Therefore, make sure you’re not doing them or at least, initially, you’re aware of these meditation mistakes. When your meditation practice seems to add pressure instead of relieving stress, you may be doing one or combination of these meditation mistakes.
Common Meditation Mistakes You Should Be Aware
Now, let us quickly explore these common meditation mistakes. Making yourself aware of them allows you to avoid them easily, or at least you’re able to practice in avoiding them. Take note that it is important to make your meditation practice the right way.
Practicing it the right way allows you reap the benefits in the long-run. The longer you practice meditation, the better you become of doing it. However, to help you practice correctly starting today, keep in mind these meditation mistakes.
1. You Feel Bad Because You Fell Asleep
If you’re like many people who first get into meditation, chances are you’re busy at work. Because of this, your spare time to meditate is close to midnight, probably at 11 PM.
So, before going to sleep you try your best to meditate only to find 20 minutes later you have fallen asleep. Then, you get mad and frustrated that what you’re doing is not effective, and perhaps thought, it’s not working.
Well, if you get into this situation of falling asleep while doing meditation, consider it as positive and healthy. Never get mad at yourself. Take it as a good sign, instead. It is normal to fall asleep as you’re tired during the day’s work. What you should do is be thankful and grateful you fell asleep without stress.
Even with just a few minutes of doing conscious deep and relaxing breathing is good enough as a meditation for the night. In the morning, upon waking up, do the morning meditation for a few minutes. Hopefully, at this time, you’ll be able to do it and feel relax ready to face the day.
2. Difficulty Achieving Focus
Most people think especially for beginners that meditation is completely making the mind empty. In short, not thinking of anything. Well, that’s a misconception because it is impossible to completely clear your brain and not thinking of anything.
If you can’t focus while doing your meditation practice, don’t feel bad. After all, meditation is not about focus. Instead, the focus is a result of consistent and long-term meditation practice.
If your mind wanders off while you’re meditating, don’t resist it. Instead, simply notice it and get back to focusing on your breath without judgment. The more often and consistent you practice meditation, the better you have control of your focus.
3. Forcing Yourself
If you’re in a noisy situation and your mind tends to wander easily, sitting in silence for meditation is not difficult but frustrating, as well. When you’re in this situation, accept it. And, instead of looking for some quiet space to meditate, do the meditation where you are.
But, how to focus when noise is everywhere around? Well, focus on the sound around that somewhat interests you. The longer you focus on this sound, it helps you achieve and bring yourself into deeper awareness.
Simply become aware of the noise and focus on it. The more you practice doing this, the quicker you can adapt to any noisy situation and still be able to meditate. If you think this is impossible, it’s not. Experienced and long-time meditation practitioners know how to meditate regardless of the noise around them.
So, don’t stress yourself about not being able to do your meditation practice because you’re not at home, yet. Practice doing it anywhere when you can. The next time you think you miss your meditation schedule, do so wherever you are even while you’re on the bus or train.
This gets better with practice. So, practice it by doing it more often while of course, keeping in mind the time you allocate for meditation. Therefore, instead of freaking out you’re out of your meditation time, just meditate where you are. When you do this, it helps reducing anxiety and depression, and even improve pain tolerance1.
4. You Set High Expectations
Setting high expectations while you’re still beginning to meditate is a disaster. Certainly, when you’re doing this, you’ll end up in frustration and disappointments.
Meditation is a way of life or a lifestyle and gets better as you do it more often and consistently. If it is your first time to meditate because you’ve read or heard it from someone, never expect miraculous positive benefits overnight.
Instead, you can expect gradual and incremental benefits. This is why doing meditation becomes better and more effective as you do it long enough and with consistency. Do not expect too much as you begin your practice.
More often, the gradual benefits are not noticeable but as you continue the practice, you’ll be able to recognize it that you’re already enjoying it. One of the notable benefits includes lowering of blood pressure as National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health points out2. It also reduces IBS severity in women.
5. Giving Up Too Easily
One of the requirements of being successful with meditation is patience. Although this ancient practice seems subtle, it’s a powerful tool against stress and anxiety. On the other hand, it has a domino effect on health and well-being.
Therefore, if you feel frustrated and disappointed due to previous meditation mistakes mentioned above, don’t give up. The key is consistent daily practice. Mayo Clinic recognizes the health benefits of meditation such as improving and increasing patience, boosting self-awareness and better management of negativity.
6. Inconsistency of Practice
Stress does not take a day off. In fact, if you don’t take care yourself, stress is consistent and when it comes chronic, it can take a toll on your health.
Therefore, never take a day off for your meditation practice. Do it consistently daily. When possible, do it 2 to 3 times a day in a span of a few minutes. For example, if you don’t have time to meditate 30 minutes at a time, do it 3 times 10-minute session per day; once upon arising in the morning, once at noontime and once prior to sleeping.
So, be consistent with your meditation practice. For many beginners, taking a day off doing meditation is one of the meditation mistakes to avoid. The more consistent you are with your practice, the more advantages and benefits you’ll get. Plus, the priceless benefit of acquiring meditation skills.
One study published in the Biological Psychiatry3 looked at 35 unemployed individuals who were stressed about looking for a job. These individuals began to meditate experience the benefits in just three days of doing meditation. Moreover, practicing meditation regularly for four months results in more benefits.
Brain scans show that regions of the brain responsible for handling calmness, focus and stress are more active. In blood tests, the researchers found that participants have a lower level of inflammation even after four months.
7. You Think You Need To Sit Like A Monk
One of the signatures of doing meditation you’ve seen most of the time is sitting in a cross-legged position. However, this is not the case. You can meditate any position you want particularly while sitting.
If you’re comfortable sitting in a cross-legged position, then do so. However, if you’re not, then simply sit as you would normally sit but don’t lean. Sit whatever works for you in which makes you feel comfortable.
The key is doing it consistently regardless of position. As you practice long enough, you may try the cross-legged position and see if you’re comfortable doing. For most people who are not accustomed to sitting in a cross-legged position, it’s uncomfortable but it gets better with practice.
8. Meditating Only When You Feel Like Everything is Fine
As mentioned earlier, the key to a successful and beneficial meditation practice is consistency. Therefore, meditate daily and be consistent with it. Don’t just meditate during the times you feel down.
In fact, it is better to practice meditation while everything is perfect. Some people practice meditation like a prayer. They only pray only when things get rough. However, the effect is not that beneficial. However, praying while everything is in order is the best time to pray. The same is true with meditation.
There is not a better time to start meditating but right now. On the other hand, never wait for the perfect timing to meditate. Make your practice consistent regardless of situation and place. Moreover, never be picky about space to meditate. Just meditate and meditation will help you create that space.
These are the most common meditation mistakes. If you’re a beginner, you might be experiencing one or more of these mistakes. But don’t let that stop you. The more you’re aware of these mistakes, the higher your chances of avoiding them.
Keep in mind, even if you are in a busy world of corporate environment, meditation is always at your side as long as you do it with consistency. As a matter of fact, meditation is now common in the business world and it’s making a difference.
As a closing, try to do your meditation practice at the same time everytime using the same technique. Doing so helps you in realizing and enjoying the benefits of meditation a lot faster. Plus, it also helps your brain to adapt quicker making you enjoy better focus and eventually become more effective in the practice.