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How to deal with distractions when meditating- Get rid of the negative feelings

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When meditating on a daily basis, you will discover that your session is not the same each time. You will notice that some days it’s easier to get distracted and harder to keep your attention alert.
In this article, I will explain how to deal with distractions when meditating and how to get rid of the negative feelings that may occur.

illustration of a face and abstracted shapes I believe that anyone in one way or another, has been caught up in the trap feeling angry, disappointed, sad or discouraged when dealing with the distractions.

You sit down to start your session feeling relaxed and inspired.
The first distraction comes and you get lost into it for a couple of seconds or minutes, when you realize you have been distracted, you gently turn your attention to your meditation object again.
This happens again and again…

While in the beginning you feel ok, after a while there comes a point where you say: “Not again! I have to focus harder now”. It’s at this point when the negative feelings start to arise.
In this case actually, except the negative feelings that comes along with the “Not again!”, the feeling of pressure may also arise when we say to ourselves “I have to focus harder”.
This situation creates a complex of negative emotions.

If we have negative feelings every time we have realized that our mind has been distracted, our session will get worse and worse. We will stop being relaxed and have agitation and disturbance inside of us. If you create an agitated mindset the only thing you will achieve is to get unmotivated or even quit all your efforts.

Meditation is about having a relaxed and neutral mindset. Negative feelings are surely not going to lead us to that result and we will definitely not want to stick to our practice if we make it unpleasant.




What to do

 

animated man celebrating his victoryWhat really helps is to reverse your way of thinking about your practice. Instead of thinking that you have to keep your attention stable, think your session as a game where you have to catch your mind wandering.

Every time you realize that your mind has been wandering instead of thinking “Damn! I lost it again!”, think “Haha! I caught you! I’m very good at this”; then you just bring your attention gently back to your meditation object feeling grateful.

Congratulating yourself, will bring positivity to your practice and will help you not to develop any negative feelings. You will see that the results are amazing when doing this and that you will be able to keep your attention for longer periods of time.

Now, I know that some of you will say that meditation is about being non-judgemental and having a neutral attitude about the distractions. I agree, and that’s our ultimate goal. I just believe that having a pinch of positivity by praising ourselves is a good way for a beginner to avoid negative feelings from raising and growing.
Because when we have negative feelings, we have absolutely no balance or relaxation inside of us. Instead, there is a war going on inside of us.
Positive feelings will bring a peaceful and harmonized mindset, but maybe not a neutral one. That’s ok. Because after knowing how to fight with the negativity and achieve a balanced and relaxed mindset it will be much more easy to go to the next step being neutral.
Congratulating yourself is just a tool to get where we want and train our mind.



 

What if we have a particular thought or feeling that keeps insisting

 

There can be many reasons why a particular thought can be stuck in our head. An argument at work, a situation we don’t like or any kind of event or person that affects us.
In this case, I recommend to start your practice with a visualization or if you notice a persistent thought during your meditation, do the visualization at that moment and then come back to your regular meditation practice.
Read the visualization.


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8 thoughts on “How to deal with distractions when meditating- Get rid of the negative feelings

  1. Lauren Kinghorn

    Hi Athanasia, now that’s the best advice I’ve EVER heard on meditating! Thank YOU! I struggle with exactly this when I meditate. Makes so much sense that it leads to a downward spiral of negativity that eventually causes you to give up on meditating. I am definitely going to try your technique the next time I meditate. Love it!

    1. Athanasia Post author

      Hello, Lauren.
      Thank you. I’m happy you found my article helpful.
      Dedicating little time in analyzing the source of our feelings makes it much easier to cope with them and find solutions. Negativity brings disappointment and makes many come to the conclusion that they are not cut out for meditation.
      This technique really helps. It can change the way somebody thinks of meditation. Try it, and keep me updated 🙂

      Best wishes,
      Athanasia

  2. Holly

    Hi Anathasia,

    Great article – I found this topic so helpful as I meditate a lot and occasionally have this challenge. Some days I simply cannot switch off and ‘just be’. You mentioned visualizing when you have a repetitive issue or distraction crop up – do you mean to visualize on this particular person/situation in a positive way? Does this normally eradicate the problem from your mind moving forward?

    Holly xx

    1. Athanasia Post author

      Hello Holly 🙂

      I’m very glad that you found my article helpful.
      I meant visualizing that the particular issue is drifting away from you. If you click on the link at the end of the post the specific visualization will open in a new window.
      To think of it in a positive way will also help for sure; finding always the positive aspect in daily challenges. I do that when I’m not meditating and when meditating I prefer to visualize that it’s becoming smaller and smaller (or drifting away), until it dissapears. Try it and let me know how it went.

      Best wishes,
      Athanasia

  3. J-RO

    I have always had trouble meditating. I can never seem to keep my mind from wandering. I’ve tried switching my locations but that didn’t seem to work. I even tried to change the time of day. But my mind just would not slow down. I will definitely be trying the techniques you posted here.

    1. Athanasia Post author

      Hello J-RO 🙂

      If you follow a frequent meditation schedule your mind will eventually slow down. 5-6 times per week, 5-10 minutes each time, will do the job. Two words that I always kept in my mind when starting to meditate was persistence and constancy.

      Best wishes,
      Athanasia

  4. Ilyssa

    This is a helpful post. I admit that when I try to meditate I am easily distracted. This presents a new way to deal with these distractions and I think that you are offering a great way to look at it and it is one that I have not before. Thank you for sharing. What have you found was the easiest way to get started with meditation?

    1. Athanasia Post author

      Hello Ilyssa 🙂
      Thank you for your comment.
      When somebody wants to start meditating I recommend to follow the schedule that I have prepared. Click here to view. It consists of different kinds of concentration objects each day. This way you will find out what works best for you and stick to it. Don’t be in a hurry to decide which one to choose. Repeat them as many times as needed.
      I recommend starting with 5-10 minutes, every day and gradually increase when you feel ready. The most important thing is the frequency and not the duration. If you meditate 2 times per week for 20 minutes each time you will not have as good effects as when you meditate for 5 minutes 6-7 days per week. And in the first case it’s more likely that you will get pressured and bored.
      If you keep meditating on a daily basis, the distractions will gradually become less.
      If you want to establish a daily practice read this post that will provide you with solutions to many challenges that may occur.

      I wish you the best,
      Athanasia

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