11 Tips for Meditating When You’re an Overthinker?
Meditation is a difficult practice. The truth of the matter is, it takes time and patience to learn how to quiet your mind on command. And if you are an overthinker, chances are learning how to meditate will be extra challenging for you! But don’t give up on yourself just yet; some easy hacks can help make the process easier!
1. Set Your Own Pace:
If you find that your mind wanders too much when practicing guided meditations, try listening to these with the volume turned down low or off altogether. You can even record your voice leading you through the session. Look up free guided meditation recordings online (YouTube has many good options) or use apps like Insight Timer to find a variety of options.
2. Treat Yourself:
Many over-thinkers tend to overanalyze their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. To counteract this trait, reward yourself when you complete a meditation session.
When it comes to rewarding yourself during the process of learning how to meditate, smaller is better—for example, a piece of chocolate might be enough if your habit would be to eat an entire bar in one sitting! This will help you build positive associations with meditation practice instead of guilt or regret after every session. A small token with which you can follow through will do wonders for your motivation!
3. Get Out More:
If possible, incorporate outdoor spaces into your daily routine (e.g. using the back deck or patio for your meditation sessions). Being outdoors can help keep you focused on the present moment and also helps quiet mental chatter by encouraging mindfulness of one’s surroundings (i.e., noting which birds are chirping, what type of trees are surrounding you, etc.).
4. Mind Your Thoughts:
If negative thoughts arise during your meditation session (which they likely will), simply acknowledge them without judgment and try to let them go. For example, if you notice that you are thinking something like “I suck at this! What was I thinking? This isn’t working; I give up!” do not judge yourself for thinking these things or tell yourself that you shouldn’t think them. Simply label the thoughts as “negative” or “judgmental,” then return your focus to your meditation practice.
5. Play Some Music:
Listening to some soothing sounds while meditating can help you stay calm, focused, and centered during a session. Classical music is often recommended for this purpose, but feel free to experiment with whatever works best for you! If possible, try using headphones when listening to music so that others around you are less likely to be disturbed by it.
6. Recognize That Meditation Takes Time:
Learning how to meditate takes patience and time—there is no quick fix here! It took many years of practice before I could quiet my mind at will; remember that everyone’s experience is different. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t meditate just right away, and don’t give up! The important thing is to simply keep practicing daily.
7. Discuss Your Meditation Practice with a Friend:
If you are learning how to meditate on your own but find it difficult, consider talking over your concerns with a friend or fellow meditation practitioner. Having the opportunity to talk through problems or issues that arise during practice can be of great benefit! Keep in mind that these conversations should not feel like therapy sessions—and they certainly shouldn’t turn into negative self-talk sessions. Instead, aim for open discussions about the types of thoughts you had while meditating and what effect they had on your practice.
8. Learn Other Meditation Techniques:
Even if you find that guided meditations work best for you, it is beneficial to learn and experience other types of meditation practices, such as yoga and tai chi (both of which necessitate slow and deep breathing). Learning different techniques can help keep your practice fresh and interesting—and also encourages greater mindfulness in everyday life when you set out to try new things!
9. Wear Loose Clothing:
Wearing clothing that is loose-fitting and comfortable allows for free movement during meditation—an important element of any successful practice! The last thing you want to be thinking about when meditating is the seams in your pants or the tags poking out from underneath your shirt.
10. Use a Mantra:
Using mantras can help quiet mental chatter, increase focus and enhance mindfulness. There are many different variations of this method, so feel free to use whichever one(s) work best for you! Some examples include “I am,” “Breathe” and “Om Shanti, Om” (the latter being Sanskrit for “peace/harmony”).
11. Remind Yourself Why You Meditate:
By reflecting on why you are engaging in this activity, you can more effectively motivate yourself to achieve an improved state of mind and body. For example, some reasons for meditating might include reducing stress levels, increasing awareness, or becoming more mindful throughout the day. Keep your ultimate goal in mind during each meditation session, then try to focus on what it will be like when you reach that specific objective.