Help! I can’t meditate!
“10 things you can do to help you to Meditate”
What do you do if you just can’t unwind enough to get into a meditative state?
Don’t despair! Here are ten techniques to help you to get to your happy place.
So you’re on board. You have figured out that meditation is amazing and seen some awesome results.
Perhaps you’re sleeping better, you’ve got a spring in your step, and you’re getting some interesting intuitive guidance.
Well what do you do about those times where you want to meditate but you just can’t seem to quieten your mind?
Picture this. You have been busy working all day and you’ve got 15 minutes spare before you need to start cooking dinner. So you think, I’ll just fit in a quick meditation. You sit in your favorite spot, close your eyes, focus on your breath, and then you’re thinking, I forgot to book that meeting… I forgot to put something out for dinner, and on it goes. You try every technique you know but you just can’t seem to get in the flow of it.
Sometimes you need to take a different approach.
Ten Techniques to Help you Meditate
1. Drop and give me ten – ten push-ups, twenty sit-ups, jog on the spot – anything that causes you a little pain will help you to come back into the present moment, and focusing on the present moment will help to slow down that internal chatter.
2. Wash the dishes – or do any basic activity, but do it mindfully. Wash the dishes and feel the warm water on your hands, smell the detergent, concentrate on being in the moment. You should feel a sense of peace come over you, and then you should be ready to meditate.
3. Dance like nobody’s watching – put on your favourite tune and go crazy. Pull out all your best moves. Besides bringing you into ‘the now’ this works as stress relief, giving you a quick wind-down from your day.
4. Be guided – for some, a guided meditation may be the way to go, but pick one you haven’t done before. This will force your mind to have to focus more as you follow what you’re supposed to be doing, hopefully getting you in ‘the zone’.
5. Do a brain dump – take a few minutes to write out everything you’re feeling; all your frustrations, all of the not so pleasant experiences that happened during the day. It doesn’t need to look pretty just get it onto paper. This is another fast wind-down technique.
6. Count to 100 – and try it standing on one foot. Being forced to focus on the present moment will ensure your ‘monkey mind’ has to take a break.
7. Do nothing – don’t try and meditate or do a technique but just sit there for five minutes with your eyes open and no entertainment (that includes mobile phones!) The boredom should slow your mind down enough to help you to get into a meditative state.
8. Try a moving meditation instead – do some tai chi or go for a mindful walk and really feel inside your body. Moving slowly, feel the pressure of your foot on the ground, feel where your arms are held, notice your muscles flexing and releasing. Without any judgment, be aware of what thoughts come up. For some people moving really helps as it gives their mind something to focus on. For more information about walking meditations, check out this Explore Meditation blog post.
9. Have a shower – and when you do, picture the stress of the day leaving your body, and flowing into the drain. Get into some cozy clothes and then watch the magic happen!
10. Gratitude – nothing gets your head in the right space for meditation like gratitude. Try thinking of ten things that went well during the day. You got to sit in your favorite chair at lunch, the person at the coffee shop smiled at you, you got to pat a dog on the way to work. This will shift you away from your negative thought patterns and remind you that life is good, helping you to feel as happy and peaceful as a Buddhist monk!
Some days one of these tips may work, and other days you may need to do multiple. Maybe try a different technique each time you need it and see what resonates with you. Don’t be concerned about cutting into your meditation time. Five minutes of focused meditation is going to feel a lot more delicious than 15 minutes of your mind racing away from you. If none of these work for you, then it might be a sign to find another time of the day to meditate. Many people enjoy waking up ten minutes earlier in the morning to squeeze it in then, while your mind is still in a very peaceful state. The trick to meditation is finding a way to make it work for you. Happy meditating!