There are plenty of reasons to meditate, and perhaps just as many meditation struggles that cause people to give up or not even try in the first place. Let’s talk about five specific obstacles and how you can overcome them.
Resistance to wanting to meditate right now
You’ve decided you want a daily meditation practice. You’ve found an app, maybe even a specific meditation, and committed a time. But when that time comes, you feel resistant to meditating right then. You want to do other things – or tell yourself you need to do other things. You might not even know why you feel resistant; you just know you do.
The solution: To quote Nike, just do it! This is procrastination, just like anything else that you put off doing. And the only way to overcome procrastination is to just do it. When the time rolls around for you to meditate, plop your butt on the floor, a cushion, your bed, or a chair. Open your app, close your eyes, and meditate. It’s truly that simple. But if you still want to complicate it more, you can hire a meditation teacher. Paying someone to help you meditate might motivate you a little more to actually follow through.
Inability to integrate meditation into your current routine
You want to meditate, but gosh, it’s just so hard to fit it into your routine. You forget or you can’t find the time. You can’t set a time because your schedule’s always changing, or you have a set time but something always seems to come up. It just doesn’t work. This is one of the biggest meditation struggles for beginners.
Integrating meditation into your life is just like integrating anything else you want to do into your life. If it matters, you’ll figure out a way to make it work. Meditation is a bit more difficult, though, because you can’t immediately see the benefits. And since it often looks like you’re “doing nothing,” it can be hard to justify meditating over other activities that have more immediate results and look more productive.Integrating meditation into your life is just like integrating anything else you want to do into your life. If it matters, you’ll figure out a way to make it work. Click To Tweet
The solution: Try tacking meditation onto the beginning or end of the day. Meditate immediately upon waking up or right before you go to bed. These are the two times of day when you are least likely to be interrupted and are also least likely to have something else to do. If necessary, you can get up 15 minutes earlier or stay up later to fit meditation in. Alternatively, add meditation to something you already do everyday – meditate while your coffee is brewing or while you drink it, for example. Bonus tip: if you add meditation to something else you already do, try adding a sticky note to remind you (for example, put a sticky note on your coffee maker).
Can’t turn off the mental noise
This has been described as not knowing how to turn off the noise in your head and learn to listen and hear, or as being unable to still the mind. Either way, people often indicate that they feel it’s a waste of time to try to meditate when they feel this way. Here’s the thing, though: meditation isn’t about turning off your mind. You’ll never stop thinking. Meditation is about taking a step back from your thoughts. Being able to observe without judgment or attachment to what you’re thinking. In other words, the mental noise isn’t meant to be silenced. At most, you can turn the volume down.
The solution: Stop worrying about the noise and stop trying to silence it. Instead, know that it’s normal and will never go away. When you sit down to meditate, allow your thoughts to come and go as they wish. And as for learning to listen and hear? If you can learn to let your thoughts come and go as they wish, your mind will automatically determine what you need to listen to and hear and present that to you.
Can’t get off autopilot and truly be present in the moment
Similar to not being able to turn off the mental noise is being on autopilot. When you’re on autopilot and unable to be truly present in the moment, your meditation is usually spent thinking ahead (or backward). You’re thinking of what you need to do next, what you did or didn’t do before, what you should be doing now, what your kids are doing, what your spouse needs to do…the list is endless. Unlike the mental noise, however, this autopilot isn’t usually mental noise that distracts you from meditation. If you’ve ever driven somewhere and then couldn’t remember how you got there, that’s what this is like. You’ll sit for your meditation, and when it’s over, realize that you didn’t really meditate but have no clear idea what you actually thought of instead. Sometimes you will become aware of your autopilot status mid-meditation, but you still might not be fully aware of what you were thinking of instead.When you’re on autopilot and unable to be truly present in the moment, your meditation is usually spent thinking ahead (or backward). Click To Tweet
The solution: Practice. Meditation isn’t difficult, but like any skill, it can take some time to master it. The best way to learn how to get off autopilot is to simply keep practicing. When you do notice that you’re on autopilot, bring your attention back to the meditation. Don’t beat yourself up over it, simply be aware and bring your attention back to the meditation. It can also help to consider if the time of day is causing the autopilot. While first thing in the morning is a good time for most people, for some it can make it harder to meditate because they’re thinking ahead to the day ahead. If you think this might be the case for you, try changing when you meditate to see if it makes a difference.
Meditation struggles don’t have to stop you
Meditation struggles are common for anyone new to meditation. Don’t feel bad if you find that you struggle with one or more of these when you’re first starting out. If you stick with it and don’t give up, you’ll reap the rewards of a consistent meditation practice.
Which of these do you struggle with the most when it comes to meditation? If your struggle isn’t listed here, what is it? Share and see if we can’t help you resolve it!