If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate during meditation, know that you aren’t alone. In fact, many of us who struggle to focus, feel like we must be doing something wrong. Worse, we think that meditation simply isn’t for us. I’m here to bust that myth. Meditation is for everyone, but it requires constant work, improvement, and focus. There are also so many different styles of meditation. Struggling to concentrate using one style, doesn’t mean that you can’t meditate. Rather, it may mean that the style of meditation that you have chosen is not the most suitable for you. It may just mean that it’s time to try a new meditation style.
Whether you are new to meditation or have been practicing a long time, look for the style that suits you best. Beginners are usually encouraged to explore a variety of meditation styles before choosing one. This is some great advice! But, if you are new at this try choosing just one. If you are mixing up styles it’s no wonder you’re finding it difficult to concentrate. Through sticking with one system, you’re setting up an environment conducive to improved concentration. Your mind already knows what to expect. Having a selected meditation practice is the first step toward a better concentration.
If you are inconsistent of course concentrating can become a bit tricky. Try not to skip days and stick with it. Meditation, like any other skill, improves with practice. If you’re only going to meditate a bit here or there, you aren’t giving it your all. Give yourself the structure to integrate meditation into your life and improve your technique. Imagine you were trying to learn tennis, and you showed up to classes or practice every once in a while. You would not expect to improve much. Your progress would be slow and you might feel frustrated. Even if you aren’t new to the game, when you don’t show up to practice, your skills get rusty. The same is true for your ability to concentrate during meditation. If you make space for meditation on a daily basis, no matter how difficult it is, your skills will improve. Concentration will come easier to you, and your mind will be more receptive to the process. Making a habit out of meditation is a big step in assisting your ability to concentrate and focus.
Another very important thing to do is to create a time for meditation. By setting aside a specific time of day dedicated to meditation you limit distractions. This immediately makes meditating a little bit easier. Timing is everything when meditating, so be sure to set aside a specific amount of time for practice. Usually, first thing in the morning is best. Focusing your mind before the start of the day sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you’re a beginner to meditation, start with 3-5 minutes per session. If you are more advanced, set a time limit on your meditation session. Try to extend the time you spend as you progress. Knowing that you will sit for a set amount of time helps clear thoughts and aids in concentration. Because time can feel warped during meditation, try using a timer.
For many of us, meditation is something we want to do for ourselves, and our self- improvement. But many people lack the focus and concentration. Try setting a meditation goal. You can use this to realign your thoughts and refocus during meditative practice. Ask yourself what you want to get out of meditating. Are you looking to quiet your mind? Are you using it as a skill to help relieve your stress and anxiety? Are you hoping to become more self-aware and enlightened through meditating? Once you have a goal your ability to concentrate will automatically become a lot easier.
Often, when you start meditating you feel excited, inspired and motivated. You have your eye on the goal. As time goes on, you lose sight of why you started meditating in the first place. Instead of being something exciting you start to feel uninspired. You get in a rut and feel like meditation is a drag. Of course, concentrating becomes a lot more difficult if we don’t really feel motivated to do it. So take a few steps back, and find what inspires you to meditate. Ignite the spark once again. It will get easier and more enjoyable once more.
These great ideas help make concentrating a little bit easier. But it still takes time and effort to improve your attention and focus. One obstacle that can really get in your way, is labeling yourself. Avoid negative self-talk like “I just can’t concentrate”. If that’s what you believe about yourself and your abilities, then no matter how hard you try, this belief will become true for you. Change your attitude and arrange your schedule. You’ll soon start to notice your focus becoming a lot sharper.