Burned out? Feeling stress and anxiety? Everybody is telling you about meditation and its wonderful benefits, even your friends! So great! You decided to take on a few guided playlist and be ready to feel perfectly zen. But… after some time, you feel that it doesn’t really work. At least not as you expected. What’s wrong?
Here are 5 mistakes to know and avoid before when you start your meditation journey. These simple things to keep in mind can put you on a path towards a regular practice and enjoy the best benefits of your meditation, overcome stress and burnout included!
Guided meditation for burnout #1 mistake to avoid
- “Try to achieve” attitude
Hearing so much about these zen masters who have their mind as still as water, you expect meditation to bring you at least some effect! So you sit down and try to achieve a meditative state. But that’s a mistake.
Meditation is, indeed, most successful when you are without any objective. You don’t want to achieve anything. You want just to sit down. Because the fact to pay attention to your breath makes you feel so good at that moment in time. And that’s all. “No tension, no intention”, that’s what zen master will tell you when it comes to meditation ( Kanshoji monastery)
Guided meditation for burnout #2 mistake to avoid
- Inconsistency versus “I have to”
Consistency is the best friend of a successful meditation journey. You might want to sit down 10 minutes every day for a month. It’s better than a long meditation of 1 hour but then forget the habit during weeks.
At the same time, be cautious about the obligation “I have to” sit down. You got it, when someone (or yourself) tells you what you “have” to do, you suddenly want to do it a whole lot less. What is the right way to maintain your consistency? Well fix the best moment in your agenda (calm, no disturbance) and make it a pleasant habit just to sit down at that time. Sit down because you feel like it. Not because people will look at you or they tell you that you have to.
Guided meditation for burnout #3 mistake to avoid
- Actively working to stop your thoughts
Trying to stop your thoughts will just make you generate more thoughts! My Zen master always tells us to let thoughts come and go, “don’t take care of them” ( Taiun Jean-Pierre Faure, Kanshoji monastery). Our thoughts are “like our breath”. We breathe in and breathe out. Our thoughts also, go in and out. Accept and love your wondering mind. Each time you suddenly realize that you are lost in some thoughts, just gently come back to your breath.
Step by step, you might find one day, that you take this habit of letting go of your thoughts, into your daily life. And eventually your whole life. You can then let go of anything.
Guided meditation for burnout #4 mistake to avoid
- Always meditate alone
Meditate alone has its convenience: when and where you want. But collective energy is of great help to maintain your practice in the long term. Join frequently a meditation club to boost your energy and motivation. By practicing together, not only we benefit from the energy of others, but we contribute to the “collective energy of mindfulness and peace” (Thich Nhat Hanh, Plum Village)
Guided meditation for burnout #5 mistake to avoid
- Expect to see clear results in short term
Many of my friends told me that they didn’t see much results when they meditated. They expected to see great changes in their lives.
“Most meditations aren’t going to end in some otherworldly feeling of transcendence. In fact, you might not even feel any different at the end of a sit-down session” (Emma Stessman)
The results you will see immediately is the good feeling you have at that moment in time when you sit down and breathe. Good sleep and less stress are probably the most visible benefits that you can see.
So now you know…
So if you ever wonder why your guided meditation does not really work, you know now the 5 common mistakes when you start your meditation. 1. Don’t try to achieve something. 2. Don’t be “inconsistent” (but don’t tell yourself “I have to” either). 3. Don’t actively stop your thoughts. 4. Don’t always meditate alone. 5. Don’t have too many expectations in the short term. Keep in mind these 5 simple things. I’m sure you are on a good path towards a regular practice. Enjoy the best benefits of your meditation, overcome burnout and stress included!