5 Myths About Meditation That Have Kept You From Finding Your Center Your Whole Life
The thought of starting a meditation practice can be intimidating as hell. Like, you know how amazing it's supposed to make you feel, both physically and mentally, but honestly where in the world do you even start? Plus, the many myths about meditation floating around in the world make the whole concept seem that much more daunting.
But the good news is that I'm willing to bet nearly all of the supposed "cons" you've likely heard about meditation are straight-up not true. For example, no, you most certainly don't have to be a spiritual guru who burns sage every morning at dawn just to practice the art of meditation.
Meditation, as it turns out, is actually way more simple than you might be making it out to be. When you get right down to it, meditation really only requires two things: you and your breath. Once you begin incorporating just a few minutes of meditation into your routine each day, you'll be able to bask in the incredible glow of the physical and mental benefits that this ancient practice promises.
But if you still feel like there's something holding you back from quieting your mind, here are five myths about meditation that are most likely preventing you from sitting the f*ck down and finding your center.
1. Meditation Is Only For Spiritual Or Religious People
A lot of people are turned off by the thought of meditating because they think they have to be super spiritual or deeply religious in order to do it.
But truthfully, when it comes down to it, meditation is simply about quieting your mind and finding peace in silence and stillness. Anyone of any religious belief can practice meditation; there are simply no religious or spiritual requirements whatsoever to be able to do it.
People of all different religious beliefs sit down to meditate each day, just like people who identify as agnostic or even atheist do, too. Everyone deserves to enjoy the benefits of quieting the mind.
Overall, meditation simply gives you the tools to enjoy your life more blissfully and fully. Whether you decide to incorporate spirituality or religion into that equation is completely up to you.
2. You Have To Empty Your Mind To Meditate
TBH, this is probably the most frustrating myth that deters beginners from a meditation practice. Many people believe that you're not allowed to have any thoughts whatsoever when you sit down to meditate. And then, when thoughts inevitably do come up, many people are turned off and think they're "doing it wrong," or that they're not capable of "proper" meditation at all, leading them to give up on the entire practice altogether.
However, meditation isn't about emptying your mind or silencing your thoughts completely. Going into the practice with this mindset will only make you feel super stressed out when you can't achieve that unrealistic and unnecessary goal.
Meditation is simply about observing the thoughts that are already present, sitting quietly with them, and deciding how much attention you will give them. Practicing meditation this way will lead to empowerment, greater control of your reactions to difficult situations, and a glimpse into the mastery of your own mind.
3. You Should Only Meditate When You're Stressed Out
Some people think you should only sit down to meditate if you're stressed as all hell, and when everything is going smoothly, you can chuck your practice out the window.
While it's certainly great to meditate for the purpose of stress relief (especially because it's proven to lower cortisol levels in the body), it's actually more important for you to have a consistent practice, so that you'll be better equipped to deal with anxiety and stress whenever it pops up in the future.
Try comparing your meditation practice to working out: You don't see results from going to the gym just one time, do you?
4. There's Not Enough Time In The Day To Meditate
This is another mediation myth that needs to be busted ASAP. Trust me, I know you're busy as sh*t because I am, too. Literally, who isn't?
But I'm willing to bet that you usually find at least 10 minutes in your day to mindlessly scroll through Instagram. Why not trade those 10 minutes of scrolling for 10 minutes of sitting in silence with your eyes closed? You might just be amazed by how much better that simple swap in your routine will make you feel.
Honestly, it's all about having priorities and being realistic. Because, yeah, a 45-minute meditation session probably isn't practical for your lifestyle, but 10 minutes in the morning, before bed, or even on your lunch break is totally doable.
5. It Takes Years Of Practice To Reap The Benefits Of Meditation
Some people believe that you have to incorporate meditation into your routine for years before you actually notice any significant changes in your body and mind. But according to The Chopra Center, the benefits of meditation can be immediate and they can be long-term; it really all depends on the person.
Moreover, research from Harvard researchers showed that people who meditated for just eight weeks began to notice increased awareness and significantly less stress.
So, what are you waiting for? Say goodbye to your silly misconceptions about meditation, sit down, close your eyes, and just breathe. It really is as simple as that.