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Aug 15, 2022

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Think You’re No Good At Meditation? Try This!


Think you’re no good at meditation?


Given it a go after hearing about all the benefits but just couldn’t get into it or ‘silence your mind’?


Decided you’re just not cut out for meditation?


You’re not alone.


However, it’s worth saying you’ve probably been spun somewhat of a yarn in terms of what meditation ‘should’ look like. 


The point is not to simply ‘silence your mind’. That’s nearly impossible as a human, especially at the start, so no wonder you struggled!


The point is to focus your mind. Notice stray thoughts and send them on their way and come back to focus instead of going on the endless loops that we so often do.  It’s also to allow space for any insight to come through if that’s what you’re looking for.


You’re creating new neural pathways for focus, attention and concentration. You’re also creating pathways that allow you to be more in touch with your own bodily sensations, your emotions and for creating and allowing for some space in your life.


Handy tools to have as a business owner…or just in life let’s be honest!


Our brains have been trained to be distracted, no wonder we have a hard time focusing on deep work. Our attention spans are the smallest they’ve EVER been and signs are that’s not changing any time soon.


You also need to remember that meditation is a habit, and just like you wouldn’t expect to lose 2 stone going to the gym once or twice you can’t expect to nail enlightenment or inner peace on your first go!


You also might have simply tried a form of meditation that just isn’t best for you!


What?  Not all meditation is good?


There’s a lot of nuance in the answer to that question. 


If you’re practicing a form of meditation that is causing you to ruminate on your thoughts or exacerbate them and then causing you MORE anxiety,  then that form of meditation is not bad, it’s just not good for YOU!


There are several reasons it could feel difficult to meditate.  One could be things like ADHD.  (Even though it’s widely recommended to be super helpful for ADHD…it can feel more difficult to start with.  Again, nuance, not everyone is the same) 


Another can be when your nervous system doesn’t register stillness and quietness as safety.  Its baseline could be more chaotic.  This is super common and something I help people with 1:1 and in my SOS! (success over stress) programme. 


Our nervous system is wired in childhood and there are SO many reasons it can register as not safe to someone's nervous system. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you, we all have to navigate different wiring.


There are SO many different types and ways to meditate. I was talking to my Dad when we went paddle boarding the other day and we figured out fishing was his version of meditation. 


So let's have a little look at some of the types of meditation that are out there and see if there’s something you’d be keen to try. I’m also going to give you some of my favourite tangible tools to try too. 


Mindfulness meditation is one of my favourites and something I'm qualifying in to be able to teach. I’ll do another episode on the neuroscience of mindfulness soon because it’s been ‘mainstreamed’ so much that it’s easy to ignore, like so many of the tools and modalities that really work on a scientific and neurological level. The other thing I love about mindfulness is you can do it in bursts of a few minutes throughout your day. It doesn’t demand so much time.  You can start with waking up your senses. What can you see, hear, feel, smell or taste? What sensations can you feel in your body?  What can you look at with more focus and detail than you have before. 


Guided meditation is a great place to start, and I still love it now. Guided meditation is where you’re literally guided by someone else in the recording or in person. There may or may not be music but it’s about being guided through the practice by someone you can trust and can calm an ‘am I doing it right’ mind. 


Silent meditation is a great way to tune back into your body. Noticing your sensations.  Noticing thoughts and emotions that might come up.  We’ve been so disconnected from our own bodies for so long that it takes time to recognise the sensations for what they are and be able to listen to the messages your body is always trying to communicate. If you’ve struggled with meditation before, this one is definitely more tricky. 


Visualisation is a form of meditation where your focus is on an image in your mind's eye instead of your breath or something else. 


Movement meditation is something I got into when I struggled with my meditation practice.  There are lots of different ways to practice movement meditations. Tai Chi, Qigong, mindful walking, and many forms of yoga.  Kundalini yoga in particular. This is such a good thing to try if you fall into the camp of struggling to switch off or be still. 


Sound baths is a form of meditation. Whether it’s gongs, singing bowls or something else.  I love a sound bath and actually went to  one for an hour and a half last week.  Glorious.


Breathwork is an incredible form of meditation, there are some forms that are totally fine to do on your own but breathwork is best performed with a practitioner. You may also need to check with your doctor that it’s suitable for you because some people it’s not.  For example if you have a pacemaker or heart problems. You can however have really profound experiences and trauma releases with breathwork.  You can also potentially panic which is why it’s really worth working with a practitioner who can teach you what to expect and what’s safe. 


Heartmath is one of my favourites.  Technically not a meditation but very close and has even more benefits.  Like using the breath to balance your nervous system and increase your window of tolerance and heart rate variability.  I’m a licensed heartmath practitioner so if you’d like to explore this one with me just drop me a message. 


Sensate is also one of my favourtie tools if you struggle with meditation because it uses sound, vibrations and also works directly with your nervous system.  If you haven’t listened to the episode of me interviewing the inventor Stefan Chmelik I highly highly recommend you do.  I also have a discount code for you as a partner. Lots of my clients use Sensate now and absolutely love it. 


Moonbird is a new company I've been working with and I love what they’re doing.  It’s a tangible breath pacer so it makes lots of breathing exercises that much easier. If you’re like me and struggle to follow visual breath pacers I think this is a game changer.  It breathes in your hand like a baby bird and you simply breathe with it. 


There’s lots of other types, zen, vipassana, vedic and lots more. 


So, I hope I've given you a little food for thought about trying to give meditation another go if it hasn’t been a great experience for you previously.  If you’re a seasoned meditator I hope you will geek out on any of the tools or techniques I've mentioned that you don’t use. 


Always remember what’s behind the intention to do something.  If you want more focus, attention, concentration, less stress, more emotional regulation, for my brain geeks if you want a thicker prefrontal cortex or corpus callosum leading to better communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain…then I hope you enjoy some of my suggestions.