There is nothing more wonderful than the practice of meditation for encouraging introspection and calm. Does everyone benefit from it though? I’ll start by saying that, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been meditating for the past 33 years. Every morning, I devote the first hour of my day to reading and studying material relating to my mindfulness training.
My secret weapon is the daily practice of meditation, which helps me see, calms my racing thoughts and anxiousness, and gives me perspective on life’s inevitable challenges. It’s like going to a “spiritual gym” that always makes me feel better and boosts my vitality. So, does it indicate you should try mediation? There are several variables at play there
Any practice that encourages introspection, concentration, and awareness might be considered a sort of meditation. In this piece, we’ll concentrate on the classic method of meditating, which is doing nothing more than sitting quietly, paying attention to one’s breathing, and letting one’s body and mind unwind. Doesn’t that just seem nice and relaxing? So then, what’s the issue?
Who Might Have Difficulty Meditate
If you have any of these long-term health issues, you should probably avoid meditation.
Anxiety can cause a person’s thoughts to spiral out of control, leading to paranoia, irrational fears, and other negative emotions. Concentrating inward may cause a heightened sense of dread and unease.
Depressed people often avoid social contact, retreat inward, and spend too much time by themselves. The practice of meditation has the potential to encourage solitary behaviour.
Dissociation and Panic Attacks Are Common Side Effects of Trauma
Trying to calm one’s mind when experiencing flashbacks after a traumatic event can feel like an insurmountable task because of the disorganised state of one’s thoughts. Instability and fragility of identity are hallmarks of psychotic episodes, which are often defined as a failure to engage in reality testing. The meditative state has the potential to amplify and deepen this split.
When someone is in the grips of active addiction, it might be challenging for them to benefit from meditation or treatment. Drug and alcohol cravings and ideas may arise during meditation. So, it is clear that introspection is encouraged throughout the practice of conventional meditation. Your symptoms may become more severe if they are triggered by an internal conflict caused by emotional or mental stress.
Some Alternative Methods of Meditation
If you find traditional meditation to be too difficult to endure, try a kind of meditation in which you focus on a task or activity instead of on your thoughts. To temporarily relieve your mental anguish, try a form of meditation that makes use of your sense of touch or other sensory stimulation.
I once helped a young man who had been traumatised by a near-fatal vehicle crash. Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms were overwhelming for him. His thoughts would not be still no matter how hard he tried to meditate. He felt like a failure at meditation with each new try, and his self-esteem plummeted.
Then, when he was cleaning out his garage, he came across a tiny piece of newly cut pine. He pulled out a knife from his pocket, settled himself on a crate, and began a methodical whittling. He found that the more he thought about the wood, the more at ease he became. His whittling and woodcarving became his new kind of Zen meditation. At first, he carved modest kitchen implements like forks and spoons to give as presents to his loved ones. Eventually, he decided to take an art class and try his hand at more ambitious projects.
By Honing His Innate Skill, He Was Able to Find the Peace of Mind He Had Been Seeking
Because of this, his heart rate and metabolism dropped, his mind was cleansed, and he was able to divert his attention away from the agony for a while. His work eventually gained symbolic meaning as medical aids.
If you’ve ever experienced anxious thoughts or feelings while meditating, it may be instructive to look into what they’re trying to tell you. A clue that you need to make a change in your life or your meditative routine may occasionally present itself. There are other occasions when you are invited to look at a problem area where you have been avoiding the truth and where you would benefit from receiving some kind of help. Here are several sources of stress that you may encounter while meditating, along with suggestions for dealing with them consciously.
Critique, Embarrassment, and an Obsession With Perfection
Meditation is not a contest, and there is no “best” way to meditate. Although certain methods may be more effective than others, there is no universal method of meditation. No one has a higher spiritual or moral grounding than anyone else simply because of their methods. Feelings of worthlessness and depression are natural outcomes of being subjected to shame and criticism. The level of success you have does not determine your value. Don’t feel bad about yourself if you don’t meditate often.
Isolation is a result of the false impression that meditation is too difficult, time-consuming, or costly to do. A simple 15-minute meditation practice can be learned for far less than that if you so choose. Regardless of your financial situation, you can find resources for learning how to meditate online (including free resources like YouTube), in the form of guided meditation audio tracks, or with the assistance of a private teacher.
Heavy and Bitter Emotions Have Set in
Even if you sit quietly for five hours every day, the benefits of meditation will be little if you feel obligated to do so. Rather than seeing meditation as a chore, try to consider it as a chance. Indeed, it’s not always easy to force oneself to engage in healthy behaviours, such as regular exercise, punctual sleep schedules, and the consumption of greens like broccoli.
