Today’s blog post, Feeling Tired? 9 Meditation Mistakes to Avoid to Boost Your Energy is a bonus post as part of our 5-part blog series Get More Energy!
Get More Energy is a 5-part blog series to encourage and support you to learn how you can easily fit yoga routines and meditation techniques into your busy day so that you feel less tired and fatigue at home or work, instead you feel fantastic, energised and enjoy life to the fullest.
Quick recap: So far in the Get More Energy series…
If this is your first visit here, then you might have missed the first two posts in this series, Why Yoga Is the Best Way to Boost your Energy (even if you feel tired all the time!) and 5 Popular Mistakes Most Yoga Beginners Make (and what you can do to avoid them)
If so, click here to read Why Yoga Is the Best Way to Boost your Energy (even if you feel tired all the time!) and here to read the 5 Popular Mistakes Most Yoga Beginners Make (and what you can do avoid them).
As a yoga and meditation teacher, most of my students say they started yoga to relieve stress and tension at work, and to find a way to relax, energise and unwind at the end of the day.
Much as they love yoga, they also wish to meditate to help them calm and clear their mind and start their day in a peaceful, focused and productive way.
However, they find learning how to meditate a struggle.
Although meditation is simple to learn, it is difficult to do, especially if your mind is always busy and you find it hard to stop over-thinking and slow-down.
What Happens to Your Mind When You Meditate?
When you meditate, the purpose isn’t too clear your mind of thoughts; rather it is to allow your mind to stay focused on the point of concentration, for example, the breath.
When your mind wanders away from this point of concentration, and you notice it has wandered and you bring it back to your point of focus/concentration, that is the practice of meditation
Your Mind is a Bundle of Thoughts
That feeling of having a busy mind is perfectly normal.
Did you know, that the average person has around 50,000 thoughts per day!
And considering there are 1400 minutes per day, that means (if my maths is correct!) we have at least 35 thoughts a minute!
No wonder you struggle to stay focused and have a busy mind!
Your mind is a blur of activity and full of thoughts like a busy train station!
But as with all skills, you must learn the basics and practice these skills every day to reap the long-term benefits of meditation.
In the final blog of this 5-part series, I will introduce you to simple meditation techniques and yoga routines you can practice, anytime during your day to calm your mind and energise your body.
In the meantime, in today’s post, we’ll focus on the nine most common mistakes most beginners make when they start to learn how to meditate to raise their energy and calm and clear their mind, and what you can do instead.
#1 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: You Expect Instant Transformation
Great claims are made about the power of meditation to transform your life.
There are numerous studies which show that regular meditation practice reduces stress, calms your mind, and improves your concentration and focus at work.
The beauty of meditation is that you do feel a difference in energy when you meditate.
You will feel calmer and relaxed.
However, it takes weeks, sometimes even years, to achieve “total transformation.”
The reality is that the nature of the mind and the environment you live in mean that you have to watch your thoughts and practice constantly.
Change can happen overnight, and most people do experience an immediate sense of calm when they meditate.
Our stressful society and the roller-coaster effect it has on our emotions make it hard to sustain that “positive vibe” once you finish your practice.
So a lot of beginner students give up after only a few sessions because their problems still seem the same.
What to Do Instead:
- If you’ve started to meditate but don’t yet notice any difference in how you feel or respond in different situations, I strongly encourage you to stick with your practice.
- However, if you wish to try another form of meditation, find a group of people who are also interested in learning how to meditate and want to make it part of their daily routine; this makes it easier for you to feel supported and stick with your practice.
- When you commit to making meditation part of your daily schedule, you gradually change the grooves in your mind, and you will see results.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a calm, peaceful mind and open heart which takes skill and practice to achieve.
#2 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: Lack of Regular Practice
I am sure you can remember one of your school teachers, or even your parents telling you that “practice makes perfect” every time you felt like giving up on something or found something too difficult to do. Alas, your mum and the school teacher were right!
To achieve anything, you desire you must practice. Meditation is no exception. To get any benefit from meditation, you need to set time aside and practice.
What to Do Instead:
- Little and often is the key.
- Commit to practice at least 2-10 minutes every day rather than try and do a massive hour’s practice once a month.
#3 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: Build-Up of Stress, Fatigue, and Tension in Your Body
During your day, you face many conflicting demands on your time, and it is easy to end up feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted.
