Meditation is good for your health. Whether it’s a religious practice such as prayer, or a secular technique like mindfulness, meditation calms the mind and does wonders for the body. It even unravels emotions, and helps to gain a better understanding of the events surrounding us. Peace and improved concentration are obvious benefits, when one removes the mental chatter and un-clutters the mind.
But it isn’t always easy to achieve this state of inner bliss. Sometimes, being still for a long period can be a lot more difficult than you imagined. We’ve outlined a few problems that typically crop up when you try to meditate, and have offered some quick-fix solutions:
1. Aches & Pains
This could be the result of poor posture, or simply the fact that sitting quietly draws attention to little twinges and muscular discomfort that may have escaped your notice before.
Quick Fix: You could simply focus on the feeling, and observe your body’s sensations without any reaction. Or you could try some gentle stretching before sitting down to meditate. If you’re bothered by knee pain, sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. For back pain, try lying down and if it persists, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Use cushions, soft mats, and be aware of where you place your hands since they create additional weight. Remember that, like any physical activity, you’re bound to experience some initial soreness till you get more practice.
2. Restless Thoughts & Boredom
Most meditation beginners presume that it’s all about emptying the mind and not thinking at all, and they get flustered when they realize that their mind is a noisy place filled with several, overlapping thoughts, each fighting to be heard. The other extreme reaction is to be bored with sitting and doing nothing for such a long period of time.
Quick Fix: Instead of fighting your noisy mind, meditation is all about observing your thoughts and seeing them for what they are: abstract, formless, and temporary. Notice patterns in your thinking, which will give you clues about the worries concerning you. This will make you better equipped to deal with them in everyday life. As for boredom, embrace it. We have become so accustomed to being bombarded with information through all our senses that when we sit down to meditate, we are unable to deal with the absence of all the noise. Instead, savor the peace and relaxation that comes from temporary sensory deprivation. This will enhance your enjoyment of the sensations when you return to everyday life.
3. Drowsiness & Sleepiness
Sitting calmly and relaxing your body can lead to feeling drowsy and even sleepy. The quiet, calm atmosphere is the perfect setting to lull your senses into a state of slumber.
Quick Fix: If you’re feeling sleepy, don’t fight it because it means your body and mind need quality rest that they haven’t been receiving in adequate amounts. Instead of feeling like a failure at meditation, take time off and rest. Once you are refreshed, attempt to meditate again. It helps to choose a time of day when you are not exhausted, such as first thing in the morning, when there’s plenty of light, and you are well rested. Ensure that you’re breathing deeply. Using tools such as meditation music can be helpful, too. Avoid lying down, but be seated comfortably.