Everyone is raving about the benefits of meditation, and you very well know that pressing the pause button on a regular basis would positively impact your mental and physical health? However, no matter how much you try, your meditation practice doesn’t seem to be moving forward? Maybe, you are unable to focus? Or sitting still is a nightmare for you? Then these strategies on how to meditate when you are restless may help you boost your meditation practice.
A common mistake when people start meditating is to expect too much right from the beginning. If you struggle to quiet your mind for 15 minutes, why not start with a short 3-5-minute meditation session? If you are experiencing difficulties sitting still, you might want to start with breathing exercises or a yoga session. It’s ok to start small and you’ll be more likely to stick to your practice if you set reasonable expectations.
Also, make sure you don’t beat yourself up when your meditation session didn’t go as you expected or if you had to skip a session or two. Being kind to yourself will make it easier for you to gradually improve your skills and ultimately reach your goals.
Set meditation goals
Do you know why you are meditating or what you are expecting from this mindfulness practice? Are you doing it just to follow a trend or because you heard it’s beneficial? Or are you actually looking for a specific result?
Just as in many other areas in life, consciously setting goals will help you stay consistent, focused and motivated.
Examples of meditation goals:
- Quiet your mind
- Take a break
- Tune in to your body
- Tune in to your intuition
- Be more focused
- Improve your concentration
- Reduce your anxiety
- Extend your awareness
As mentioned in the section above, be sure to start small and set achievable goals. You can still re-adjust them as you go.
Make time for meditation and be consistent
As a parent, the sheer thought of adding yet another item to our busy schedules can feel daunting. However, if we are honest with ourselves: Who doesn’t have 5-10 minutes they can free up daily or at least several times a week?
Meditating every day at the same time and in the same environment will help you create a habit. Your mind and body will be prepared for the practice and, at the same time, you are stating your commitment to yourself.
So why not put it into your diary and make a date with yourself?
Work out the right meditation practice
There are many ways to practice meditation. From breathing exercises to mindfulness practice over guided meditations, there are plenty of techniques to try out. Not every method is suitable for everybody. Try to be open and enjoy the experiment.
These are just a few examples to try:
- Breathing exercises
- Guided meditations
- Mindfulness exercises
- Body scan
- Walking meditation
- Gratitude practice
- Enjoying the present moment fully
- Using mantras or affirmations
Once you have found the practice that works best for you, try to stick to it for a while to give yourself the chance to take your meditation to the next level.
Find the right environment
If you feel stuck in your meditation practice, the reason could be that you haven’t worked out the right environment for you yet.
Personally, as I’m very prone to distractions, I discovered that meditating in a darkened room with some white noise helps me stay more focused. Even though I still struggle to stay concentrated for more than 7-8 minutes, I feel that this is the right environment for me. That’s one of the reasons I meditate before going to sleep.
There are many ways to tweak your meditation environment:
- Add white noise, natural sounds, or music
- Practice inside or outdoors
- Close or open your eyes
- Focus on something (e.g., a candle, a flower)
- Find a comfortable posture
Get rid of false beliefs
“I need to completely quiet my mind to meditate.”
“Meditation should take place in a cross-legged position.”
“I have to meditate for at least 20 minutes every day.”
Do you have any beliefs on how to meditate? If yes, try to identify them and make sure they are not getting in your way.
Also, try to notice your beliefs regarding your ability to meditate. Perhaps you have always been told that you are unable to sit still, or you are convinced that you are unable to pause and do nothing.
Actually, meditating is nothing more than letting go. Letting go of your thoughts (which is different from stop thinking), letting go of your tension, letting go of your resistance, letting go of false beliefs. Try to free yourself from any negative beliefs and enjoy the journey.
Finding inspirational resources on how to meditate can have a highly motivational effect.
There are many ways to find inspiration:
- Read a book or a blog about someone’s journey with meditation practice
- Watch videos
- Find a forum to exchange ideas with like-minded people
- Motivate a friend to meditate so that you can share your experiences
- Attend a meditation or yoga class
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to meditation. Be creative and invest the time necessary to work out your ideal meditation practice. Also, be sure not to focus more on how to meditate than on the meditation practice itself.
If after trying all these tips, you still find it hard to meditate, you should consider taking a break and having a fresh start in a few week’s time.
Let me know how you handle your meditation practice in the comment section below!