Not Achieving Results With Meditation? Here’s Why!
The benefits of meditation may be eluding you.
If you are one of those people that can’t seem to find your groove in meditation or are wondering how long until you get results, this post is for you!
You’ll understand exactly why meditation doesn’t seem to be working for you, and what you can do about it.
Rather than going into all the ways meditation works, let’s approach it with the big reason it doesn’t seem like it’s working. After all, how can it improve your life if you don’t think it’s working?
So I got your back!
First, let’s begin with two statements you may have said yourself. They lead up to the reason WHY meditation isn’t working for you. These statements get in the way of the natural ability to slip into mind-body harmony in the middle of the chaos that life dishes out; roadblocks to all the potential you can unlock with meditation, to the reduction of stress hormones/stress relief, to all the benefits of creativity, increased productivity, processing your thoughts and emotions in a healthier, mindful way (OK enough of that…just showing you the possibilities).
Those two statements (and roadblocks) are:
- ‘It’s not working’ (or ‘I don’t feel anything.’)
- ‘I’m not doing it right!’ (or ‘I’m not good at it.’)
These are merely thoughts that turn into limiting beliefs and judgments, not facts. That’s right! Your thoughts are not always the facts or the truth…and they certainly aren’t definitive.
The belief that meditation doesn’t work for you? This is your head talking. The same head that has irrational fears, irrational worries, superstitions, and keeps you up at night (thanks a lot, head).
The good news?
The roadblocks are all in your head.
When a 6 year old is learning to tie his shoe, he may think and say, ‘I can’t tie my shoe.’ Is this true? If he is physically able and the appropriate age, he CAN tie his shoe. His thoughts are not facts.
What happens? He ties his shoe. He learned that his thoughts were not a fact.
If you remain in your head through adulthood though, because you’re the type that mainly processes things in your head, you may learn a new habit…quitting. Or continuing defeated thoughts and instead of proving them wrong like the child who could indeed tie his shoe, your limiting thoughts become limiting beliefs that can last a lifetime.
If you’re a head-type like me, you process everything from the neck up.
You’ve been accused of being an over-thinker, but mostly you just under-recognize valuable input besides your thoughts; your thoughts dominate all other input and space for much else. This has served you well in some ways (if you have an analytical job, getting through tough times that need solid solutions), but it can be almost debilitating in others (anxiety, lack of connection, insomnia, not easily enjoying positive experiences).
You may be a head-type…
Are you a logical or analytical person?
Do you take your time to process things or research them?
Are you predominantly left-brained?
Do you sometimes feel disconnected from your body (sometimes an illness or disability contributes to this) or find it way too easy to find flaws in your body/appearance?
Are you skeptical and resistant to change?
Do you need facts, figures, and evidence?
Side note: Scientists gathering data on meditation find that a consistent practice not only boosts the mind, but it also bolsters the body. Studies show meditation can help reverse heart disease, reduce pain, and support the immune system.
It can lower production of the stress hormone cortisol. This means meditators are better able to adapt to stress in their lives and its physiological responses:
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Digestive problems
- Memory impairment
- Skin conditions
Meditation is based on the mind-body-spirit (and emotional) connection so your mind/head can’t take charge here as it does in most other aspects of your life. Processing meditation all in your head will leave you without the results you would expect.
There are 3 Types of People:
- Thinkers (head-type): (plenty of info on these types in this post). They try to think and intellectually approach everything without taking into account the emotional connection or the subconscious beliefs and habits they may logically/consciously be unaware of. The missing piece of their puzzle is often “connection”- a feeling of connection to others, connection to self- displayed by a delay in processing emotions/pushing emotions down, and a spiritual connection.
- Feeling-Emotional type: Feel sad, happy, depressed, angry. They may sink into emotional phases of their experiences. They are fully aware of their emotions, but can’t seem to move on from them or understand how to transition from that phase.
- Body-kinesthetic: Only feel pain in the body for instance (without recognizing thoughts and beliefs and emotions behind the pain) and relate to the world through body language and ways they can express themselves physically. They rarely dive “deeper” into issues.
If you are a “thinker”, realize that YOU are more than your head. Expand your personal universe! You have so much more going on…physiological connections, emotions/heart feelings, intuition/gut feelings, ancestral connections imbedded in your DNA, an environment, human connections/relationships, an energetic body, the universe and spirituality, and your higher.
