Have you tried meditation and decided “it’s not your thing”? Or perhaps you have not tried it yet because of some common believes. Here are three more myths you might be telling yourself that prevent you from one of the best gifts in mental and emotional health.
Myth 4: I do other activities, like running, yoga or cooking, as my meditation.
That could be true, but is it? There is such a thing as mindful running, walking meditation and yoga only if you are present. The key is being fully aware and focused during these activities. Now, be honest with yourself, are you absolutely present and focused during running, cooking or on the mat? Or are you using it as a time to think? Let’s take running for example. Mindful running means no planning or problem-solving. It is pure focusing on each step you take, noticing the breathing and connecting with your body and the heartbeat. If you mind wanders, you start all over, again and again, and again. Do you run like this? The same goes for cooking, gardening, doing yoga.
Meditation is about training your brain by giving it full focus and attention to one object or activity. When your mind wanders, and thoughts come in, which will happen 100%, gently return your focus and attention to that same one object. It is much easier to catch your mind drifting away when the rest of you is not moving. If running is your thing, go for it, just make sure you are doing it with full awareness.
Myth 5: Meditation makes me sleepy.
Meditation is a powerful gym for the brain, as long as you address your biological needs before you do any mental work. If you fall asleep or feel tired during or after the meditation, it means that you may be sleep-deprived and just need more rest. Are you getting enough sleep? If the answer is no, neither meditation nor other practice to train the brain will replace your need for sleep. By falling asleep during the meditation, your body tells you that you must nourish and replenish yourself before giving it mental exercise on focus and productivity. Take a nap then meditate.
Another reason for your sudden tiredness may come from your brain’s capacity to switch the brainwaves to more calm states. We do it naturally before going to bed and when we just waking up. Meditation induces a similar effect, except we feel how it happens. Take it as a positive sign that you are on the right track and keep practicing. Eventually, your brain will learn the difference. (A quick tip: do not meditate in bed, it confused the whole differentiation between sleep and meditation, where we want to stay awake.)
Myth 6: Meditation is not my religion.
Some people of various religions and backgrounds may view meditation strongly associated with Buddhism. Although meditation originated and was mostly spread in the western world through Buddhism, by now, it has been approved by many scientific and medical organizations as well as people of all religions, races, and nationalities as a practice of self-care and well-being. Many meditation techniques do not include any mentioning of Buddhism nor any other religion. It is a practice of training the brain and available to all.
Whatever you told yourself about meditation, be adventurous and give it a try. Worst-case scenario, you can just go back to the old “it’s not my thing.” Best case scenario you will adapt a life-enhancing practice that brings a breath of fresh air to the heat of your day.
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