowledge them and then return your focus to the coloring. The coloring will always bring you back. With a little practice you will find it increasingly easy to get into a deeply relaxed, almost detached state.

Michelle Normand is a graphic designer and author of the 30-Minute Mandalas coloring book series. She also works as a freelance health and beauty writer and has been featured in New You magazine. Her next book, How to Meditate when You can’t Sit Still, is due for a winter release.

Her next book, 30-Minute Celtic Mandalas, is due for release this winter. To learn more about the author or the power of color therapy please visit Michelle’s site at