What to do if you can’t meditate

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Meditation is a fantastic way to relax, increase concentration and improve creativity, but often it’s easier said than done. Sitting perfectly silent and focusing on your thoughts and breathing can feel very unnatural, and there are many factors that tend to get in the way. But one important thing to remember is there no right or wrong when it comes to meditation, it’s just about finding what works best for you.

We’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help tackle the most common issues people face when trying to meditate:

Start small first

If you’re new to meditating, you may find it difficult to focus for long periods of time. Start with just two or three minutes at roughly the same time each day (morning is best if you can). Once you’re comfortable you can increase the time by two minutes, until eventually you’re meditating for 10 minutes every day. Baby steps!

Find a position that works for you

A common misconception about meditation is that you need to sit a certain way for it to be effective, which often leads to discomfort. It’s best to find a position that is comfortable and feels natural, otherwise you won’t be able to move your awareness away from your posture – making it impossible to relax.

For a sitting meditation, many people find it best to sit with their spine straight and feet flat on the floor – so find a comfortable chair and prop a cushion behind your back.

Don’t get caught up on clearing your mind

You’ll often hear people say they can’t meditate because they can’t stop their thoughts. Thinking you aren’t allowed to think? Oh, the irony. Being able to clear your mind during meditation is great, but it isn’t the end goal. The key is to stop resisting your thoughts, thinking is natural and our minds will always have an endless flow. Instead, practice focusing your attention and become aware of the silence that is naturally present in the mind along with the thoughts.

Use a meditation app or listen to a podcast

Meditation apps and podcasts are great as they guide you through your breathing and awareness, as well as giving your mind something to focus on rather sitting in silence. They also cover lots of different topics such as anxiety, sleep, confidence and motivation.

Some of our favourite apps include Headspace, Smiling Mind, The Mindfulness App and Calm. If you’d rather a podcast a few we’re listening to at the moment are Meditation Station, Meditation Mini’s and Meditation Oasis.

If after all this you’re still struggling and have concluded that meditation just isn’t right for you there are plenty of other activities that have similar positive effects, such as walking, spending time with animals, having a bath or even painting – any activity that brings about a sense of calm and clarity.

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