Meditation offers many scientifically proven benefits, although the advantages may need to be specifically spelled out when we first begin. You can meditate with complete dedication and still feel things aren't going as planned. It may take some time to figure out how your practice is unfolding.
Medical researchers across the world have found meditation a proven way to reduce stress. The innumerable benefits of meditation transcend beyond the physical; it extends to mental, emotional, and psychological aspects. Here are some ways meditation helps your physical and mental health.
Mental Benefits of Meditation:
Improves self-awareness and self-esteem
Improves focus and concentration
Improves one's ability to manage stress
Helps with depression and anxiety
Overcome addictions, reduce fatigue and chronic pain
Reconnects one with inner peace and happiness
Physical Benefits of Meditation:
Improves self-awareness and self-worth
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces physical tension
Slows the aging process
Strengthens the immune system
Keeps us energized throughout the day
So, if you still think meditation doesn't work or isn't for you, wait and see if something is wrong. Here are some common mistakes you might make while practicing meditation.
6 Mistakes you may be Making in your Meditation Practice
1. Trying too hard to keep your mind from wandering.
There's no need to be hard on yourself if you get sidetracked during meditation multiple times during your practice, as long as you follow a dedicated approach that suits you best. It's absolutely normal and part of the process. Many people strive hard to have a state of thoughtlessness. That effort is counter-productive and is not a part of meditation. Think of thoughts as clouds and your awareness as the sky. Thoughts would come and go. Don't try to engage or shoo away your thoughts. Instead, just be aware of these thoughts without any judgment. The key is whenever you realize you have lost in your thoughts, just recognize and come back to the object you are focusing on, whether it is your breath, body, sound, sensations, or just the space itself. The space between the thoughts will expand with your practice. Meditation is about accepting things as they are and seeing them as they are. The very effort or desire to reach a certain stage is living in the future. Let things go, and stop being so hard on yourself. Self-criticism is a surefire way to drive a wedge between you and your meditation practice. Instead, thank yourself for recognizing the distraction and simply refocus.
2. Expecting too much too soon.
It's wonderful if you started your meditation practice after hearing about the many benefits meditation offers. Once you have built the habit, it is best to stop thinking about the results and start practicing purely because it is good for you. Try to let go of all expectations and do it daily, just like you should wash your hair, eat, and sleep. It is ironic that when you drop your expectations about results, you get better ones.
How do you change your mindset?
Learn to appreciate the process itself. Enjoy how you feel after sitting for a while: serene, clear, and at peace.
If you do it regularly enough, you'll realize that, on average, you actually feel lighter, calmer, and less stressed.
Meditation, of course, has many scientifically proven benefits. Still, if you do it for the sheer joy of it, for the peace, calmness, and relaxation it brings, for the feeling of stillness & silence inside you, the aliveness and awareness it brings in us, you will get even better results.
3. Being inconsistent in your practice.
Inconsistency is another common mistake people make. Just like running for a few days or irregularly will not make you physically fit, you need to have a bit of consistency in your practice for a calmer mind.
The focus should be on maintaining a consistent length, technique, and perfect posture. Consistency should be your first focus when initiating or developing a meditation practice. The quickest and most painless way to form this routine is to meditate first thing in the morning and gradually increase the time spent doing so. Even if you can only commit to five minutes a day at first, make it a point to stick to that schedule, no matter what.
Have a busy day tomorrow. Wake up early and try to practice.
Are you traveling and sharing a hostel room this week? Can you do it?
Are you doing it right, or do you have the correct posture? Do it anyway – and read about it later.
See, obstruction exists, but if one is focused, positive, and self-disciplined enough, nothing can derail their intention to meditate today.
4. Not giving enough time to a technique.
If you're starting out with meditation, it's OK to try different meditation techniques. In fact, it is encouraged to do so. Give time to each technique before deciding if it works for you. Various individuals have indeed varying preferred ways of doing things. Thus, it is essential to try many approaches until you zero in on the one that yields you the best results. Try one out for a week to a month to acquire a "taste" for it, and then switch to another if it isn't working for you. Some seasoned practitioners have experimented with more than 70 different types of meditation!
Ultimately, one or more techniques could work well for you and suit you the best. This is especially true for the practice of concentration meditation. Repeatedly focusing on the same thing, like your breath or a mantra, makes it more "charged" with your attention. So your mind grows more attuned to it. As a result of this familiarity, future sessions with the same object will require less effort to keep in mind.
6. Not doing enough preparation.
See, you can sit and start meditating regularly without proper practice or preparation; no harm there. But you still need to improve here if you are talking about the finest results. For effective meditation, you need to put in more effort.
If you could -
- 1. Calm your body and breath
- 2. Make a special effort to keep your comfortable
- 3. Identify a decluttered and relatively silent place for your practice
- 4. Put your mind to contentment
- 5. Affirm your intention
- 1. Don't be bothered by distractions
- 2. Try to sit or lie still
- 3. If you need to move, do so compassionately and consciously instead of making spontaneous movements
- 1. Gentle Transition
- 2. Keep a Journal
Then, the results will speak aloud about how amazing it is.
7. Practicing in a noisy environment.
While you can meditate to the sound (and it is a great meditation technique in itself), newbies find it difficult if there is too much noise in the environment. Although meditation is not time bound or space-bound, you can meditate whenever you want. Only try to keep a calm environment.
How to Overcome these Mistakes
The first step is not to get overwhelmed.
If you see that you're making more than one of these "meditation mistakes," take it slow and focus on correcting only one at a time. Getting started with the modifications that are either the simplest or would have the most significant effect is best. It is impossible to become an expert in just a few months. It takes time and effort to reprogram your thinking.
You will still reap benefits from meditation even if you encounter some of these problems during your practice. You can get a lot out of meditation as it is, but if you want to maximize its advantages and explore its potential further, you should follow the proper guidance and rest assured that doing so will be a good decision.
In case you have any queries regarding meditation and mindfulness practices, you can ask our experts. We will get back to you within 24 hours.