Many think that meditation takes a long time, but that’s not necessary if your schedule does not allow it. Meditating for as little as 5 minutes can also be effective! Try incorporating meditation as part of your routine — wake up, brush teeth, meditate, eat breakfast. Plus, starting with shorter periods of practice and building to longer periods (time allowing) is one of the more effective ways of learning and adopting a sustainable practice.
What if I keep falling asleep?
Meditation is a balance between sharpening your focus and relaxing, so it’s natural to drift off if your body feels too relaxed. That’s fine! Everyone has a different experience. Try changing your meditating environment and routine with these tips:
Sit up in a comfortable spot, but try to avoid being in bed.
Have fresh air come in — the flow of oxygen usually helps keep you awake.
Meditate at a time when you are alert (e.g. in the morning) vs. when you are already feeling sleepy.
If you still keep falling asleep after weeks of practicing, try doing a different exercise, such as a walking meditation.
What if I keep getting distracted by my thoughts and can't stay with the instructions that are being provided?
It’s common for our minds to keep being active and wander into thought. In fact, this is an expected part of the process. When you notice yourself losing focus, just acknowledge that the thought came up, and bring yourself back to the present moment.
If it helps, you can keep a journal by your side to jot down thoughts when they arise, to revisit later.
Do I have to meditate every day to get a practice going?
Just like other skills, getting a good practice going takes repetition. You’re encouraged to incorporate it into your daily routine if you are able to; otherwise, find a cadence that feels feasible for you.
What if I have strong emotions come up while I'm meditating?
In the practice of meditation, it is common for your emotions to become more apparent. This is a normal part of the process. If it's possible to stay with the emotion as it arises, try that. Be curious. Practice refraining from identifying the emotion as one that is "positive" or "negative" (judgment) and instead, acknowledge to yourself, "I notice I am feeling [insert emotion: sad, happy, grateful, joyful, angry, etc.]"
Sometimes emotions that arise during meditation may feel like too much — if you need to stop your meditation, that's okay too. The more we come back to the practice of meditation, the more we develop the muscle to notice these emotions, identify them, and stay with them in the meditation.
I keep trying meditation but can never seem to get it; I don't think I am someone who can meditate.
It can feel difficult to be silent and sit still, especially if you are used to keeping yourself busy. Mastering meditation takes practice. There is also no one way to meditate — if something isn’t working for you, try looking at alternatives. The most important thing is to be compassionate with yourself, and give yourself space to learn and grow.
What if I don't have access to a quiet place to practice?
If possible, find a spot where you can be alone — even if there is noise around you. Try replacing external noise with calm, meditative music (check out the playlists on our page!) and pay attention to yourself (such as your breathing), rather than focusing on the sounds around you.
How will I know I'm getting better at it?
There are a few different ways to notice your practice is growing stronger. One is to ask yourself what you’re learning. Are you learning to identify your emotions with more speed and ease? Are you learning where your body typically holds tension? Are you learning more patience in your day-to-day life?
Another indication of growth in your practice is the ability to more readily move between the experience of noticing your attention has wandered away from your breath and redirecting your focus back to your breath once again. Being still becomes easier, and you may feel a greater sense of calm or peace within yourself afterward. But it’s important to remember that it will take time to get there, so keep being kind to yourself!
How will I know it's making a difference in my life?
There are many ways to tell if meditation has an impact. You may begin to notice a change in your ability to manage stress, control impulses, and increase self-awareness. It could also help you to pay better attention or have more focus.
Are there times when I shouldn't meditate or meditation isn't good?
If you are actively struggling with trauma, PTSD, severe depression, or anxiety, mediation might not be suitable for you due to the potential for it to immerse you more deeply in these challenging emotions. If you're still interested in developing a meditation practice but aren't sure if it's suitable for you, talking with a therapist or experienced meditation teacher is advised. Similarly, if you often find yourself becoming more dysregulated or feeling worse during or after your meditations, and these feelings persist, we encourage you to seek support from a therapist and/or experienced teacher.