3 Things To Know If You Feel Like A Failure At Meditation
For quite a few people (like myself), meditation doesn’t come naturally—at least, not at first. This can be frustrating and make you wonder if you’re doing something wrong. You might even be tempted to quit meditating right away before you experience any benefits. But that would be a mistake. Meditation is one of those things that you have to give a chance in order for it to work. It’s all about making time.
Because meditation more often than not is a solitary practice, many beginners can feel like they’re the only person having difficulties. Trust me – you’re not. But it’s important that as a meditation newbie that you become aware of some of the common struggles that those new to meditation sometimes encounter.
Read on to find out three very common meditation struggles and some solutions that might work for you; in order to help you manage your stress before your stress manages you.
Struggle #1: Expecting To Feel Radically Good Or Different
Maybe you’ve tried different forms of meditation. Perhaps you’ve tried to connect with your inner self by chanting, through guided meditations, or body scans. But you’ve yet to feel good or different. You feel like the same old same old and you’re wondering to yourself, “What is going on?!”
I’d like for you to imagine for a moment that you had one hundred pounds to lose and you were serious about taking the weight off. What would you do? One thing would be that you’d probably join a gym and spend the next several months working out. You’d show up several times a week to run on the treadmill, take group exercise classes or lift weights. And especially in the beginning, it might feel like a lot of really hard work and there may be days when you don’t feel like exercising. But after a while, if you stick with it, you’ll notice a change in both your body as you get physically fitter and, in your mind, as you begin to enjoy and even possibly look forward to working out.
Well, it’s the same thing with meditation. Sure, sometimes you’ll have amazing sessions that make you feel like you’re making massive progress. But a lot of sessions aren’t necessarily going to feel that way. Most will be challenging. But that’s okay. The key is to keep pushing and remind yourself that even though it’s hard, meditation is important for your well-being. Find the method that works best for you and keep going, like the exercise you may find yourself looking forward to your meditation sessions.
With meditation a lot of the changes that happen are subtle – you’ll find yourself calmer and more in control of your emotions in stressful situations or you may feel more connected to and sure of yourself. So while there won’t necessarily be fireworks or a ticker tape parade, or a big huge shift meditation will bring about a change in you if you give it a chance.
Struggle #2: Hating The Sound Of Silence
If you live in a major metropolitan area or were living a busy, hectic lifestyle surrounded by activities before the corona virus hit, you’ve been surrounded by constant noise even if you didn’t realize it. Your laptop hums, the lights buzz, car horns outside of your window are honking just to hear themselves honk and don’t even get me started about how much of a rabbithole TV is (even though I love it 😊)!
With all of that going on, it’s no wonder that for some people, silence can feel awkward or uncomfortable. If you’re just getting started with meditation and you find the silence too much, or if you’re like me, you might have a hard time quieting all of the thoughts in your head and need something besides silence to concentrate on, consider using white noise. If you find your thoughts wandering all over the place, you can bring your attention back to your meditation by focusing on the noise.
You can listen to white noise through a website like simply noise. There are also white noise generator apps that you can purchase and use on your phone. Or you can use a physical noise generator such as the (put the one I use) which has an actual fan inside so that there’s a continuous stream of white noise and no looping. I use it to help myself sleep because my elderly upstairs neighbor is loud at night.
If white noise isn’t your thing, you could also use YouTube to look for meditation music. There are millions of videos featuring relaxing soundtracks that will allow you to slip into a mediation frame of mind. Or just download one of the many meditation apps.
Struggle #3: Getting Restless During Sessions
Don’t feel bad if this happens to you, we’re in the same boat! What’s happening is that your body is just struggling with the transition from movement to stillness. Think about this, if you were driving at 65 miles per hour and you suddenly turned onto a road where the speed limit was only 10 miles per hour, it would be a total shock to the system.
It’s similar when you meditate, especially if you’re just getting started or not used to doing it. Your body is so used to going 100 miles an hour so slowing down doesn’t feel natural. In this case, patience with yourself is key. If you get restless during meditation, don’t be hard on yourself remember it’s always important to talk that positive self-talk. Try to remember that your body is just adjusting to a different speed.
It helps if you don’t look at meditation as something to be achieved or conquered. Instead try to see it as a journey you’re taking. Your goal should be to enjoy the process and learn from it.
If you’ve experienced any of the struggles that this post talked about, what did you do to overcome? Let me know in the comments section – let’s talk!
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In