The benefits of a daily Meditation Practice are seemingly endless. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, aid in weight loss, and improve relationships, among other powerful brain and body benefits. In fact, we wrote a whole article detailing the myriad of benefits you can reap when you get started with a meditation practice.
But it can also feel like an overwhelming practice, especially if you’ve never done it before. Where do I start? I can’t stop fidgeting . How long should I sit? I don’t have time. Should I play music? I can’t turn off my brain
If any of those thoughts sound familiar, you are most certainly not alone! In this article we’ll discuss some of the common mistakes people make when getting started with meditation - plus how you can avoid them and be on your way to zen in no time!
What are the things you should not do during meditation?
When it comes to getting started with meditation, the most important thing to remember is that you’re not doing it wrong. There is no wrong when it comes to meditation. It is your practice and it is deeply personal. It doesn’t need to fit a certain structure in order to be effective.
Keep an eye out for the benefits of your practice in your quality of sleep, your stress levels, and your feelings of mindfulness in your everyday life, as this is where you can confirm that you are in fact doing it right.
Look out for these 5 common mistakes when starting out with meditation and remember these fixes in order to have the best experience.
1. Your Expectations are Too High
If you’re just starting out, you most likely won’t be able to sit and meditate for hours at a time, nor will you come out of it having experienced some sort of monumental transcendence. Don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting too much from your meditation sessions too soon.
The Fix: Allow the Experience to Just Be
Remove any and all judgements from your meditation sessions. Don’t be too strict with your expectations of how long it should be or how relaxed you should feel or put any unnecessary pressure on the experience.
2. You’re Waiting for the Perfect Time
As with most things in life, there will never be a perfect time. You can always find some excuse or another to put off your meditation session. You don’t need the perfect essential oil diffuser, the perfect yoga mat, the perfect opening in your schedule or the perfect meditation playlist to have a great experience.
The Fix: Let Your Practice Be Imperfect
Ditch the excuses and just get it done. Commit to just 5 minutes then re-evaluate your feelings. If you’re in a good place keep going, if it still doesn’t feel right, get up and try again another time. Meditation is like exercise both in that it doesn’t need to be done all at once and that once you start, you usually end up feeling good enough to finish a session.
3. You aren’t Consistent
Consistency is the key to everything in life, and a meditation practice is no different. If you’re constantly letting yourself off the hook you will never make it a habit and you won’t reap the benefits.
The Fix: Make it a Non-Negotiable
Schedule your meditation sessions into your planner or the calendar on your phone, just as you would a workout, a meeting or a dinner date, and don’t blow them off.
4. You’re So Consistent that You’re Forcing It
There are times when the just get it done mentality is counterproductive. If you’re physically or mentally exhausted, sick, overly emotional, etc, then trying to force a meditation practice may not be the best idea.
The Fix: Let Yourself off the Hook when Necessary
Be honest with yourself about your feelings or about the situation at hand and act accordingly. If there is a better way to take care of yourself in the moment, opt for that instead.
5. You Judge Yourself too Harshly
Quieting the mind is easier said than done and when just starting out with a meditation practice you’ll definitely notice your mind wandering. Thoughts and emotions pop up during meditation and the worst thing you can do is criticize yourself for letting it happen.
The Fix: Acknowledge and Move On
By simply acknowledging that your mind has wandered, you can take a step back, let the thought pass, focus on your breathing, and start again. Remember that it happens to everyone and skip the self-judgment.