With so many things pulling for your attention during the day, it can be hard to find the inner focus you need to feel calm.
You can feel like you’re not sure what’s going on in your mind, and are just being pushed and pulled in every different direction. In fact, mental disorders like anxiety are characterized by the feeling of being unable to control one’s thoughts, which ultimately leads to being unable to control your feelings.
What’s more, is that disquieting thoughts can lead to many different problems, such as insomnia. One holistic way that many are using to combat the effects of this is meditation.
Meditation is all about gaining awareness of your mind and body. It isn’t about changing who you are, or altering your personality. Instead, the focus is on getting to know yourself and your thoughts, and using that knowledge to improve your life.
The ultimate goal of meditation is to achieve mindfulness. Mindfulness is the act of being fully present in your surroundings, staying fully engaged in the present moment without getting easily distracted. A mindful person is not easily distracted, and lives completely in the moment without the dizzying amount of fearful thoughts that normally characterizes human life.
But achieving this is easier said than done. The average person struggles with clearing their mind for meditation, which makes achieving mindfulness difficult if not almost impossible.
So, what can you do to help clear your mind so you can experience the benefits of meditation? Let’s take a look.
1. Read up on What Meditation Is, and Its Benefits
The first step is truly understanding what meditation is. There are many misconceptions swirling around about what meditation should be like. Be sure to inform yourself of what it is, and what you should expect after your first few sessions.
There are a number of ways you can find this out. You can start by reading books on the topic, or finding information from sources online. Also, if you know someone who meditates often, you can also talk to them about what the practice really entails. When you have enough knowledge, then you’re ready to take the next step.
2. Decide on a Goal for the Mediation Process
After becoming fully informed on meditation, you can start to frame your knowledge in the context of your own goals. It’s important to go into every meditation session with a goal, and ultimately you should have a goal for what you want meditation to help you achieve.
Again, this is where the knowledge you gain in the first step will come in. It will help you set realistic goals.
Your goals can be as simple as wanting to learn more about yourself, or more holistic like wanting to use meditation as a way to cope with your anxiety. Once you’ve got your goal (or goals) you’re ready to finally start meditation.
3. Find a Quiet, Comfortable Spot
The next step, is to find a quiet comfortable spot that will make it possible for you to mediate. Many people choose to use a private room in their homes, or their office during lunch break.
You’ll want to make sure that wherever you choose has a comfortable chair, since you’ll want to meditate while sitting upright and not laying down. Also, you don’t want to get too comfortable or you may fall asleep.
Lastly, ensure that you won’t have any distractions. This means turning off the television, silencing your phone or telling family members not to disturb you. Once you’ve done all this, you’re ready to move on.
4. Don’t Try to Force Yourself to Clear Your Mind
Forcing yourself to clear your mind is the quickest way to make meditation frustrating. As you may have learned during the knowledge gathering phase of step one, clearing your mind isn’t how you begin meditation.
Instead, the focus of meditation is learning your thoughts and recognizing what filters into your mind on a daily basis. So, when thoughts pop into your mind, your first instinct should be to let them come and go.
Clearing your mind is impossible, but choosing what you focus on is. Mastering that, will lead you to the next step.
5. Focus on Your Breathing
Bring your focus inward, by focusing on your breathing. Since the place you choose to meditation should be quiet, focusing on external stimuli won’t help.
Your breathing is the most constant sound there is, and its sound will be amplified since you are being so still. Meditation is all about changing where you focus your attention, and relying on yourself to set the pace. Where the challenge may arise in this situation, is that you’ll be tempted to “force” yourself to breathe.
Resist the urge to do this. Instead, allow your body to be. Breathing will happen naturally. When you’ve internalized this and start to practice it, you can move on to the last step.
6. Close Your Eyes and Hone into Your Body, Without Passing Judgment
This is arguably the hardest part of meditation. Coming to recognize that the thoughts that filter into your mind are you and allowing yourself not to pass judgment on them.
While meditating, you may find the things that pop into your mind stupid, or crazy. But, the key to achieving mindfulness is to be able to allow them to pop into your mind without passing judgment. Though this requires a lot of practice, after a while you’ll be able to accomplish it. First, for just a few minutes, until eventually, you can meditate for thirty-minute or even hour-long blocks of time without losing your focus.
With these six tips under your belt, you’ll be more than prepared to get the most out of each of your meditation sessions, as well ensure that your mind is clear—in the right way! Do you meditate? If you do, do you see how any of these tips can help you?
What other suggestions would you give? Let us know in the comments below.