I will pay the EMI loan tomorrow. I have to pick up the kids at 3 PM. Let me eat something healthy for dinner. Did I pick up the laundry from the dry cleaner? Trisha has unit tests coming up. Let me move the deadline for the deliverable from Friday to Monday. Do these thoughts sound familiar?
Have you ever started a peaceful meditation session only to be bombarded by a whirlwind of thoughts and distractions? Don't worry, you're not alone! All of us have experienced the lively dance of an overactive mind during meditation, and it can be frustrating. When we practice meditation, many of us come to the realization, perhaps for the first time, that our attention is often taken up by our thoughts. This realization is significant as it brings a sense of awareness.
By simply noticing the busy thoughts during one meditation session, you've taken a step towards finding calm and peace inside you. In this blog, we'll answer common questions that beginners often have about staying focused while meditating, and we'll give you easy tips to help. Let's get ready to make your meditation practice even better!
My Mind is Always Busy, Lost in Thoughts. What Should I Do?
Meditation helps in calming the mind and subsides your thoughts. But we all know that putting your mind to rest is not easy. Our thoughts have the power to overshadow reason, and their intensity can be overwhelming. They can take the form of aspirations, expectations, doubts, memories, and anxieties.
Before you go into an attack mode to shun all your thoughts, understand that it is common and normal for thoughts to come. Do not make the mistake of trying to rid yourself of thoughts. As you learn to meditate, don't try to control your thoughts. Allow them to come and go. Don't cling to them. When you take a step back and observe your thoughts, you become less reactive to situations and thoughts. In other words, be centered. Learn to recognize your thoughts when they occur, so you do not lose yourselves in a trance—believing thoughts to be reality and identifying with them. Because we are so often lost in thought, it is helpful to simply notice this fact first. Then amidst the thoughts, here are a few suggestions that can help to steady your attention during meditation:
Anchor your attention to the body or breath over and over. This is like tethering the busy thinking mind to the "present." Even though it pulls away, you patiently and gently bring it back repeatedly.
Commit to not judging the advent of your thoughts. Instead, respond to thoughts with acceptance and friendliness.
When you find you're lost in a compelling thought, mentally whisper to yourself reminding that your thoughts are real—they are happening—but they are not reality. They are just a mental representation. You don't have to believe your thoughts!
Just like a body of water stirred up by the winds, your mind will gradually calm down after being physically still for a while.
Why Does My Body Experience Strong Emotions When I Meditate?
Ever wondered why strong emotions pop up while you meditate? Well, it's quite normal. When we meditate, all sorts of feelings can come to the surface. It's like your body's way of healing. You see, every emotion has a story, and sometimes they've been suppressed inside us for a long time. But meditation helps these emotions find a way out. It's like giving them a chance to be heard and then letting them go. So, if you're feeling some big emotions during meditation, don't worry – it's just your body's natural way of healing and letting go.
Here are a few suggestions to deal with strong emotions during meditation:
Observe and accept: Instead of resisting or reacting to the sensations, adopt an attitude of curiosity and acceptance. Observe the sensations without judgment or attachment, allowing them to interact with you naturally.
Focus on the breath: If the sensations become overwhelming or distracting, you can redirect your attention to the sensations of your breath. By anchoring your focus on the breath, you can create a sense of stability and calmness.
Grounding techniques: If you feel disconnected or ungrounded due to the sensations, try grounding techniques, such as gently placing your feet on the ground, focusing on the sensations of your body touching the surface beneath you or visualizing roots extending from your body into the earth.
Once you start meditating with focus you'll learn that intense feelings are more like passing storms that bring chaos for a while before moving on. Instead of dismissing, denying, or drowning in the feeling, cultivating an embodied presence fosters a discerning and compassionate connection to it.
Try this simple breath meditation and see how relaxed and rejuvenated you feel by the end of it.
Idanim is a mindful meditation app created for inner peace & emotional well-being with over 1000+ guided mindfulness meditations and 40+ categories like learning to meditate, stress, anxiety, sleep, confidence, failures, relationships, etc. These meditations can be downloaded offline as well for better portability & access. Idanim was created keeping the daily challenges in mind and has seen great results, including increased productivity and lowered stress levels. We have assembled a unique group of teachers from all over the world with a combined mindfulness and meditation experience of more than 200 years. Idanim conducts 'Live Events', including Masterclasses by globally renowned teachers covering topics like focus, managing failures, stress, etc., and daily Mindfulness and meditation sessions where users can practice with a dedicated group. The LIVE sessions also give users the opportunity to interact with our teachers and ask questions directly. This enables users to stay motivated and continue on the same path.