Meditation is one of the best ways to de-stress, improve focus and lead a more balanced life. The stress reducing benefits of meditation were clearly illustrated in a 2012 study. The study which lasted eight weeks involved a group of human resource managers who were split into three groups. One group used meditation training, another group relaxation training and the final group was given no training. At the end of the eight week period the stress levels of all three groups was tested. The group that had been meditating showed lower stress levels than both of the other groups.
Overcoming Barriers To Meditation
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While the benefits might be clear, the actual practice of meditation can be more challenging. There are are common barriers and issues that people face which stop them from realizing the full benefits of meditation. Often these problems are significant enough that the meditator gives up the practice out of frustration. These barriers are particular a problem for people who meditate by themselves. Without a teacher to guide them through the meditation practice they may not know what to do when faced with problems. Below you can learn some of the most common problems that are encountered when meditating and how to overcome them.
Struggling With Restless Energy
One of the most common problems that beginning meditators struggle with is having too much restless energy. Typically they find it difficult to sit down and remain still for the full meditation session. The desire to stand up and move can distract their minds from practicing meditating. At worst, they may cut their meditation session off early because they feeling an overwhelming desire to move around.
Firstly if you are struggling with restless energy it can be a good idea to switch your meditation session to first thing in the morning. Make sure to avoid stimulants like coffee or energy drinks before the session. One of the reasons that we experience restlessness is because our body’s have been in motion throughout the day. It takes time for our body to catch up with where our mind is when we start to meditate. Meditation can help to teach you to control these impulses. If you are feeling restless, refocus on your breathing. Notice where in your body you feel restless. Observe the restlessness in a non critical way and allow the feeling to pass on.
Internal chatter is another very common issue that people who meditate face. This one is not only a problem for beginner mediators either. Even experienced meditators can experience difficulty with the “monkey mind” that swings from one thought to the next. Of course the practice of meditation is designed to help with exactly this problem. So when you experience internal chatter you should know that everyone else is as well.
Internal chatter is completely natural. The goal of meditation may be to find peace, but we don’t do this by resisting the chatter. When we resist, we only make the sounds louder. Instead we need to observe the internal chatter in a non critical way. When a thought comes into your mind, note it, and then allow it to float away. Return to your breathing or mantra and continue with your practice.
Most of us are not trained to sit for prolonged periods of time in one place. As a consequence when we meditate after some time we may start to feel uncomfortable. This is particularly a problem if you are trying to assume complicated meditation poses or sitting on a hard surface. The discomfort may reach the point where you are too distracted to meditate.
The first thing to realize is that there is no one right way to meditate. In general it is best to meditate with your spine erect but straining. This will allow you to breathe comfortably and clearly which is part of the meditative practice. However this does not mean that you need to use any specific sitting pose or that you can’t use a seat. Many people find the practice of meditation much easier when they sit on a cushioned chair with a hard back. If you do this, make sure that you sit with your body erect against the back of the chair.
It is important to understand that the challenges and problems you face when meditating are very common. Finding it difficult to focus on your breathing or mantra or experiencing too much energy or discomfort, are very typical issues. Approach these problems with a non critical mind and don’t give them more importance than they deserve. Meditation is a journey which we all travel at our own pace.
– Self Help Robot