The benefits of meditation is being eulogized almost everywhere. Research has shown the practice of mediation can have positive aids on emotional and physical well-being and has been indicated for managing serious conditions such as sleep problems, anxiety, heart-disease, high-blood pressure, chronic pain and depression. Getting people to try meditation however, can sometimes be a challenge especially for people who have very active minds, their minds will keep wandering.
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Most meditation teachers will tell you that having your mind wander during meditation is perfectly normal and that bringing your attention back to your meditation every time you notice it wandering is merely part of the process. While mind-wandering is quite normal for beginning meditators and even some experienced ones, it can be very exasperating and can result in people giving up before they get to experience the benefits of meditation that they are seeking. Fortunately, there is something you can do to considerably reduce your mind from wandering. It is called active meditation or focused meditation.
Active or Focused Meditation
The brain can only think about a certain number of things at any one given time. One of the trials with meditation is that as you are clearing your mind, you are creating an open space that wants to be filled. Sometimes when people are coping with stressful events, they turn to meditation to calm their mind and find that their mind floods with even more thoughts of what they are desperately trying not to think about. Active meditation helps this problem by giving you a task to do that takes up all of your attention and occupies its working capacity, so that there is much less room for other thoughts to sneak in.
Here is an example of an active meditation:
- Pick one word from the list below that describes and emotion you would like to feel more of: Joy, love , Happy, Peace, Calm, Hope.
- Close your eyes and visualize the word in your head.
- Pick a color that goes with the word and visualize the word in that color.
- Fill the background with another color.
- Now, with your eyes closed and writing in your head, write the word one letter at a time.
- As you are writing the word, say the letters quietly to yourself in your head.
- Write the colored word on the colored background over and over in your head while you say the letters quietly to yourself.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and keep doing the exercise until the timer goes off.
If it’s hard to do all the steps at once, do as many as possible to take up all of your attention. Most people allege the activity fills their mind so that they have few meddling thoughts but if your mind does wander, don’t judge yourself or label yourself as doing it wrong, simply go back to the activity and concentrate on the brilliance of the colors and seeing the word in your head. You can also add in more steps if you need to occupy more of your attention.
Once you have completed an active meditation a few times, you may find it easier to try a more traditional mind clearing meditation. There are wonderful profits to both, though in order to experience the benefits you must practice on a regular basis. Once a week won’t get you there, but 10 minutes a day is enough to start to feel the benefit in a matter of a few days. You should slightly start to notice you feel calmer. Things that used to distress you may not bother you so much after a week or two. You will feel greater clarity in your thinking and ability to focus.
To add a meditation practice into your routine, it is best to set aside a regular time to do it every day. First thing in the morning is a great way to start your day off on a positive note; however, for some, mid-day is a time that offers a needed break, and right before bed can have a calming effect.