How To Quiet Your Mind During Meditation?
“Your goal is not to battle with the mind, but to witness the mind.” – Swami Muktananda
My rent is due this week. I need to order dinner too. I have to call the maintenance people as well. Today was stressful but thank God I had the support of my colleagues.
Do you hear similar thoughts while meditating? Do you find it challenging to silence your thoughts during meditation?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Many research studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness have some wonderful benefits for our minds and bodies. Meditation can improve our emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being, it can also help us manage conditions such as depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.
When you’re a beginner to meditation, it can be challenging to learn how to quiet your mind. When I initially started meditating, I too faced the same difficulties. My mind was constantly bombarded with unwanted thoughts and ideas. And while I was assured that a wandering mind during meditation is common and normal, I still found myself getting frustrated.
You cannot force your mind to stay calm. Every day we are faced with many thoughts, feelings, emotions, and dreams. The harder you try to force your mind to stay quiet and calm, the harder your meditation will become.
Many meditation techniques focus solely on controlling or stopping certain thoughts, especially when you are stuck in a loop of negative and ruminating thoughts.
Also Read: Go Slow! 6 Ways To Calm Your Racing Thoughts
I have combined for you some of the best ways to clear your mind. These tips on what to do during meditation are quite simple yet profound. You can either try one or a combination of more than one method.
10 Best Ways To Clear Your Mind During Meditation
1. Keep A Routine
Having a routine not only helps you with time management but also helps you train your brain to get into the habit of meditation. Begin your meditation at the same time every day. Pick a time when you know you will not be disturbed. This practice of keeping a routine will help your brain get into the “zone” automatically.
2. Get Comfortable
Try to meditate in the same place every day. This will help you and your mind gradually associate the place you choose with meditation and your focus will be automatically pulled within. Make sure you are alone and your phone is turned off.
3. Try Journaling
Journaling is the best way to get your thoughts out of your head while meditating. If you’re a heavy thinker or have an active mind, journaling before meditation can help you clear your mind. Write until you’re sure your thoughts are on the paper. Essentially, via writing, you’re transferring your thoughts from your mind to a paper. This will clear your mental space and will allow you to meditate easily.
4. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a practice that is associated with the relaxation of our minds. It can help you relax and quiet things down. Focus on your breathing – in and out – and remove all stray thoughts. You can try repeating “in” and “out” while practicing deep breathing. This will allow you to focus only on your breathing and on the words.
If you’re a beginner, you can try the diaphragmatic breathing technique to ease into deep breathing. This exercise helps relaxes muscles and the mind.
5. Practice Gratitude
Another thing that you can do during meditation is practicing gratitude before and during meditation to help you get into a positive mindset. Place your hand over your heart and express gratitude towards yourself or others. Keeping your focus on being grateful will keep your negative thoughts and unwanted thoughts away.
6. Learn To Let Go
Learning meditation takes time and initially, you’ll make mistakes but learn to forgive yourself, first and foremost. Be easy on yourself. Remember, there is no correct way to meditate. Meditation isn’t about doing it the right way or the wrong way; meditation is for clearing the mind and letting it find the relaxation it seeks.
Instead of berating yourself on your wandering mind or worrying about what to think about while meditating, let your thoughts in, look at them, ask yourself “are they necessary?”, and let them go if they’re not. Allow your thoughts in but don’t let them stay.
7. Try Guided Meditation
Guided meditation can help you stay focused and keep your mind here and now if it wanders away. If you’re new to meditation, you’ll find guided meditation and guided meditation apps helpful.
There are some meditations for clearing the mind such as transcendental meditation and music meditation that can help you clear your mind.
8. Focus On A Visual/Color
Visualization is a tool that can help you and your mind focus on one thing at a time. It can be anything from a place, person, event to an idea or a color. Pushing your mental energy toward the visual or color can help your mind stay focused and not stray.
What to think about while meditating? The color white with a beach in the background usually works well for me. You can try visualizing your favorite color with a calming location in the background.
What to focus on when meditating? It’s up to you. Whatever makes you feel the calmest, pick that. Meditation is for clearing the mind and helping it find peace.
9. Connect With Others
Connect with a group of people or a person you respect. Meditation is a journey that can lead you to stay on a path of spiritual and emotional wellness. Connecting with a group that is there to guide you toward your goal can be helpful. My first meditation experience was done in a group and I found that experience quite beneficial for my mental peace.
10. Be Regular
Meditation is a practice, a skill that will only improve with practice. The more you engage in it, the more your mind will get used to it. If you start practicing meditation, then try to stick to it. Learning to quiet your mind with regular meditation and practice can have a huge impact on improving the quality of your daily life.
Additional Things To Keep In Mind
1. Before mediation, you can try some physical exercises. Your mind and body will be more likely to welcome the calmness only meditation can bring after a physical exercise.
2. Allow your thoughts while meditating – negative as well as positive – to enter your mind but don’t let them stay. Let them come and go. What to focus on when meditating is up to you. Choose wisely.
3. Meditation isn’t about problem-solving. It is not practiced to help you solve your problems, plan your future goals, or prove something. It is a practice that requires you to just let go and be in the present.
5. Get proper rest and sleep. Your thoughts are less likely to wander if you’re well-rested.
6. Try to stay in the present. If you’re thinking about your to-do list, you won’t be able to quiet your mind.
7. Meditation is not easy in the beginning but with regular practice, you can excel in it. If you’re regular and practice meditation with a clear head and faith, you’ll be blessed with mental peace. There is no correct way to meditate, just go with the flow.
Breathe in, breathe out… Relax.