When it comes to mindfulness, it can feel like a never ending battle against the mind. Forget about reaching enlightenment, you simply want to feel more focused, centred and balanced as you go about your day.
The challenge is that you feel the same. Nothing seems to be paying off, no matter how hard you try.
Mindfulness exercises can seem like a daunting task but when done correctly, they can leave you feeling more calm and better able to go about your day.
When you become mindful of any mistakes you may be making, it’s easy to know how to course correct them along the way. Below is a list of mindfulness mistakes to be aware of…
1. Watching the clock
If you are constantly looking at the time or wondering how many minutes have gone by during meditation, then this can actually be distracting you from the purpose of sitting in the first place.
You are not being mindful by looking at the clock – rather you are choosing to focus your attention on anything but the silence going on inside.
Solution: Remove clocks or the sound of ticking from your nearby vicinity. If it’s distracting then remove it from your environment during meditation or mindfulness exercises. Focus instead on the silence – and relax into this space by using your breath.
2. Following your thoughts
It may seem mindful to follow the path of your thoughts, but often they only lead you in a big circle of confusion.
You may come around from meditation feeling even worse than when you began. This can mean that your thoughts didn’t serve you at all – in fact they often drag up old emotions you thought you had buried deep inside of you. All in all, leading to one big distraction.
Solution: Focus on a mantra to keep your attention fixed and to avoid any distracting thoughts.
3. Trying to do too much
Perhaps you’re using a guided meditation app on your phone, or you spend a lot of time listening to new age tracks.
Either way you’re placing too much focus on external settings and your environment as opposed to focusing on the inside.
Solution: Practice sitting in silence and closing your eyes. Focus on the silence within and get comfortable with seeing and hearing nothing. Allow the peaceful feeling to wash over you.
4. Not trying the meditation technique for long enough
Patience is a virtue and when it comes to meditation, you need to learn to accept that it can take time.
The benefits of meditation can be accumulative and show over the long haul rather than simply being a reward for sitting. You never know what each meditation session will bring, but the important part is to be patient with the process.
Solution: Practice sitting for longer periods of time, in every mediation session. Get used to any uncomfortable feelings that arise.
5. Waiting for the right conditions
There is never a perfect time to meditate. There will always be ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days.
You need to learn to ride through both and understand that meditation can help you learn to sail through to smoother waters. In this way, you can see the perfection in both situations.
Solution: Learn to focus your mind with mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, mantras and candle gazing. Guide your attention back to your inner focal point instead of being drawn out into the outside world.
6. Having too many expectations
One of the problems of having too many expectations is that the reality can never live up to these fantastical illusions you may have created in your mind.
When it comes to mindfulness, there is the option to invest too much time and effort in a practice that ultimately, can feel very ordinary after a few weeks. You have to learn to let go of any expectations when it comes to mindfulness practice.
Solution: Focus on the present moment. Avoid projecting too many feelings or expectations into the future about how your meditation practice should go or what the experience will be like.
7. Putting yourself down
It’s easy to be self-deprecating or to feel bad if the outcome of the meditation didn’t go as you intended.
Negativity can have a detrimental impact on your mental and emotional heath in the long term.
You may even try and be more strict with yourself in the future, or lay down more ground rules as to how your mindfulness practice should look. All of this simply serves to place limitations on what your meditation practice is rather than learning to go with the flow.
Solution: Accept your emotions, beliefs or thoughts. Let them pass like clouds rather than allowing them to settle or muddy your heart’s intentions.
8. Giving up too soon
Achieving good results is often the accumulation of hard work.
You need to use your willpower when times get tough and it seems that thoughts or emotions are getting on top of you. You need to stay focused on the feeling that you want to draw into your reality. Stay focused even when it seems all is crumbling around you.
Solution: Give yourself a short break. Maybe take a few days to engage in addictive behaviour for a while – then notice how you feel afterwards. If anything, you may notice that the feeling is one of guilt or disappointment.
Once you can rewire your mind to associate the ‘bad’ addiction with bad feelings, then you will naturally start to move away from these behaviours and start to find the joy in ‘good’ activities such as meditation – no matter how small they may at first seem.
Mindfulness Starts With The Right Mindset
If you want to learn more about the amazing benefits of mindfulness, or are curious about learning meditation then this simple course can show you how.