Meditation soothes the mind and the body, helping us to relax, switch off from daily stresses and focus on the here and now. But, knowing how to meditate correctly isn’t always easy, especially for the newcomer. If you find that meditation isn’t bringing you any health gains, you might be doing it all wrong. Here are some common meditation mistakes to avoid.
In order to reap the benefits of meditation, you need to do it frequently. If you only meditate now and then, you can’t expect to gain any results. Ideally, you should aim to meditate daily, even if you can only manage a few minutes. Experts reckon you’ll benefit more by meditating for 5-10 minutes every day compared to half-hour sessions two or three times per week.
Attempting to jump into a meditative state straight from a busy task won’t put you in the right frame of mind, so if you want to get into the zone faster and more effectively, prepare yourself beforehand. This can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths, or affirming your intention in your mind before you begin to meditate.
Distracted by distractions
Many people who meditate get worked up by distractions, whether that be through physical interruptions or unwanted thoughts cursing through your mind. While it’s always a good idea to meditate in a place as free from distractions as possible, you won’t do yourself any favours getting annoyed by them. In fact, meditation gurus argue that in order to carry out this practice effectively, you need to embrace distractions. By recognising when distractions occur and allowing your brain to calmly put them to one side for now, it will make you relax more and get back into the zone.
Relying on external aids
The rise of guided meditation apps and music can be of use to those who might want some assistance with this practice, but it’s not a good idea to rely on these alone when you meditate. External aids such as apps control or guide your thoughts, but meditation should also be about you guiding your own thoughts. By allowing yourself to listen to your inner person, you gain a much greater insight into your being. So, even if you do find the apps handy, spend some of your meditation time not using them.
Moving from one technique to another
There are different techniques you can use in meditation, so it’s important to spend some time finding one that works best for you. However, when you choose a technique get to know it fully first before you start jumping onto the next one. You won’t gain the full benefits from a technique if you keep switching to others.
Having said that, it’s also important to choose a technique that makes you feel comfortable, especially if you suffer from a particular health condition. So, rather than soldiering on with a technique that’s not right for you, move to one that suits you and your body better.
Meditation can be a relaxing experience but it is far more than just that. If you go into it expecting to be transported to a total state of calm then you’ll probably end up disappointed and bored. In fact, meditation is a mixture of being both relaxed and alert. It’s about recognising and accepting your feelings whatever they may be, and not trying to fight them.