Meditation is a highly restorative and soothing practice for a mind that falls into the cycle of overthinking every now and then. It offers an opportunity to create more mental space, clarity, and serenity. Additionally, it helps the mind to heal from all the exhaustion that comes from being consumed with too many thoughts all the time. Getting started with meditation may seem like a difficult challenge if you struggle with overthinking. Difficult as it may be, though, overthinking doesn’t have to stand in the way of your meditation practice. Remember, meditation is your refuge from all the mental clutter that you’re trying to sort through and rise above. So, do give it a try with the following 10 meditation tips for overthinkers.
Set realistic expectations for yourself
As a beginner, you should think realistically about what your meditation practice may look like at this stage. For example, to expect your mind to shut out all thoughts the instant you close your eyes is burdening yourself with an unrealistic expectation. Hushing the mental noise is no easy task, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to master it right at the onset.
Another area where you might want to keep your expectations in check is the duration of your meditation practice. Sitting in stillness and quiet can get overwhelming pretty quickly. So, starting with even 15 minutes of meditation could seem like too much. If just 5 minutes of meditation seems more doable to you at this stage, go for it!
The bottom line is instead of getting hung up on any strict notions or expectations, appreciate what you’re able to do now. With regular practice, there will be plenty of scope for you to grow from here.
Choose a relaxing position to meditate in
Don’t select a position that is physically uneasy for you in any way, else the discomfort will keep stealing away your focus from meditation. You don’t want to be moving around restlessly during meditation!
The position you choose for meditating doesn’t have to be a fancy one, rather it should be one that keeps you alert, attentive, as well as relaxed. This could be anything, sitting on your yoga/exercise mat with legs crossed, or even sitting on a chair. Use props like cushions or wall if you need help in sitting up straight.
Moreover, sitting is not the only position that you can meditate in, lying down in a supine position can also work if that’s more relaxing for you.
Meditate when your mind feels most free
When is your mind least overpowered by rushing thoughts? When does your mind feel light and relaxed naturally? This is the time that you want to pick for your meditation. It could be bright and early morning before you’re starting your day, or it could be late evening when you’re winding down for the day.
You want to pick a time when your mind is least likely to be pulled away by the distractions of your to-do lists or other things that you’ve got going on in your busy life. Maybe your mind feels rested once you’re through with all your plans and tasks for the day, or maybe it tends to be the quietest before diving into the day.
Picking the appropriate time for meditation can be a big help in taming your overthinking mind.
Set a calming ambiance for your practice
A tranquil ambiance can work wonders in achieving a restful mental state.
You don’t have to take any extraordinary measures to set a calming environment for meditating, just a few simple steps can get the job done. Make sure the space you’ve chosen for meditation is clean, organized, and away from any possible sources of noise. Have plants or flower arrangements around the room if you find that comforting. Some light music can be helpful in putting the mind at ease. The temperature of the room should be just right and cozy for you, neither too hot nor too cold.
Keeping in mind simple measures like these can be great for creating an ambiance that’s conducive for meditation.
Keep your phone far away
The last thing you want during your meditation practice is to be distracted by the pinging and ringing of your phone. If you constantly feel the temptation to check messages, emails, or notifications on your phone, then it’d be best to keep your phone on silent and away during the few minutes of meditation. The same goes for other electronic devices that you may be tempted to use, such as your laptop, tablets, etc.
Your priority during meditation should be clearing out the mental pathways and inviting an influx of new, positive thoughts. Keeping the distractions to a minimum can help enable this process.
Develop a ritual to do before meditation
Instead of jumping into meditation straight away, design a short ritual for yourself to do before meditation that helps you wind down physically and mentally. You could do some simple pranayama to relax your breathing and begin building your concentration. If a hot shower helps in washing away the stress and comforting the mind, then maybe take one and then begin meditating. If you feel stiffness or tension in certain muscle groups, such as in your neck, shoulders, or hips, then do some basic stretches to loosen up these areas.
Whatever ritual you develop, it should work as an indicator to your overworked mind and body that it’s time to slow down and slip into the comfort of meditation.
Don’t get discouraged by setbacks
When there’s a constant barrage of thoughts and worries going on and about in your head, sitting at rest in meditation may not exactly feel easy and comfortable. You could find it hard to bring your mind to a single point of focus. Certain thoughts may keep popping up in the brain now and then. You may find that perhaps your concentration is great at the start of the practice, but starts to break down towards the middle or the end.
While small hitches like these may frustrate you, it’s important to recognize that it’s only natural for them to arise in the initial part of your meditation journey. This doesn’t mean that you should get discouraged and give up on meditation altogether.
Take note of your repeated distractions
An overthinking mind leaps from one thought to another in no time. Certain thoughts may be more repetitive and distracting than others.
After each meditation session, take a few minutes to ponder over the thoughts and distractions that kept cropping up during the session. Were these related to your work, relationships, household chores, or something else? Maybe your mind keeps going to the tasks that still lie ahead of you for the day. Maybe you keep worrying about things at the work front. If you discover a pattern to your distractions, you might be able to come up with ways to alleviate their impact on your practice.
Know that the few minutes you spend in meditation will only provide you extra mental strength and energy to deal with everything that the day has in store for you.
Feel proud of every little progress you make
What may have seemed too hard at the start, may now seem easier and easier with each session. Even progressing from a 5-minute meditation practice to a 10-minute practice is a reason to be excited about!
No matter how small you may think your progress is, it’s a reason for you to feel good and proud of all the efforts that you are putting into doing meditation. This will instill in you a sense of confidence and motivation to keep pursuing this wonderful practice. Acknowledge all the little improvements that come about in your meditation practice each day, and draw inspiration from this to keep doing better ahead.
Practice more often to get better
You have got to stick with the practice of meditation in order to get better and better at it. In today’s busy life, sometimes you may not find enough time, or sometimes you may just feel too lazy to meditate. Remember, meditating for even 5 minutes is better than skipping it. So, do your best to find just a little time for meditation every day.
The more often you’ll practice meditation, the better you’ll get at detaching yourself from the seemingly ever-moving train of thoughts and simply being in the moment. Gradually, you may find that you are able to hold your focus without being distracted for a longer duration. Show determination and consistency for your meditation practice and you’ll be happily surprised to see how good you become at it with time.