Most people ignore the early warning signs of stress and push their bodies to the limit and end up burnt out and demoralised. It is a vicious cycle.
The more you push yourself to keep on top of work and family commitments, the more you expose yourself to stress-related illnesses.
It becomes near impossible to rest, switch off your “brain,” and give your body the rest and sleep it needs.
What to Do Instead:
- Make self-care a priority and build regular “moments of calm” into your day.
- Your mind and body are connected. Holding day-long tension in your body is dangerous to your long-term health and vitality. You must find a way to release pent-up frustration and anger safely. Having a daily morning self-care routine is vital to helping you start your day off in a positive and calm frame of mind.
- Make a commitment to yourself to find ways during your day to take your foot off the pedal, to stretch, relax, and naturally calm your mind and energise your body.
- Better still, share the article, 121 Employee Wellness Program Ideas Your Team Will Love with your team and managers, and choose a wellness activity your whole company can get involved in. Things like on-site yoga classes to relieve stress, walking meetings instead of sit-down meetings, and my favourite, keeping footballs, hula-hoops, and volleyballs around the office. How cool is that? Can you imagine your boss hula-hooping?!
#4 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: Lack of Awareness and Focus During Your Day
Closely related to Mistake #3, lack of awareness and focus during your day is counterproductive to your health and wellbeing.
Meditation is not an isolated act, it is not something you do and then forget about until the next time you practice.
Meditation is a skill, a technique you use to help you regain your focus and concentration at any time during your day. Being present and aware of your posture, your thoughts, and your breath on a regular basis during your day are as vital as knowing your shoe size.
What to Do Instead:
- Become more present during the day.
- It is hard to do, yet the more you practice meditation and feel the difference it makes in your life, the more you will naturally become more aware and present of what is going on within and around you.
- As a beginner, aim to develop a sense of mindfulness in your daily life.
For example, now and then take a moment to tune into your everyday breath and notice how you are breathing.
- While eating, rather than rushing through your meal and multi-tasking as you eat (texting, watching TV, speaking on the phone, working at your desk), pay attention to the tastes and sensations of the food as you eat.
- Take a stretch break every hour or so to straighten your spine, relax your jaw, uncross your ankles and release tension in your body.
You can find more tips and yogic techniques to let go of stress in my popular Yoga for Beginners Book.
#5 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: Comparing Your Experiences with Those of Others
Meditation is a personal experience.
The techniques and practices are universal, but how you feel and respond to these methods is as personal as your fingerprints.
Every session you have is a unique experience, especially when you adopt the approach of a beginner’s mind to your practice.
Many students make the mistake of comparing their experiences, thoughts, and impressions with those of other students.
You may both be using the same techniques, but their experience and yours may be different.
There is no right or wrong way to “feel” after meditating. For example, like me, you may have gone through a traumatic divorce, lost people close to you, or be going through a major organisational re-shuffle at work that keeps you up at night worrying about your job security.
All these situations make it hard for you to settle into your practice and affect how you feel when you do.
You might meditate and feel clear, calm, and confident, but another student may experience intense anger and sadness and burst out crying. This is okay, all perfectly normal, and all part of your meditation journey.
What to Do Instead:
- Learn to adopt a nonjudgmental approach to your practice.
- Meditation is your time-out with yourself. It isn’t a house party, and there is no law saying how you must feel. Keep a journal and write down how you feel before and after each meditation session.
- Maintain a beginner’s mind and, most importantly, connect with other like-minded people who can embrace, nourish, and support you during your practice and daily life.
Remember, meditation is like learning any new skill – riding a bike, learning to drive, baking a cake – you must have patience, time, energy, and a supportive community to tap into to help you grow and develop your meditation muscle.
I encourage you to take your time and find a way to make meditation part of your life.
If you can’t wait to receive all this goodness, and you are tired of being tired and wish to feel energised, happy and healthy, get my gift, 7 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy.
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#6 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: Busy Mind!
As a meditation teacher, I often hear statements like:
“I can never stop thinking.”
“I have so many thoughts in my head. My mind is like a high-speed train rushing through a tunnel.”
“I have so many things to do. I feel overwhelmed and can’t think clearly.”
