Despite the fact that I’ve been meditating for a long time, I still find it difficult to truly turn off my mind. Enter my “monkey mind,” the distracting, restless thoughts that keep me from achieving mental peace.
Even when I set aside time for silence, a tidal wave of thoughts washes me out into a sea of worries, concerns, and — wait, am I making chicken or fish for dinner tonight?
Although the idea of quieting the mind and blissing out in meditation sounds wonderful, achieving a meditative state can be difficult for those of us with overactive thoughts.
If you are an overthinker, you may have concluded that meditation is not for you. Experts say that successful meditation is possible even for people with busy minds.
Here are nine meditation strategies to consider if you’re an overthinker.
Create a Consistent Schedule
Being an overthinker when it comes to calming our thoughts, practice makes perfect, just like any other good habit. Choosing a regular time of day is a simple step toward training your overthinker brain to recognise when it is time to relax.
Consistent daily practice is the most effective way to reap the most mental health benefits from meditation. Of course, this does not imply that you must be rigid about scheduling your meditation session at 0600 hours every day.
There should be no rules when it comes to meditation. It should be intuitive and feel right to each practitioner. The best time of day to practise is the time of day when you are most likely to stick to it.
Create a Meditative Space
It’s not easy to relax into a meditative state when you’re surrounded by laundry or six feet away from your whining toddler. Your physical surroundings are essential, especially in the beginning stages of your meditation practice.
Consider creating a meditation space in your home. It does not have to be large.
Perhaps this entails reserving a specific chair, lighting a fragrant candle, or sitting in front of a favourite image. You’ll come to associate this tranquil spot with clearing your mind over time.
The more practice you get, the better you’ll be at tapping into the serenity of a meditative state when you’re not at home on your comfy cushion.
Meditation is a practical tool as well as a spiritual tool for an overthinker. We must be able to take it with us wherever we go.
Meditate With Others
Meditation may appear to be a very personal act, but there is surprising power in numbers for an overthinker.
Collective energy is a powerful thing, and it goes without saying that meditating with a partner or in a class can enhance your experience.
Making meditation a buddy activity not only helps an overthinker get unstuck from our own thought loops but it also provides accountability that we would not receive if we went it alone.
Stepping into a container with others, I believe, helps to pull us out of our heads and into the experience. There is also a desire to be more fully present, knowing that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Virtual meditating simply entails incorporating immersive technology into your practice.
This may appear to be counterintuitive. Isn’t it true that meditating is all about unplugging? Please bear with me on this one.
I’ve been using a virtual reality headset to help me focus for years with great success. Strapping the large device to my face and choosing visuals such as a peaceful forest or a sunny beach effectively eliminates all external distractions, allowing me to truly quiet my mind.
If a VR headset is out of your price range, there are free ways to meditate virtually. Consider watching a YouTube video of your favourite natural scenery. Consider yourself surrounded by the beauty displayed on your screen.
Meditate To A Recording
Don’t get rid of that YouTube app just yet! Guided meditations on the practice tape could be the ticket of overthinker to contemplative success.
Listening to a guiding voice gives the brain something to focus on, which helps to keep distracting thoughts at bay when you are an overthinker.
Even though a guided journey will not completely silence your overthinker mind, it is no less beneficial than silent meditation.
Guided meditations are extremely effective at achieving all of the benefits that one would expect from meditation. This includes activating the sympathetic nervous system, calming anxiety, improving mood, lowering blood pressure, slowing heart rate, and lowering the stress response of an overthinker.
Choose a video or recording that corresponds to your personal objectives, such as anxiety relief, better sleep, or increased focus.
There are numerous options available online and in meditation apps for overthinkers.
Do Some Yoga First
There’s a reason yoga and meditation go together. Coordinating your inhales and exhales with physical movements has been shown to improve mental focus.
According to a 2018 study, movement-focused and breath-focused yoga reduced stress parameters. A practice that focused on the breath, in particular, improved sustained attention.
Adding movement can also relieve the pressure of having to simply “be” during meditation.
It is far too difficult for many people to sit with an empty mind. Including movement in activities like tai chi, yoga, or walking achieves many of the same results without the mental strain.
Start With Some Breathwork
Controlled breathwork is a powerful tool for mind-stilling. In fact, many meditations practises are solely based on breathing, with the expectation that mental and emotional benefits will follow.
Simply slowing our breath has been shown to have beneficial effects such as calming the nervous system and reducing feelings of anxiety. Meanwhile, paying attention to your breath gives you a constant focal point during meditation, which is a welcome distraction from distracting thoughts.
Music improves almost everything, and meditation is no exception.
According to studies such as this one from 2012 and this one from 2007, the right music can train the brain to be more attentive. According to some studies, listening to New Age-style music may even slow the heart rate more than silence.
Music or background noise can be an excellent tool for people who suffer from anxiety or are hesitant to begin meditating due to a busy mind.
Whatever music you associate with serenity and focus can be your ideal meditation music. Experiment with various music styles to find out what works best for you.
Remember That Wandering Thoughts Are Normal
Finally, if you’re struggling with the monkey mind, it’s best to be gentle with yourself. Beating yourself up isn’t good for the meditative vibe in any case. The truth is that racing thoughts are completely normal.
We live in a culture that constantly stimulates our brains and senses, so it’s no surprise that we’re struggling with this. I always tell my clients not to be so hard on themselves and to remember that it’s not just them who are to blame; it’s society as a whole.
Besides, your definition of successful meditation may differ significantly from the guru-on-a-mountaintop image, and that’s fine.
We must normalise what meditation entails. It does not entail sitting in a specific position with your palms facing up and your mind blank. During a period of dedicated practice, meditation is finding a brief sense of peace and stillness wherever you are.
Wrapping It Up
Even if your mind races at a breakneck pace, meditation can be an accessible form of relaxation, centring, and self-exploration. You might just find the perfect meditation method for you with a few simple changes if you are an overthinker.