There are so many myths surrounding meditation and I think that they’re one of the main reasons why people put off trying to incorporate it in their routine. Starting something new is hard enough as it is and it’s way too easy to talk yourself out of it with all of these excuses.
I definitely believed some of these myths before I established my routine. Thinking that I had to sit perfectly still was my biggest roadblock. I kept getting discouraged because I was so fidgety and, as a result, I wouldn’t meditate at all. Once I started incorporating walking meditations into my practice, it finally clicked. I didn’t have to fit into the meditation stereotype that has been created and I could do whatever worked best for me.
I hope that I can help debunk some of the misconceptions that you may have so you can get started on your own meditation practice without getting discouraged.
Myth 1 – You have to sit perfectly still
Ask anyone on the street what they picture when they think of meditation and they’ll probably respond with something along the lines of someone sitting perfectly still with their eyes closed, hands on their laps, with their finger and thumb pressed together. While many people choose to meditate this way, you do not have to sit in a cross-legged position with your hands on your knees and your eyes closed in order to meditate effectively.
There are so many different forms of meditation. You could go for a walk, you could lie down, you could dance, you could sit in a chair. There is no right or wrong way to position yourself while meditating – it’s whatever works best for you!
If you’ve been having a hard time incorporating meditation into your routine, try a different method and see if that works for you instead.
Myth 2 – You’re not supposed to have any thoughts while meditating
This may be the number one myth about meditation and is probably the cause of many people giving up in frustration. It’s completely normal for thoughts to pop into your head while you’re meditating and this does NOT mean that you’re doing it wrong. The whole point of meditating is to be able to notice the thoughts as they come in, acknowledge them, and then set them aside.
Some believe that by choosing to redirect your thoughts to a single point of focus, you are actually strengthening that muscle in your brain. This can help improve your reactions to stressful events throughout the day and leave you feeling calmer when things don’t go quite as planned.
Myth 3 – You have to meditate for X number of minutes every day
Fill in that number with whatever popped into your head when you read it.
There are people who meditate for 5 minutes a day and there are people who meditate for 2 hours every day. There are people who swear by meditating twice a day for 20 minutes each time. Everyone is different and there isn’t a perfect answer for this.
The key is to start small and then build up so that you don’t get discouraged and stop altogether. I always suggest starting with 5 minutes in the morning or at night (or both). Try to incorporate the 5 minutes into your routine in a place that will be easy to stick with. Once you get used to that, maybe try increasing it to 10 minutes a day, and then 15. See what the sweet spot is for you.
Myth 4 – Meditation is only for people who are stressed
Meditation is for anyone and everyone. Meditation does lower cortisol, the stress hormone, in our bodies, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t beneficial for people who aren’t feeling stressed. There are so many other benefits to meditation including controlling anxiety, boosting our immune systems, improving our concentration, decreasing blood pressure, and improving sleep.
Even if you don’t have anything specific that you want to focus on, it can help create better self-awareness and more mindfulness on a day-to-day basis.
Myth 5 – Meditation is hard
Starting anything new is always the hardest part. I really think that the hardest part of meditation would be actually convincing yourself that you have time in your day to fit it in.
It can definitely be hard to sit still for 20 minutes straight if you’ve never done that before. It can also be hard to think of absolutely nothing when your mind is usually going a mile a minute. Good thing that neither of those things are actually required in order to have a successful meditation!
Cut yourself some slack and know that meditation is just like anything, it takes practice and time to get good at. Give it just 5 minutes a day for 30 days and see what differences you notice in your life.
Which of these meditation myths did you believe?
5 Meditation Myths That Need To Go
April 2, 2019