Tips to help you eliminate racing thoughts and stay focused when meditating!
Oh gosh do I have a love/hate relationship with meditation. It’s become such an essential part of my existence and one that really does help — but my mind’s racing thoughts just LOVE to cause interruption.
Chances are if you’ve ever meditated (or attempted to) you know the feeling.
There are you trying to mentally drift off into the clouds but work, a fight, troubling news, all the things on your to-do list or even the weather are getting in the way of your zen. It’s a perfect Catch 22. The busy and chaotic world we live in makes meditation so beneficial at the same time it makes it so difficult.
The good news? If you’re looking for tips to help stay focused when meditating you have definitely come to the right place!
After several years of trail and error, I’ve worked out a number of simple but effective ways to silence my thoughts — even when it seems impossible. Today I’m happy to pass along this knowledge to you because I know just how very frustrating nagging thoughts can be when you’re desperately trying to mentally disconnect.
Find my top six tips to help stay focused when meditating below and be sure to let me know if you have any tricks up your sleeve as well!
6 Tips to Stay Focused When Meditating
Tip 1: Triangle Breathing
You could also do “square” breathing but the absence of breath tends to stress me out so I go for triangle breathing instead. What the heck does this mean? Cycling your breath while counting.
Breath in for 4 seconds. Hold for 4 seconds. Exhale for 4 seconds.
Triangle breathing is one of my favorite tips to stay focused when meditating because it really requires my full attention. It’s a sure fire way to cut through the noisy clutter of my thoughts, forcing me to live in the moment and focus strictly on the breath.
Bonus: Triangle breathing is also an excellent way to quickly address feelings of anxiety.
Tip 2: Check In On Your Body
That good ole “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” nursery rhyme of our youth can also come in handy when meditating. Redirect your focus from racing thoughts to the present by performing a body scan.
How are your head and neck feeling? Your arms? Your hips? Be present in your current physical state.
Tip 3: Calming Noise for the Win
Silence is tough. Sitting in a silent space with only the sound of your breath keeping you company makes it easy for thoughts to creep in. On the flip side, trying to have a chilled out moment becomes next to impossible when the sound of sirens, lawn mowers and city bustle is blaring outside your window.
Help yourself stay focused when meditating by setting up some calming spa-like music or even a fan. Their comforting sound will break up any interruptions outside your window but also give you something to zero in on to silence your thoughts.
Tip 4: Hold Something
The connection between touch and the brain is a magical one. It’s also one that can help you stay focused when meditating!
Some are big believers in meditating with crystals, others use rocks. But the truth is it really doesn’t matter. Any object that you can hold will do! Direct your attention to the sensation of the object in your hand and you’ll start to drift away into a meditative state.
Tip 5: Don’t Worry About Failing
When I first tried meditation, I was so worried about doing it “wrong” that I got nothing out of my practice. The pressure I put on myself to be a master meditator spoiled the effort altogether.
Then I asked myself: so what? So what if I’m not Queen of Zen? So what if I start thinking about what I’m going to have for dinner? So what if I notice there’s a load truck outside or start running through my to-do list?
There’s no gold medal for meditating so let go of this idea that you should be perfect at it. You’ll be amazed how much releasing that pressure will help you be better at meditating as well as falling asleep (if you’re an insomniac like me).
Tip 6: Choose Small Over Big Doses
We all know there’s a big difference between running a 5K and running 5 miles. Likewise, there’s a big difference between meditating for 10 minutes and thirty. Or even a marathon meditation of an hour (which I have never been able to do).
Cut yourself some slack and start with small, manageable sessions. Even if that’s just five or even three minutes, you’ll be amazed how much that small amount of time spent meditating can make a difference in your overall mood and sense of clarity.
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