Have you ever been a tiny bit curious about meditating? Do a dozen excuses pop into your mind for why you can’t give it a try? We’re here to encourage you, one more time, to give meditation a go. Richmond, Virginia-based counselor Katherine Meyersohn provides some tips to help you cultivate a practice.
Meditation tips for those who feel that they can’t meditate:
1) You are not alone and this may come as a surprise but you are not unique.
The most common reason people give for not beginning a mediation practice is “I can’t stop the thoughts racing through my mind so, I can’t meditate.” The majority of people in our society experience racing and/or ruminating thoughts at times. The good news is that awareness of this running dialogue is the first step needed to change any behavior or habit. So congratulations on taking the first step towards creating a meditation practice!
2) You have time to meditate.
The next most common reason people give for not meditating is that they don’t have the time. The reality is that meditation can be many things and only requires a few minutes per day. I recommend starting with five minutes per session, setting a timer, and focusing your attention on counting your breath – inhaling for a count of 1-4 and exhaling for a count of four. Do this once per day for a week and then, if you would like to increase the length of your meditation time, add a minute to your time each week and practice for a week. If you still think you don’t have time, note/log every time and the amount of time you spend on social media, online, and/or email throughout a day. Can you substitute 5 minutes of meditation for 5 minutes of online activity?
3) You don’t have to “empty your mind” to meditate
The third most popular reason I hear from people who say that they can’t meditate is that they believe meditation requires the meditator to completely empty the mind of thoughts and that this is the only “real” way to meditate. There is no, one way to meditate. Meditation can take many forms and variations including, but not limited to: 1. focusing on the breath, a word, or mantra; 2. letting go/watching thoughts float by like clouds; 3. Lovingkindness (a type of Buddhist mantra where you focus on and repeat a single mantra like “May I be safe” and then extend this mantra to a loved one and eventually to the universe) ; 4. guided; and 5. walking (or running) meditation. Yoga is actually also a form of meditation. I suggest that if you feel particularly anxious or restless about sitting still and/or being silent, begin with a more “active” variety such as walking, Lovingkindness or focusing on a mantra or word. All varieties offer wonderful benefits with regular, consistent practice including lowering resting heart rate and blood pressure, reducing stress, improving sleep, and weight loss, according to the latest research.
Katherine Meyersohn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and President of The Healing Arts Center of Richmond, specializing in a truly holistic approach to psychotherapy that integrates mind, body, and spirit. She has over 20 years of experience in holistic psychotherapy and wellness, incorporating a diverse array of complimentary therapies including Reiki, Yoga, Plant-Based Nutrition, with more tradition psychotherapy, to foster clients’ healing, personal growth, and optimal wellness.