Meditation seems to be on the rise and it makes sense since this world can be so stressful and even be confusing much of the time. Like with anything though, there are myths and misinformation that often circulates and that can make people shy away from trying something that might be new to them such as meditation. So, we’ll try to clear up some of these myths for you.
Myth One – You Can’t Meditate if You’re Thinking Too Much
We all think too much, it’s just our nature. Very often, it’s those who are always saying that they think way too much to be able to meditate that actually could benefit the most from meditation. Truth be known, thinking is actually very natural and is an expected part of your meditation. There are even some practices that will actually give you the tools you need to learn how to redirect your thoughts to focus on meditating. Thinking, in reality, is all part of the whole experience of meditation, it’s about tuning in and not tuning out.
There are many who believe that when you choose to redirect your inner thoughts to one point of focus you can actually strengthen the muscle that builds your brain. It can teach you to learn to react less to those stress triggers that poke at you all day and it can even help you to feel calmer.
Myth Two – Can’t Sit Still Long Enough to Meditate
There are a lot of people who say they just can’t sit still long enough for meditation. But, there’s good news for that problem, moving around while meditating is perfectly okay. There is nothing wrong with adjusting your position, stretching your legs right in the middle of meditating. After all, you don’t have to sit there like a statue.
If you are the type of person who desires more movement than stretching, it’s alright because there is such a thing as walking meditation. In fact, there are four positions for meditating:
- Lying down
Myth Three – You Don’t Have Enough Time to Meditate
Look, we’re all busy in one way or another, that really shouldn’t be an excuse. Did you know that if you meditate in the morning it will make your entire day more productive? Many claim, that after they meditate they are less stressed and they can focus better which means they can get more done.
If you think that 20 minutes a day is way too much time spent for meditating, no worries, there are some practices that require just five to ten minutes of your time to meditate. The most important thing is to try starting off small and then try to build yourself up to longer sessions. Just don’t let yourself get discouraged.
Myth Four – You Can’t Do It Because You Could Be Doing It Wrong
There is no wrong or right way to meditate. In reality, meditation is quite simple. All you need to do is try to focus on one simple thing. A few examples on what you can focus on include:
- Your breathing
- Some sort of mantra
- A candle flame
- Count numbers
- A flower
- A beautiful landscape
When you start to drift off you just tell yourself to come back to what you were meditating on.
Myth Five – Meditating Needs to be Spiritual or Religious
Yes, many religious and spiritual groups do practice meditation because often the intersection that seems to be between meditation and prayer is very interesting, however, it is not mandatory to believe in God or be associated with a spiritual group or religion. No matter what your beliefs, you can still reap all the benefits that come with meditating.
Myth Six – Meditating is Just for Those Who Are Stressed Out
Sure, meditation has the ability to lower the stress hormone cortisol and therefore make you feel less stressed out, you don’t need to be stressed out to meditate. Meditating can help do a lot more than lower your stress levels. Here are just a few things that it can help you with:
- Boosts your immune system
- Improves your concentration
- Can lower your blood pressure
- Improves your sleep
- Can make you feel happier
Simply put, meditation can be wonderful for your overall physical and mental well-being.
Myth Seven – Meditating is Only Good for Adults
Adults are not the only ones that can be affected by stress, kids can also get stressed out. Many children can feel overwhelmed by what’s going on in their lives and the lives of their parents and meditating can be one way that parents can help their children learn to control and manage their stress. Even some schools around the world have discovered that by teaching their students how to meditate they had less stress about exams and even had higher grades on their tests.
Myth Eight – You Need a Mantra in Order to Meditate
Sure, there is a meditation that is mantra based, but, that’s just one kind of meditation. However, there are a lot of mindfulness based practices that don’t require you have some sort of mantra to meditate. A mantra is just another tool, that’s all and there are many tools that you can use when meditating.
Myth Nine – It’s Just for the Elite and Hipsters
Okay, so a lot of rich and famous people lay claim to meditating, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for these people. This is an ancient practice that has been used by all types of people from all walks of life. It doesn’t take money and it’s something you can do any place and at any time. You just need the use of your mind, nothing more.
Myth Ten – It Takes Years to Learn How to Meditate
Yes, meditation can truly help change your life, however, it doesn’t take your entire life to learn how to do it. In fact, you can learn how to meditate in just a few minutes. No denying that like any kind of skill or exercise, the more you practice it, the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll get at it. But, it’s not going to take you years to perfect how you meditate. In fact, trying to be perfect at it is simply counter productive.
Four Ways to Start Meditating
If you are interested in trying out meditation then here are four suggestions to help you get started.
- For the Visual Type of Learner: Consider downloading a free app called Headspace. This is an app you can follow for ten minutes. It has very easy to follow instructions and videos that explain what actually happens when a person meditates.
- For Those Who Prefer Learning in a Group: All you have to do is find a meditation class in your local area or go online to the Transcendental Meditation site for listings all over the world.
- For Those Who Like It Simple: Don’t want an app or a teacher. No problem. Just start b closing your eyes and count to five. Then count back to one. Repeat this simple exercise for about ten minutes. That’s all there is to it.
- For Those Who Don’t Want to Commit: If you are not sure that you want to commit to any of the above just listen to online guided meditations. Here are two that you can start with. UCLA’s Mindfulness Guided Meditation and Tara Brach’s Guided Meditations. These online meditations can last from three minutes to twelve minutes in length. These are free and you aren’t required to commit yourself to any length of time. These are pretty good for the beginner.
So, there you have it, myths that you shouldn’t allow to get in your way of at least giving meditation a try.