You sit down in a quiet room, anticipating the joy that will come from a good meditation session. You settle into place, close your eyes, and begin to focus on your breathing. Then your stomach rumbles, telling you about the lunch you forgot to eat. The kids start arguing about who gets to be the first player today. Your phone rings somewhere. The neighbors start yelling at their dogs, who just found a squirrel to bark at.
Yeah. It’s going to be one of those days.
Everyone has trouble meditating every now and then. Distractions just enhance this trouble. Yet with these tips, you can get started on your next session no matter how much trouble you’re having right now to achieve your meditation goals.
#1. Give It Time
Set realistic goals that will help you build up some endurance against the distractions that threaten your meditation time. Give yourself a goal of 5 minutes of actual meditation each day when you first get started and then slowly build up the amount of time you allow yourself. Do your very best to meet this time even if the distractions are tough.
#2. The 10 Second Rule
It’s not about food that hits the ground. It’s about how long you allow yourself to feel guilty or experience regret as you begin to meditate. Everyone makes mistakes that they’d like a “do over” on. When the mind begins to calm down, these emotions surface because we’ve suppressed them for so long. Don’t ignore these difficult feelings. You also don’t want them to dominate your meditation session. The 10 second rule for each specific emotion will help you find some balance.
#3. It’s Not a Task
Meditation often fails because it’s something that gets put on a checklist of chores that need to get done. This is why so many feel like they can skip a meditation session. When meditating is put up against a deadline at work, cooking dinner for the family, and the other responsibilities that fill up a day, it will lose almost every time. Think of meditation as a source of contentment instead of a job and you’ll find that you can get much more out of each session.
People often make themselves become busy so they don’t have to think about the problems that are going on in their lives. Work becomes a distraction. Social sites like Facebook and Instagram, TV shows, or doing Netflix and chill for an evening are distractions. Meditation eliminates that distraction. If you are spending 45 minutes per day on Facebook, you’ve got time to meditate.
#5. Stay Motivated
There are times when people need to rest. There are also times when people need to find something that motivates them to keep going. Why do you want to meditate in the first place? What are the advantages you expect to receive when this habit becomes part of your life? When you can stay motivated and keep your focus on what meditation means to you, then it will one day become a habit that you’ll feel awkward without.
It’s easy to be skeptical about meditation when there are distractions aplenty in today’s world that split your mental focus. If you can commit to a specific time each day and practice these 5 tips, then the troubles you’re having with meditation today can begin to fade.