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Have Trouble Sitting Still

19 Comments

Readers Question:

I have trouble sitting still and meditating. Are there other ways to get the same relaxation benefits?

Answer:

Please don’t give up on meditation! What you’re experiencing is very common and normal. Fortunately, I have some tricks to help you stick with it so you can reap all the benefits of this practice, from reducing stress to lowering your blood pressure, to actually calming yourself.

First, find a comfortable position so that you’re less likely to fidget. Its not written in stone that you must sit cross-legged…sitting in a chair may make meditation much easier for you. If doing yoga poses or walking helps you concentrate, go ahead.

Next, focus on your breathing. At first, simply observe each inhalation and exhalation without trying to influence then:whenever you notice your attention wandering, refocus on your breath.

Once you have mastered this exercise, try counting breaths. Count “1″ to yourself as you exhale, then “2″  on your next exhale, and so on, until you reach “5″. Then start over again at “1″.
Start with 5 minutes a day and work up to 20 to 30 minutes a day.

Or, you can also try practicing with a mantra-a syllable, word or phrase(such a breathe or peace) that you repeat either silently or aloud while meditating. This ancient spiritual practice can help focus scattered thoughts and clear your mind of negativity. Many people{including me}, repeat their mantra silently throughout the day.

Finally, I recommend following my relaxing method :) Its simple, easy and very effective. To relax, I simply concentrate on whatever I am doing-even eating or washing dishes. Many a times these mundane activities are the minds safest haven. Being consciously aware of what you’re doing at all times helps calm the mind, body, heart and soul.

I do hope these simple tips will help you and encourage you to continue your meditation practice.

Dear Readers- Do you have any answers or suggestion for this question? Do you have a favorite way you use to concentrate and meditate? If so, please share your wisdom in the comments. I know the person who asked this question would certainly appreciate it.

with love Zeenat


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Author: Zeenat Merchant Syal

Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor/Motivational Speaker/Naturopath/Holistic Healer/Writer

19 thoughts on “Have Trouble Sitting Still

  1. When I was in the States, one of the various forms of meditation presented to me at one time was walking meditation. There are various ways to do it: some place the focus on the act of walking itself–being as present as possible to the movement of your body and the feel of the path under your feet, others place the focus on simply breathing in motion to your steps and focusing on that breath.

    I thought walking meditation was a wonderful idea for those who find sitting meditation difficult.

    There are several wonderful articles available online that you can find in a quick google search.

    Another form of meditation I loved (and use myself sometimes) is listening meditation. I go to a quiet place in nature and simply focus myself on isolating and truly hearing certain distinct sounds: a bird song, a cricket in the grass, the wind in the leaves. It’s very soothing.

    Hope this helps your friend! <3 There's no need to give up.

  2. I love Chania Girl’s suggestions. LOL … I also love walking and listening meditations, in other words, a mindfulness practice that I enjoy every day. I’m lucky because I live in a place where I can walk in untrammeled beauty on natural paths through the forests and along beaches.

    These are other approaches I use to relax when I don’t choose to sit to meditate:

    I breathe deeply while I fold laundry focusing all my attention on the feeling of my breath entering and exiting my nostrils .
    I scan my body while I wash dishes focusing all attention on different parts become aware of the sensations, whether that’s pain, tension, warmth or relaxation.
    I repeat a mantra and chant as I do an indoor walking meditation. Or I listen and/or move to spiritual music, spoken words or any music I find relaxing or inspiring.
    I recite affirmations or just read them and other inspirational quotes.
    I garden on my deck and take the time to smell and admire every flower and every vegetable and herb growing there.

    I hope these suggestions help your friend.

  3. Hi Z! Wonderful tips! I think most beginners think something is supposed to “happen” during meditation and they are so busy worrying about doing it “right” that they miss the nothingness.

    I used to have such a time of it with my thoughts (Monkey Mind ya know!) bombarding me when I tried to be still. I found that instead of fighting with myself and saying “Don’t think” (which never works because its like you baiting the monkey!) I calmly said in my head, “Thank you for this thought” sort of acknowledging it and soon I’d stop thinking altogether. Maybe this sounds nuts, but it works for me!

    Keep up the excellent blogs, my dear one! :)
    Hugs
    suZen

  4. @Zeenat
    I hope you don’t think this is self serving but I have published an ongoing series posts that contain tips for beginner meditation and relaxation exercises that have worked well for many students. You will find them here Meditation Practice

  5. Great post. Sound advice. We live in a world where we are expected to maintain a high level of productivity. We are often pulled in many directions during the day with many demands. Sometimes even when we arrive home after work, there is no transition time. No rest.

    I am giving a talk on this subject this weekend, the talk is about prayer and meditation will be part of that talk. Sometimes it is helpful to meditate in the morning before the world wakes up. When ever is best for a person, you really need to set aside some time. Beginners can start slowly with a shorter session. The more a person practices, the better meditation gets. As you say, don’t give up. It is worth it.

    Thanks for your insights on this topic. So important.

  6. Meditation is such a challenge for me but ever so rewarding even when I do it for 5 minutes. I go in and out of my habit and right now I am out again. Zeenat, I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to stick to a schedule – I don’t know why I can’t do it. I don’t have obligations that keep me from doing it, I must simply not be able to sit still and focus…..and even hours of yoga still doesn’t help much. It’s the determination to believe I need to do this daily that’s lacking. Thanks for the reinforcement! I knew all of this already but I had to hear it and read it again. You are a gem!