The stressful lives we lead and our growing dependence on technology (think of our attachment to our phones) negatively affects our ability to concentrate, focus, and relax.
But let me reassure you – that is okay.
That feeling of having a busy mind is perfectly normal.
Your mind is full of thoughts.
Coupled with this, 70% of these thoughts are believed to be negative! And the nature of the “monkey mind” makes it even harder for you to be still and meditate.
The ability to concentrate and keep your mind from wandering is perhaps one of the hardest aspects of meditation to overcome.
In meditation, you train your body to be still and your mind to slow down and focus on the point of concentration.
But some people struggle to sit still and prefer a more dynamic or active type of meditation, such as mindful walking meditation, which we will look at in the final blog post of this series.
Your mind has a mind of its own and is likened to a chatting monkey.
When you sit to meditate, you realise just how busy your mind is. The whirlwind of cascading thoughts floating around makes it difficult to steady your thoughts, control your mind, and focus. Left untamed, your mind will jump from one topic or subject area to another.
This constant and habitual nature of the “jumping mind” or “monkey mind” is the main reason you find it so hard to focus and concentrate when you meditate.
What to do instead:
- Practice easy yoga breathing exercises to calm your mind
- The ancient art of yoga offers you many tools to help you relax your body, calm down, and steady your mind.
- In fact, the original purpose of yoga was to prepare your mind and body to sit in meditation.
- Yoga breathing exercises, known as Pranayama, are ideal practices to help you address your busy mind syndrome and help clear and quieten your mind.
- When you meditate, the purpose isn’t to clear your mind of thoughts; rather, it is to allow your mind to stay focused on the point of concentration, for example, the breath.
- When your mind wanders away from this point of concentration, and you notice it has wandered and you then bring it back to your point of concentration – you are practising meditation.
#7 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: Tiredness and Falling Asleep While You Meditate
From experience, I know how easy it is to fall asleep while you meditate.
It is simple to do.
You sit down to meditate and because you are so tired, instead of sitting upright and meditating, you find yourself swaying, nodding off, and eventually falling asleep.
What to do instead:
- Get more rest!
- Sleep is your body’s way to rest and repair.
- If you find yourself drifting off while you meditate, accept what your body is telling you.
- Go to bed and sleep.
- You will wake up refreshed and in a better state to meditate.
If it isn’t possible for you to sleep, maybe you are at work or have grabbed a few minutes out of the day to refresh, try doing a few rounds of yoga breathing exercises or practice simple yoga exercises.
- If sleep is a problem for you, find a way to reschedule your routine, so you get at least six to seven hours of restful sleep every night.
- Sleepytime is a brilliant app to help you select the best time you should sleep for maximum rest.
- Lack of sleep is a vicious cycle.
The more you meditate, the more energy you will have – but if you are sleep deprived, you’ll struggle to have the energy to meditate.
#8 Meditation Mistake to Avoid:: Crazy-busy and No Time to Relax and Meditate
Constantly rushing around and not having enough time to look after yourself so that you eventually burn-out is a popular reason many people start to meditate.
Trying to fit meditation into your already jam-packed day, especially if you have a busy family schedule and a demanding job, can seem impossible and feel like a nightmare.
You know caring for yourself is important, yet the competing demands you face from work and being there for your family and friends leave little time for you to relax and unwind.
Being too busy and lacking time to meditate has to be the biggest obstacle to practising meditation.
Everyone is busy – trying to fit in yet another activity can seem like an insurmountable task.
As the Zen quote reminds us, the busier you are, the more you need to meditate.
Many celebrities, entrepreneurs, and top athletes swear that their daily meditation practice helps them to stay focused and have the energy to achieve all they do.
And you can do it too.
What to do instead:
- Develop a routine
- When you start meditation, it is easy to be enthusiastic, and you think you can meditate anytime anywhere. You can, but that level of expertise requires practice and time to develop.
- It takes time and effort to find a gap in your schedule to meditate.
- It is possible to press pause, take a few deep breaths, and practice self-love-on-the-go, yet deep calm and serenity come from making meditation a priority in your life and scheduling it into your day.
- Be gentle and honest regarding your time availability. It is better to take a couple of days to look at your current schedule and determine how you can realistically set aside 5 to 15 minutes every day to meditate than it is to try to squeeze in a manic 60-minute schedule “sometime” during the week.