When you intellectualize nearly all of your experiences, you are in a judgment state of mind.
Tony Robbins once said, “When you get in your head, you’re dead”. That’s a bold statement, but it shows that we stop experiencing life and judge it from the past and/or future tense, leading to our misery and suffering.
If meditation has taught me one thing, it’s to experience more moments rather than filtering them through my intellectual judge, which practically extracts the experience itself.
Let meditation be an escape from the opinions and judgments- an indulgent getaway. Simply be an observer.
It’s important not to intellectualize your meditation experience- yes, you can have thoughts, but these are not facts to analyze- this isn’t real data and it is never an indication of how good or bad your meditation practice is. Your experience of meditation is not to analyze. When you begin to analyze, you begin to judge your experience against that of others. Stop!
You may be a head-type, but you can bring awareness to all other aspects that contribute to your wellbeing with noting.
During meditation, note when you are “in your head”. Some meditators use noting to recognize when they’re having thoughts. Instead of investing time in each thought they silently note: Thought…thought…thought…whenever a passing thought comes to mind.
However, you’ll be noting, “in my head” or simply “head”. Then see if you can notice things outside of your head too. This could be a feeling (inner or outer), a physical sensation, a sound or background noise, just listening, feeling, and sensing…rather than computing and analyzing.
So you want to get out of your head and into the healing art of meditation?
Establish a mind-body connection:
What is a mind-body connection?
This connection means that emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors as well as mood can directly affect your overall health.
How do I achieve a healthy mind body connection?
Practice anything that contributes to your sense of compassion, connection, empathy, gratitude, joy, flow, mindfulness, optimism, and self-compassion.
This takes some every-day noting and identifying how often you can be out of your head and may not have noticed before because you were too busy processing with your head. It’s noting that moment you felt what someone else felt (note: empathy). It’s noting the joy and pride you felt watching your child perform or play (note: joy). It’s being really immersed in a creative project (note: flow). It’s noticing nature as you take a walk (note: mindfulness).
Pause a split second throughout your day to note these things… and you’ll automatically realize you are more than your head or your thoughts.
Through noting everyday experiences, you’re establishing a wonderful mind-body habit!
Note your mood too! Is your mood reflective of your thoughts or an experience you are actually having?
Sometimes head-types confuse their current thoughts for actual experiences. This is akin to the old biological fight-or-flight mechanism when we were actually in danger versus today’s non-threats that are mostly in our head, yet many people still experience them as “real” and threatening.
Negative thoughts alone can put you in a piss-poor mood yet nothing bad is happening to you in that moment to warrant a bad mood. You’re likely just replaying something…in your head. What a mind trip, right?!
Head-types believe emotions are unstable and overly emotional types are irrational, but have you listened to your thoughts? They’re not the best indicator of a rational reality either. Great for solving analytical-based problems, but you are much more complex…you are human.
The best and most complete form of experiencing your reality is based on mind-body-spirit experiences. The combination rather than solely thoughts OR feelings is a healthy balance.
How to get out of your head:
Besides practicing noting, which will help you immensely, there are other activities that help break some of your head-habits.
Journal- Writing out thoughts privately is a great way to get all of your extra thoughts out. It also helps you discern between thoughts worth thinking and writing and pesky, useless thoughts not worth it at all. If it’s not worth writing, it’s probably not worth thinking.
Use your sense- Mindfulness is to spend more time experiencing; touch, taste, smell, see, hear. Purposefully engage your senses. This takes intention- a mindful walk, an indulgent dinner that your taste buds will appreciate one bite at a time, sitting in the sun and soaking it in, going on a road trip where you can see many things or something you haven’t seen or experienced before, listening to soundscapes while meditating.
Have a mantra or affirmation– Sometimes to redirect your usual thoughts, you need a default mantra or affirmation that can be used in or out of meditation. This is less about the affirmation itself and more about halting your head-habits like anxious worrying or negative self-talk.
‘I thought meditation was supposed to get me out of my head!’
True, but if the first thing you do after meditating is judge your meditation, you’ve promptly fallen right back into your head-trap. Focus on NOT judging your meditation practice. Use the techniques above.
Each time you find yourself judging, recognize this is your thoughts (“head”) and they’re not always true. After all, you learned to tie a shoe 😉
Peace and Be Well,