Meditation is great right? Until you end up cross-legged on the floor stressing yourself out over not being able to focus. This can often leave you feeling frustrated, restless, or even doubtful during your meditation practice.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Meditation can be a challenging practice, especially when you’re just starting out. There are a few common reasons why people struggle with meditation, and luckily, we have the solutions to help you overcome them.
Today, we’re going to explore seven of the most common reasons why people struggle to meditate and give you some practical solutions to help deepen your practice and find more peace.
7 Common Meditation Struggles
1. “Am I doing it right?”
You may be thinking that there is a right or wrong way to meditate. And if there is a right way to meditate, then you definitely don’t want to do it wrong!
Thankfully, there is no right way to meditate. You may want to focus or clear your mind, but the truth is that meditative practice can be whatever you want it to be. In fact, there is even a meditation technique called the “do nothing technique” where you sit and let your mind wander to whatever it wants to think about.
Try to leave all expectations of your meditation session at the door before you begin. Your expectations of what “ought” to be done in a meditation session may make you self-conscious and frustrated when you find your mind wandering.
As long as you’re taking a few minutes to
2. You can’t stop thinking
Many people think that meditation means that they have to clear their mind of all thoughts, and they must be doing it wrong if thoughts keep popping up. However, thoughts aren’t something to be afraid of or avoided in meditation.
Instead of judging yourself when thoughts arise and trying to force them out, try accepting your thoughts and allowing them to pass through your mind.
Meditation is about accepting the present moment fully and allowing all sensations, thoughts, and feelings to arise and pass away. Your only job is to notice everything that comes up. When a thought comes up just try to notice it, but don’t resist it. There is always another thought to be had, and trying to control them is just going to leave you feeling frustrated.
When you start to allow your thoughts to come and go as they please without judgment, you can start to take a step back from them.
3. You feel bored
Boredom is a very common problem during meditation. Sometimes it can feel like you’re just sitting there, doing nothing, and your mind starts to wander off to all the other things you could be doing.
One of the best things you can do if you’re feeling bored during meditation is to approach your meditation practice with curiosity and openness to whatever arises. If there is boredom, just notice your boredom like you would any other emotion or thought.
Just like you would notice any feelings of anxiety or sadness during meditation you can notice your boredom too. It is just another feeling after all.
You can also experiment with different types of meditation, such as guided meditations or mantra meditations to help keep your mind engaged and focused.
4. Not feeling motivated to meditate
Feeling unmotivated to meditate can be particularly frustrating for people trying to establish a meditation habit. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and feel like you don’t have time to meditate or that it’s not worth the effort.
If you don’t feel motivated to meditate, don’t beat yourself up, this is a very common problem. Remember why you got into meditation in the first place. Reestablish your “why”. Maybe you want to improve your focus, become more patient with loved ones, or release stress from your day. The benefits of meditation really are innumerable.
If sitting down in unmoving silence just seems completely unappealing to you, you luckily have other options. The awesome thing about mindful practice is that you can apply it to just about any area of your life.
Try mindfully making a meal. Pay close attention and focus your awareness on every vegetable chopped, the sound of the water boiling, or the taste of the delicious meal you just made.
Another one of my favorite meditative mindfulness practices is going for a walk. Take a mindful walk and make an intention to be present and mindful of everything that you hear, see, and feel during it.
5. You can’t stay awake
Sometimes meditation can leave you feeling so relaxed that you end up falling asleep! This happens more often than you think.
The time of day that you meditate will affect how sleepy you are and the likelihood that you’ll fall asleep during your meditation. Some people will actually meditate at night on purpose to help them fall asleep, but if you’re not trying to fall asleep I’d recommend earlier in the day.
Morning meditations can be a great way to start your day with a clear mind. Afternoon or midday meditations are also a great alternative to those sleepy nighttime meditations to help you take a break from your day.
If you have trouble staying awake during a meditation make sure to check your posture. You’re much more likely to fall asleep if you’re meditating lying down. Try meditating in a chair or upright on the floor to stay alert and awake for the duration of your meditation.
6. Feeling frustrated or irritated
Feeling irritation and frustration during meditation is very common. Whether it’s directed at yourself, the meditation or the environment around you frustration can keep you from relaxing and enjoying the benefits of mindfulness.
Anger is a common emotion and like all other emotions that arise during meditative practice, we should begin to deal with it just by becoming aware of it. Notice your frustration as it arises and just hold it in your mind and body without judgment. All emotions and thoughts arise and fall away in time. Resisting or becoming frustrated with your frustration will only make it worse. Try accepting and holding any anger that arises. With time it will begin to dissipate.
7. Feeling uncomfortable and restless
Restlessness and feeling uncomfortable can definitely pose a problem for many meditators. If you begin your meditation in an uncomfortable position, you may find yourself fidgeting and wiggling around later on.
If you can’t seem to get comfortable during your meditation you may need to reevaluate your meditation setup. Try to find a spot that is not too hot or cold. Make sure to put a pillow, blanket, or yoga mat underneath you to protect yourself from the hard floor. Sit somewhere with back support like a chair or up against the wall.
There’s no rule in meditation that says you can’t readjust yourself mid-meditation, so always move or change positions if you find your current position uncomfortable or painful. Continue to meditate after your readjustment and remember to plan ahead next time for a more comfortable meditation session.
Meditation can pose many challenges, but the rewards far outweigh the problems you may face. No matter what issues you encounter during your meditation, it’s important to be kind to yourself and be mindful of any emotions or thoughts that arise about it. If you feel frustrated, bored, or doubtful, just become aware of those feelings and thoughts without judgment.
You’re right around the corner from the many amazing benefits that mindfulness and meditation have to offer.
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