  7. I am not one for sitting still, waste of my time. BUT I do love what meditation stands for, quieting a mind that otherwise leaves me rattled and very unsettled.
    So your last recommendation about being mindful about what you do and check your breathing is for me! It works. When I noticed I tensely prepare my veggies, I mindfully check, notice and correct. When I check and notice myself running instead of walking, I correct. It leaves me at the end of the day peacefully content with what I have done instead of exhausted and agitated.
    Thanks Z for validating my method, xox Wilma

  8. You offer great advice Zeenat, and I also love Chania Girl’s advice. I do a whatever works for me in the moment I am in. I do find my yoga practice quite meditative. And, what you do in daily life an be a form of meditation if you are mindfully present, however the insight and clarity provided through seated focused meditation are amazing. Just build upon a few minutes at a time until you are focused enough to stay seated longer. In my personal life if it’s tough to stay seated, I find that is because I don’t truly want the insight or the answer because I am not ready for it, or am afraid or have a block.

  9. Hi Zeenat, some great advice on meditation. I used to think, when I first started meditation, that something was going to shift in my mind as soon as my legs were crossed and my hands turned upwards, but it doesn’t work like that at all. Even 15 minutes of meditation per day is a total mind reset and it’s something I practice every day now.

  10. Z.
    You offer excellent advice. My problem is I can do this for up to 6 months and then I quit again. Augghhh! What do I do about that?

  11. Dear Zeenat,

    I use to practice Yoga and Meditation but lately have a problem to focus.
    Foe whatever reason something has changed in my body and does not let me
    focus for a long time. Well, need more sunshine, I guess… The winters here
    are long. Perhaps summer time will have a positive impact on my feelings.

    Thank you for the great blog.
    Warmest wishes, love Zu~

  12. Hi Zeenat .. I must get back into starting to meditate .. I started Jan’s January month .. http://www.awakeisgood.com/ meditation series .. which gives a really good overview of what’s what. I found a book on meditating .. written by an Australian .. but seemed to relate to my English way of life .. and that again gave variations and gave me an understanding of meditating.

    It’s good to have a grasp of the expectations … like falling asleep! But everyone recommends meditating and the benefits we can gain from it .. so definitely I will get back to it ..

    Have a good weekend – Hilary

  13. I have the same problem, I just can’t force myself to sit still for that long. I manage to do it for a while and then I fall out of the habit again. It’s really tough for me, so I’m an inconsistent. These are all great suggestions. Thanks everyone!

  14. I often find it a challenge not to sit still but to stop the thoughts. recently i have been using methods I read from Sonia Choquette

    what I have found successful is repeating the mantra Om Mani Padme Om which is similiar to a mantra I got when I did TM many years ago.

    namaste
    Suzie

  15. Hi All,
    Can you believe it…the person who asked this question…sent me a huge thank you email! Not just for my answer…but for all your answers.
    She was so relieved that there were other people going through a similar situation while trying to meditate. She was under the impression that meditation is supposed to make you fly etc…when in reality just getting calm should be the focus.
    You are all so so awesome for sharing your beautiful experiences so freely. Thank you thank you thank you!
    I love this group sharing here….it makes for a great support system :)
    Much love to you all~

  16. Beautiful Zeenat!

    The counting and mantra advice are both wonderful options for calming a fidgety yogi during meditation. Another one that my friend just shared with me is this: ask yourself – silently – “What is my next thought going to be?” And then wait to see what the next thought is. Keep asking that question over and over until NO THOUGHT appears immediately. That’s the gap — the space where we become aware of our divinity at the same moment it becomes aware of us.

    Have a beautiful day!

  17. Dearest Z, this comes at good time as it’s been pretty fast paced here getting my book ready. I’m returning to my Chi Gong but am also thinking of doing a meditation. Usually I am in Nature every day and don’t need to do it, or rather “being” in Nature IS my meditation. But lately I’ve not had the opportunity to be in Nature every day so I think I might try this.

    I’ve missed being here and being embraced by your endless peaceful love. I think of you often and I also know that we will ALWAYS be connected. You are such a beautiful soul sister and always will be. Maybe one day I will get to meet you. I know it would be nothing but pure JOY!

    I am sending you so much love. KNOW that you really are thought of and that YOU make up part of the fabric that is me. I find that so amazing and beautiful. I am stronger, more loved and more whole for your presence in my life and in the world. I mean that with all my heart. MUCH love, Robin xoxo

    • Oh Robin, I’ve missed you too ! So much :)
      You always light up this little heaven I have created with your presence and your beautiful words. I do wish we will meet someday too…how wonderful that would be…wow! I get goose flesh just thinking about it :)
      Its wonderful to see you here..sharing your glorious thoughts.
      Thank you fro thinking about me with so much love. Just know that I feel exactly the same way about you. Who knows..I might visit you astrally soon ;)
      Much Love with huge hugs~

  18. GOOD MORNING MADAM,
    I REALY GIVE YOU RESPECT, BECAUSE YOUR WEB SITE IS VERY-VERY GOOD FOR ALL NORMAL PEOPLE. AND MY HEARTLY BEST WISHES TO YOU.
    JITENDRA PATEL AND NITA PATEL. (MUMBAI).

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