Despite the mainstreaming of meditation, I still hear all kinds of excuses about why someone thinks they cannot meditate. Unfortunately, a lot of these excuses are rooted in misperceptions or myths that have been around for centuries.
As a certified meditation teacher, I want to dispel some myths and untruths in hopes of encouraging anyone reading this to give meditation a chance.
Meditation offers us so many mental, physical and emotional benefits. When you meditate, you increase your level of self-awareness, which builds the foundation of your ability to be emotionally intelligent. It also helps you tap into your heart’s desires and get clear about your priorities. Being clear about your priorities helps you focus and make better decisions about what matters most to you. This translates into more joy, happiness and fulfillment in your life.
Clients that I’ve taught how to meditate overwhelmingly credit their meditation practice for helping them better manage just about everything in their lives, from daily stress to big career transitions to having difficult conversations with people they truly care about.
When you don’t have a stress reducing practice like meditation, you can experience a lot of anxiety, brain fog, sleepless nights, depression, and/or stress-induced physical symptoms like high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and increased inflammation that can create serious health issues.
A meditation practice is exactly that -- a practice that gets easier to do over. I cannot think of anything that gives you a greater return on the time you invest in meditating. There are thousands of studies that prove meditation improves our mental, physical and emotional health.
Despite the massive benefits supported by research, I continue to hear all kinds of reasons why people do not meditate. The top 5 excuses I hear most often are as follows:
1. I can’t stop thinking. It’s impossible to stop thinking and that is not the goal. You have an average of 60,000+ thoughts a day. The goal of meditation is to interrupt your thoughts and normal thinking patterns. To help induce a relaxing state, begin with a point of focus that acts like an anchor for focusing on one thing to quiet your mind.
The more you meditate, the less mental chatter and busyness you will experience. When your mind wanders off to your to-do list (as it most likely will), just return to your point of focus as often as you need to during your meditation time.
2. I don’t have time. The irony about this excuse is once you meditate every day, your perception of time shifts and expands due to feeling more present and self-aware.
You do have to find space in your schedule to integrate the daily ritual of meditation into your life. James Clear, author of the book, Atomic Habits, recommends a technique for adding something new into our lives called “habit stacking.” He believes we can integrate a new habit more easily if we stack it onto a habit we already established. For example, you could meditate after brushing your teeth in the morning, or meditate after taking your morning shower.
The best time to meditate is whatever the ideal time is for you. Experiment with different times, from first thing in the morning before breakfast to before lunch, to after work or before dinner.
3. It will conflict with my religion. Meditation is not a religion. People of all faiths and people of no faith meditate. Some meditation approaches have roots in Eastern philosophies and religions, but modern day meditation is a breathing exercise.
Whether you consider yourself a religious person or not, meditation will only make you more aware of whatever you believe.
4. It’s too hard. Meditation is not hard. If you can sit and breathe, you can meditate. Sometimes people don’t know that they need an anchor as a point of focus when beginning to meditate. For example, your point of focus might be your breath, a mantra, an image, or someone’s voice in a guided meditation. It should be something that you find calming and relaxing.
5. I can’t sit cross legged on a cushion with my fingers and hands in a strange position. You don’t have do any of those things! All you have to do is sit on a chair, a sofa, on pillows in the floor, or on whatever feels most comfortable to you. Sitting is preferred so you don’t go to sleep. The most important thing to do is to make sure you’re in a comfortable seated position.
While I’ve heard even more excuses about why people don’t meditate, those 5 are by far the ones I hear most often.
In conclusion, meditation should not feel like one more thing on your to-do list. Taking time to meditate is an important investment in your wellbeing. By sitting and breathing, you eliminate accumulated stress, calm your nervous system, refuel your energy tank, and reset yourself to feel more positive, optimistic and resilient.
I work with leaders to teach them all about mindfulness, meditation, and how to leverage those practices to increase their emotional intelligence and excel in all aspects of their lives.
If you want to learn more about how I do that, schedule a complimentary call with me by clicking here. Together, we can figure out if I can help you or at least recommend some good next steps for you.
All the best,