- You could aim to wake up 20 minutes earlier or switch off the TV 20 minutes earlier at night.
- A good idea and one that has worked well for me is to find a meditation buddy. You don’t have to meditate in the same place, but find someone who will agree to hold you accountable.
- My friend and I used to take turns phoning each other every morning while we were setting up our meditation schedule.
- As meditation buddies, we held each other accountable and shared our experiences and thoughts on our practice. I found it helpful having that extra support and nudge to keep me going, especially in the winter when it is cold and dark when I wake up.
A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to the free meditation app, Insight Timer.
- Insight Timer is a brilliant aid to help support your meditation practice as it offers a wide variety of guided meditations, meditation groups you can connect with, plus personal tracker and data analysis of your practice. I love it as it helps me stay accountable and I always get annoyed when I miss a day’s practice and have to restart again from day 1!
#9 Meditation Mistake to Avoid: Posture
When you meditate, it is important that you are comfortable.
Traditionally, sages sat on the floor in the lotus position and meditated. However, if you are like most of the people I work with, you struggle to sit still long enough to meditate.
Your body isn’t used to sitting still, especially if you spend the lion’s share of your day sitting, crouched over a computer with little time to rest or stretch your body.
Over time, this leads to a build-up of tension and fatigue in your lower back and hips and makes it uncomfortable for you to sit comfortably with a straight back in a crossed-legged position.
What to do instead:
- Find a position that is comfortable for you.
- It is not essential that you sit on the floor in full lotus position!
- Your main priority is to ensure you are comfortable, that your mind is at ease, and that your spine is straight.
For example, you can:
- Sit upright in a straight-backed chair
- Sit on the floor on a cushion with either your legs crossed or straight out in front of you
- Sit supported against a wall
- Lie down on the floor on your yoga mat/blanket or even lie on your back on your bed
(If you have lower back pain or feel uncomfortable lying on your back with your legs straight along the bed/mat, place your feet flat on the bed/mat, knees bent, and make sure your lower back is flat against the bed/mat.)
- If you still struggle to sit still, another solution is to practice a more dynamic physical body-mind awareness meditation, such as walking meditation or even adult colouring books.
As with all new projects, practice makes perfect. If you wish to reap the benefits of meditation, you need to release your attachment to the desired outcome. Allow yourself to be present and focus on your chosen point of concentration. Rest when you are tired. And, ideally, practice at the same time every day.
In this post, you learnt about nine of the most common mistakes people face when they start to meditate:
The Nine Most Common Obstacles People Face While Meditating Are:
You expect instant transformation
Lack of regular practice
the Build-up of stress, fatigue, and tension in your body
Lack of awareness and focus during your day
Comparing your experiences with those of others
Busy mind – your mind wanders off, and you can’t stop thinking
Tiredness and falling asleep while you meditatelty
Crazy-busy schedule so no time to meditate.
what have I missed?
If you struggle with learning how to meditate, what obstacles get in your way and stop you meditating?
I would love to hear what you find challenging with so that I can support you in overcoming your obstacles.
Drop me an email and I’ll get back to you.
So far, in blog post 1 and blog 2 of the Get More Energy series, you…
- Learnt that being tired and fatigued is a common problem faced by many women
- Discovered that most of my yoga students use yoga as a form of rejuvenation and enjoy their weekly yoga classes, especially their private yoga lessons
- Looked at seven popular reasons why people start yoga
- Understood the top benefits of yoga
- Unearthed the historical roots of yoga
- Discussed what is yoga
- Found out more about the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga
- Explored the different styles of yoga and what style suits you best.
- Looked at the five most popular mistakes yoga beginners make
And in the rest of this 5-part series, we will
- Explore the common causes and reasons why you are always tired.
- Hear from popular bloggers their top tips to help you feel less tired and get more energy, and
- Practice basic yoga breathing exercises; yoga poses for beginners and meditation techniques you can do at home or at work to combat fatigue, get healthier and boost your energy.
At the end of this series, you will be equipped with powerful, yet simple yoga exercises, breathing and meditation techniques to help you be healthier while feeling more energetic. YAY!!!!! how cool is that!
Remember if you are keen to get going and ready to take action to feel less tired, click here to get my gift seven simple stretches to make your energy soar.
till next time.
take care and stay energised!
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