In an ideal world, everyone would be taking part in daily meditation and benefitting their mental health as well as improving their physical health. However, this is not the case and many people find that mindfulness techniques and meditation can do more harm than good – but why is this?
One of the main reasons that people struggle with meditation is that they are not doing it correctly, although there are some people who find that the practice makes them feel uncomfortable.
In this article, we are going to be looking at whether meditation works for everyone and what you might be able to do if you find that your practice doesn’t seem to be getting you very far.
Is Meditation Suitable For Everyone?
In short, meditation is a practice that can be done by anyone; there are no limits on who can take part. Any person regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, and any other defining factor can reap the benefits of a regular meditation practice.
That being said, there are many who find that when they meditate, they feel more negative than they do positive and some have even reported heightened levels of anxiety and depression, despite these being two mental health problems that meditation claims to improve.
However, there is one small exception and that is people who have very serious mental health conditions and there has been evidence to suggest that unless they are closely monitored, their symptoms could be made worse rather than better. While meditation may help with these problems in the mind, things like psychosis, schizophrenia, and depression could worsen even despite their best efforts.
A lot of people have tried mindfulness meditation and not noticed an immediate effect, as such, they have decided that meditation and mindfulness are not the way to go and swiftly give up. But many mindfulness experts will tell you that it takes time to learn how to reach a true meditative state – you might think of it in the same way as you think about study; it takes time.
Why Is Meditation Not Working For Me?
There are several reasons that one may find that despite a constant effort to meditate, it just doesn’t seem to work. In the main, there are seven things that could make meditating ineffective, and for most people, one of these will ring alarm bells.
- Being too judgemental of yourself and expected too much from yourself is one of the most common mistakes that people make when they get into meditation. There is no right way to meditate yet even knowing this, many meditators spend too much time placing their attention on whether they are doing it right. Try to focus the mind on the present and just be still.
- Sometimes we are tempted to do meditation when we are tired, and life has a funny way of making us tired at all the wrong moments. However, if you want your meditative experiences to be fruitful, you should aim to use your meditation app or techniques at a time when you know you won’t fall asleep.
- We will discuss the importance of a consistent practice a little later on but for now, you will want to keep in mind that it is important to make the time to meditate daily rather than doing it sporadically.
- Expecting to escape is one of the common problems that people face when starting meditation. The mind cannot be completely cleared and while this activity can help to improve health problems such as anxiety, depression and physical symptoms, this anxiety cannot be totally removed. Your mind will wander but the art of meditation isn’t to free yourself from this but rather to learn to focus, and regain control so that you feel well in your life.
- Human contact is essential and this is just as important during meditation. Meditating alone can become a habit but many experts say that joining a group can be very beneficial. It will help you to keep your focus as well as meeting like-minded people. You will also notice your thoughts a lot more when you experience group meditating.
- Some will try meditating as they think that it is easy and when they realize that this is a thing that requires practice and patience, they think again about wanting to move forward with it. You should try to keep in mind that meditation may not be as easy as you think and it will need some time to get right.
- A lot of people associate meditation with spirituality and whilst this is one thing that is done in spiritual experiences, for most, meditation could not be further away from spirituality. Of course, if you want a spiritual experience then there is no reason why you shouldn’t work towards them but the art of meditation is more about observing your thoughts and improving your mental state.
Can Meditation Be Dangerous?
On the whole, you should use meditation as a thing to declutter the mind and help you through life, and whilst this is not considered to be a dangerous activity, there are some risks. But it is important to remember that these risks are normally experienced by those with existing mental health conditions.
One study demonstrated that people who meditated for a given period did experience some unwanted effects and in the main, these were in relation to suicidal feelings and an exacerbation of symptoms of anxiety and depression. These overwhelming emotions could cause some to act in unsafe ways so it is vital that if you were to feel anything similar to what we have described that you seek medical advice.
Is 30 Minutes Of Meditation Enough?
Meditating for 30 minutes every day is enough for you to develop a consistent practice and whether you use a mediation app or simply sit with your thoughts, half an hour a day will likely be enough to benefit from mindfulness.
However, a lot of meditation teachers will tell you that your ability to meditate freely and easily doesn’t come from meditating for long periods of time but rather relies on consistent practice. For example, someone who spends ten minutes a day meditating but never missed a day would likely develop a better ability to meditate over a person who meditated for two hours once a week.
Particularly when you first start, trying to sit and retain the attention required for mindfulness for long periods of time is almost impossible. You will want to start off slowly and if you have the desire to continue on to a longer session, you can build this over time.
Meditation is a wonderful thing that is designed to help human beings find a way of grounding themselves, discovering their sense of self, and reaping a whole world of health benefits.
However, there are some people who find that this doesn’t work for them and others who have found that they do not feel better, but rather have unwanted side effects. If this happen to you, one of the most important things to do is speak to someone who can offer medical advice.
Alternatively, you might simply notice that even after your best attempts, meditation just doesn’t work. This is likely down to the way that you are meditating with a lot of practitioners doing it in the improper way and allowing their thoughts to take over. This is a common problem but one that can be tackled through trying a different approach and learning how to meditate correctly.