Sometimes you decide to meditate, but it feels like your mind didn’t get the memo. As soon as you sit down, your head starts bubbling with thoughts of all kinds: memories, plans, worries, or that terrible jingle.
To me, the most irritating thoughts are the ones that go something like, “How long have I been sitting here?” or “How much longer until this is over?” These “how much longer” thoughts can trigger a sort of panicky impatience. You might feel a powerful urge to stop meditating or to open your eyes and check your timer. More than once, I’ve had the (objectively crazy) thought, “What if my timer is broken? If I don’t check, I might sit here forever!”
As you meditate more often, these “how much longer” thoughts quiet down, but that can take some time. In the video below, I share a simple strategy that will help speed up the process.
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Colleen T., fourth-year student, California State University Channel Islands
“My internal alarm clock goes off in the morning, and my feet are running before they hit the floor. My mind starts scrolling down its mental checklist of everything that needs doing before 9 a.m. By that time, I’ve exercised for an hour, made breakfast, showered, gotten dressed, and finished my homework, and am on my way to my first class. Do I have time for meditation? Not typically. But I tried the meditation app for 10 days, and it actually helped me gain some peace and focus. I used it in various places, such as my car, the library, and even the dentist’s office. And it did make a difference. The techniques I learned helped me breathe easier in the dentist’s chair and lessened my anxiety before a presentation.”
It gently encouraged me to take five minutes, relax, and find my center.
Fun isn’t the word I would use—easy, relaxing, and peaceful are better descriptions. But I guess when you think about it, all those words are fun things to feel.
The more often I used this app, the more effective it was. It really calmed me down in the moment. Nature sounds or peaceful instrumental music would make this app more effective (so it might not hurt to combine this app with your favorite YouTube meditation video).