How to Benefit From Meditation Even If You’re Bad at It

How to Benefit From Meditation Even If You’re Bad at It

Despite constantly hearing about all the benefits, it’s hard to actually get into meditation. Many people who try to meditate feel as if they failed. I’m one of those people. What do you mean you’re supposed to “clear your mind?” That’s where I keep all my thoughts!

At first I chalked it up to that fact that mindfulness meditation wasn’t for me. I assumed I was a special ball of anxiety who could never successfully quiet my mind. Luckily, some of my equally anxious, yet far more enlightened, friends shared with me how to reframe the practice. And let me tell you — meditation is a whole lot more relaxing when you let go of the notion that there’s only one right way to do it. Here’s how you, too, can overcome the mental block of failing at meditation.

Reframe what meditation is “supposed” to feel like

Every time I’ve tried to start meditating, I’ve faced the same conundrum: I think I’m supposed to think about nothing, which of course leads me to think about everything.

The key to getting into meditation is to reframe the practice away from the goal of clearing your mind, and toward the goal of “witnessing” your thoughts. For most of us, the instruction of “don’t think” is futile and stressful. Instead, a more practical approach is to accept and embrace whatever thoughts do come into your head.

The challenge is to sit back and let your thoughts drift in and out without causing a strong emotional reaction. In this sense, Verywell Mind points out that you can use meditation to “choose your actions more wisely,” since you’ll be paying attention to your thoughts without letting rash emotions get in the way.

The takeaway here is that your meditation goal doesn’t need to be to “empty your mind.” So long as you’re focusing on your thoughts and attending to them as objectively as you can, you can count that as your mindfulness practice for the day.

Don’t be discouraged: Meditation is like a muscle

Meditation is more like a workout than it is a quick fix to your stress. And when you first start a new workout regime, you’re going to feel a little sore. The only way to overcome that soreness is to keep at the practice consistently. Look at meditation as a muscle; it might not work at first, but that’s because you haven’t put in the work yet.

Meditation gets easier, but you need to move on from the notion that you’re failing at something. If you’re showing up to listen to your own thoughts, then you should count that as a meditation win.


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