Meditation is something that seems like it could be easy yet, when you actually practice it you soon realize your mind is a lot harder to quiet then you could ever imagine. This can cause frustration which will make your meditation practice even harder and can unfortunately lead you to abandon your practice all together. Over the year though, I have discovered some techniques that you can use anytime you’re having difficulties getting centered and quieting the mind. Here are 5 ways to instantly improve your meditation.
This might seem counter intuitive but caffeine is something that monks have been incorporating into their meditation practice in the form of tea for thousands of years. Caffeine will cause feel good chemicals to be released in the brain which will put you in a pleasant, euphoric state as you sit. Also, caffeine will improve your mental focus and awareness which will give you better control over your thoughts. Whether you choose coffee or tea, a simulating drink is definitely something worth experimenting with. [http://coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/caffeine-and-mental-alertness/]
Ask this Question
“What is the next thought I will have?” This simple question works surprising well for quieting your mind. Asking this question is like putting a microscope over your thought process. You will notice that when you prepare yourself for that next thought, that next thought doesn’t come. That space between asking this question and your next thought is the ideal state you’re looking for while meditating.
When you have meditated for a while you begin to notice that you really only think about ten or so thoughts consistently throughout the day. Just like listening to the radio, your mind will play the same old songs over and over again. Noting is the practice of labeling these familiar thoughts. By labeling your thought patterns you make it easier to cut these stories short which will allow you to quiet your mind much faster.
In Buddhism the word mantra means “mind protecting.” A mantra is a word that you repeat in your mind over and over again to prevent your thoughts from doing its usual routine. A mantra can be any word you choose such as love, peace, ram, or om. Mantras can come in handy when you are having a difficult time getting centered.
When people begin meditating they often approach it with high expectations. They think they should be able to enter states of no-thought effortlessly and for long periods of time. This will often lead to frustration when they realize how difficult it can be to slow down their steam of thoughts. If you instead approach meditation as a practice in forgiveness, meditation can take on a whole new dimension.
No matter how long you have been meditating for, eventually your mind will secret a thought or two and it can be very easy to get lost in it. Once you realize what has happen, instead of beating yourself up for getting lost in thought, practice forgiving yourself and simply start over again.
This practice in forgiveness won’t only make your mediation easier but it can also make your life in general easier as well. Through this practice you will realize that whenever someone upsets you they aren’t intentionally trying to hurt, they have just temporarily gotten lost in their emotions or ego. Just like how our minds don’t intentionally try to disrupt our silence, practicing forgiveness with yourself will help you forgive others as well.
Science is proving now more than ever that meditating can be incredibly beneficial for everyone who practices it consistently. However, since meditation seems easy but is actually unsuspectingly difficult, I find that people give up on it sooner than they should. If you have become frustrated with your meditation abilities then try incorporating these techniques and I believe you will find yourself meditating longer and more consistently than ever before.
My name is Nathan Wiebe and I am the founder and writer of the Eat.Exercise.Live.Differently blog . I am somewhat of a health and lifestyle scientist who loves experimenting with different ways of living. My mission in life is to introduce people to various ways and means of escaping a mediocre life. Sometimes you have to be your own hero so I do my best to provide the tools and resources that will lead towards a complete lifestyle upgrade.