How to Keep Your Mind From Wandering During Meditation

How to Keep Your Mind From Wandering During Meditation

Last update: 07 September, 2018

Meditation is a great opportunity to connect with ourselves, become aware of what we feel, and explore our thoughts. However, keeping your mind from wandering while you meditate can be quite difficult. It requires a lot of practice and adequate techniques to achieve it.

A lot of people think meditation isn’t for them, that they’re not going to be able to stop thinking no matter what they do. Some people even think they’re incapable of relaxing. That’s why it’s necessary to understand that meditating will make you neither stop thinking nor leave your mind blank. 

If you have recurring thoughts while meditating, don’t worry! It’s perfectly normal since our minds are very active machines. In fact, it’s estimated that we have from 60.000 to 80.000 different thoughts a day. It’s logical to think that, with these numbers, deliberately deactivating our thought process isn’t easy.

Now, what meditation teaches us is not to cling to our thoughts and not to run away with them. It allows us to let thoughts come and go, but without letting ourselves get carried away by the story or emotions they may bring to the surface. For this reason, learning to keep your mind from wandering while you meditate is the key to dominating this discipline.

“Meditation can reintroduce you to the part that’s been missing.”

-Russell Simmons-

Below you’ll find some useful tips to keep your mind from wandering while meditating.

1. Breathe

Having a task to focus on is great for the mind. That said, breathing exercises are a good way to keep the mind centered. They also help the body relax.

Woman breathing while practicing meditation.

To use this technique, you can simply count inhalations and exhalations. For example, you could count from one to a hundred. If your mind starts to wonder and you realize that you lost count, don’t panic, it’s okay. Remember to be nice to yourself and just start over.

2. Draw or imagine shapes

Try drawing a triangle with your imagination while you do your breathing exercises (inhaling, exhaling, and holding your breath). It doesn’t have to be a triangle necessarily, you could also draw a square. It’s up to you.

You could also help yourself by focusing on the shape of an object close to you, that way it’ll be easier for you to concentrate. Try lighting a candle and focusing on the shape of the flame.

3. Practice guided meditation

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to meditating. Silent meditation is one way to do it, and you could use a guide to help you. When someone’s telling you what to visualize, the mind will most likely focus only on what they’re saying. You’ll be occupied picturing the things they’re telling you, so your mind won’t be doing much wandering.

There are many types of resources to choose from in order to get a guided meditation. Try different videos and audios and save the ones you like best. The best part is that many of them can be found on the internet for free, so do some exploring and find one that you enjoy.

4. Accept your thoughts

When practicing silent meditation, instead of trying to push your thoughts away, welcome them. Trying so hard not to think about something will only make you think about it even more. Welcoming your thoughts will make you feel freer. If you don’t like the thoughts you’re having, place them into a pleasant image in your mind.

“What you resist, persists.”

-Carl Jung-

For example, you can imagine that your mind is the blue sky and your thoughts are clouds passing through it. Or that your mind is a river and your thoughts are branches flowing in it. That way, you allow your thoughts to come and go and you keep yourself from clinging to them. Just watch them float away.

5. Write down your thoughts

If there are a lot of things on your mind, it might be beneficial for you to write them down before your meditation session. That way, you won’t be keeping your thoughts inside of you and you’ll avoid obsessing over them.

Woman writing on a notebook.

Write down all the thoughts you have without analyzing or judging them. Don’t think too much about them, the important thing is that you express yourself through your writing. Putting your thoughts on paper will allow you to be more relaxed while meditating. 

6. Meditate regularly

Meditating at the same time and at the same place every day will create a routine. Your brain will know what’s coming next and it’ll be prepared for it. That way, you’ll feel more comfortable doing it. The mind isn’t used to being quiet so, if you only do this sporadically, it will force your thoughts back inside because that’s what it does naturally.

This is why it’s so important to create the habit of liberating yourself from your thoughts. Only then will you be able to keep your mind from wandering while you meditate.

Don’t underestimate the power of meditation

Meditating is simple, but not easy. However, it’s worth having it as part of your daily routine. Studies have shown that practicing this technique can have positive benefits on people’s emotional well-being and their physical health.

Additionally, it’s indicated to treat serious conditions such as depression, anxiety, heart diseases, high blood pressure, sleeping problems, and chronic pain. By following the tips in this article, meditating will be much easier for you. Now it’s your turn. Just meditate, the results will surprise you!

“The thing about meditation is: you become more and more you.”

-David Lynch-

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.