We all have days when we’re in the zone, feeling completely calm and relaxed. Other days, not so much. Our minds are going a thousand miles an hour while thoughts and to-do lists are consuming our thoughts. On those days, it’s especially difficult to get into a focused state but it happens to all of us. It can be frustrating when you can’t control racing thoughts and shallow breathing, enough to make you want to forget meditating altogether. Don’t give up so easily!
These five tips will help keep your mind centered and enhance your meditation practice. Find a quiet spot, grab your mat, and get ready to regain your sanity and your zen!
5. Create a Space
Find a place in your home that you can designate as an area you use strictly for meditation. A quiet place that has minimal interruptions will be best. Even if you only have a corner in your bedroom, make sure it’s away from the TV or any other electronics and free of any clutter. You can place a candle or incense in this space or hang a photo that reminds you to focus on your breathing.
If you don’t have a room or space in your home, simply take out your yoga mat or a pillow and use it exclusively for meditation purposes. This will trigger the mind to get into a relaxed state.
4. Prepare the Mind and Body
Going into a meditation session with racing thoughts and shallow breathing is not going to get you very far. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, try going through a few gentle poses to get your body and mind prepared. Sometimes when the mind is unsettled, it can be difficult to get the body to follow. Downward dog and child’s pose are perfect and will help you ease into your practice.
3. Let Go of All Expectations
Like many things in life, we all put expectations on ourselves for what we believe something should be. Meditation is no different. Letting go of any stress or preconceived notions of what the perfect meditation practice should look like is counterintuitive. Everyone’s practice looks different and that is totally fine.
What works for you might not work for someone else and vice versa. Each time you meditate might even be different, depending on many factors. Try to relax your mind and just focus on your breath. Let go of all control and let your meditation take you where it needs to go. You might be pleasantly surprised the minute you let everything unfold on its own.
2. Leave Your Problems and Stress at the Door
Or anywhere outside of your designated meditation space. All of the things that you are worried about will be waiting for you when you’re done. Let this be your time to find peace within, away from the chaos of the world. Just like you make appointments to see your doctor, this is a very important appointment as well.
Imagine you are in a bubble, where time stands still. No negative thoughts can enter your bubble. Let the breath be your main focus, as you take deep inhales through the nose and exhales from your mouth.
1. Be Gentle with Yourself
Even the world’s most spiritual and experienced yogis and meditators encounter times when they have a difficult time finding inner silence. You will most likely experience this one time or another, but don’t get down on yourself. Your mind will want to wander and that’s okay. Acknowledge when this happens and move on.
One day you might be more preoccupied with a problem than other days. On those days, make sure you are extra gentle on yourself. Create a loving mantra for yourself and repeat it over and over again in your head. This is your practice, unique to you so don’t compare it to anyone else’s practice.
This is it. Thanks for reading! Which step is your favorite?