Even if you can only spare five minutes a day to meditate, you’ll reap far greater benefits if you approach the practice with a growth mindset and see it as an opportunity. If you can’t shake the feeling that it’s a chore or punishment, don’t force yourself to. You’ll simply build up hatred and resistance if you do this, and by the end, you won’t even want to do it. (the opposite of serenity). Give yourself some time off and try again when you’re in a better frame of mind. You should do less at first and then more, but only up to the point where you start to get bored.
Putting Yourself in a Comparative Context
Meditation and yoga stance comparisons are popular. There will always be areas in which you feel you excel and others where you feel you fall short. This type of thinking is counterproductive because it prevents you from achieving the very goal of meditation, which is to cultivate calm serenity inside yourself. Distinction and rank result from comparison. Both spiritual snobbery and feelings of inadequacy are possible outcomes. This suggests that you’re bolstering your ego at the expense of your mental health.
Trauma is Triggered
Meditation should be stopped if it causes anxiety, unsettling intrusive thoughts or recollections, or a feeling of dissociation from one’s physical body. Anxiety disorders and unresolved traumatic experiences can be to blame. It’s preferable to wait to meditate until the stress and trauma have been dealt with. Individuals with unresolved trauma may experience dissociation or out-of-body experiences. To help deal with your trauma or PTSD you can visit Recovery Direct’s website to get in touch with a professional through online sessions.
Contrast This With Astral Projection or Attempts at Levitation
Although it may feel wonderful at the moment, using meditation as a means of checking out or distancing oneself is neither healthy nor safe. Dissociation is a coping mechanism whereby a person attempts to leave their body to deal with traumatic experiences, which only serves to amplify the traumatic events.
If you’re meditating but aren’t sure if you’re doing it right, pay attention to whether or not you can feel your legs or your breath. Take note of whether you feel your energy coursing through your body or whether you perceive yourself floating above the ground or floating in space. In that scenario, you should probably open your eyes. Practice meditating with your eyes open, concentrating on a single spot in the room.
Press Your Feet Firmly Into the Ground When You Sit Down
It could help to tense and relax your leg muscles several times to send a message to your parasympathetic nervous system that it’s time to deal with the tension. (relaxation response). If you’re still having trouble being in the here and now, dealing with the trauma should come first before you try to meditate again.
Frustrated by the End Product
The good effects of meditation may be immediately noticeable, or they may take time to show themselves. Make an effort to establish a new routine or behaviour over at least eight weeks. Do your best to meditate for 15 minutes every day, once a day. Then you can decide if meditation is worth your time. In general, meditation is a good fit if it helps you feel calmer, more in the now, and less tense. It’s totally up to you if you want to alter the timing or duration. If, however, after two months of regular practice, you still feel worried, tense, or terrified, you should stop your meditations and investigate the root cause of your distress.
You Have No Interest in Contemplative Practices
The positive aspect of this is that you can reap the benefits of meditation without really doing meditation. There are numerous options available to help one calm their thoughts and unwind their muscles. You should look for an activity that has a similar effect of calming your mind and making you feel at peace with yourself. Some people find that activities like swimming, jogging, playing an instrument, knitting, gardening, singing, process painting, and even gardening can be a form of meditation. Rather than forcing yourself to conform, discover what’s effective for you, value your individuality, and be consistent because you want to.
It’s a Challenge to Breathe
Just taking a deep breath can help. Slow, diaphragmatic breathing is crucial for our mental, physical, and emotional well-being, as evidenced by modern science and old knowledge alike. You don’t have to meditate to feel peaceful and less reactive, but you can’t escape your breath. The air is available whenever you want it, which is fantastic news. All day long, if you have a heartbeat, lungs, and a tummy, you can breathe.
Practice deep breathing as soon as you get up in the morning and continue to do so while you go about your day, including while you are in the shower, while you are driving, while you are waiting in line, while you are engaging in conversation, and while you are drifting off to sleep. Learning to breathe deeply and slowly may take practice. Initially, the breathing may be irregular, short, restricted, or centred largely in the lungs. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself.
This is a practice for the rest of your life; you may not see immediate results, but your hard work will pay off in the long run. Deep breathing is a great alternative to meditation if you dislike the practice of sitting quietly and focusing on your thoughts. You’re giving your body a helping hand by bolstering its innate defences.
Methods of Meditation Exploration
Consider some of the solo, alone pursuits that restore your vitality and help you refocus your thoughts, and see how you feel afterward. If you’re starting to feel more peaceful and stable, you’re on the correct track. Some examples of unconventional hobbies include: walking, hiking, fishing, swimming, surfing, painting, cooking, chanting, exercising, writing, stretching, drawing, creating, reading, and gardening.
Finding the best meditation practice for you will require some exploration and practise. Take pleasure in the journey and keep in mind that meditating is good for more than just your mental health; it may enhance every facet of your existence.