I often get asked the question, “How do I stop my mind from wandering when I meditate?”
It is such a common experience to have your mind wander when you begin to meditate! You are not alone! Think of meditating as an exercise for your spirit and brain. When you are out of shape and begin an exercise routine, you don’t expect to be able to run 2 miles in less than 20 minutes your first time out the door. The same goes for exercising your spirit and brain! Take some small steps everyday to get your self in shape.
Here are 3 practical tips for a calming and enjoyable meditative experience.
- Have 2 pieces of paper and pencil/pen handy to write down:
- Your to-do list items that pop in and you want to remember. My mind wanders, too. I’ve found that having a spot to do a brain dump of my to-do list items frees up my spirit to fully engage in the meditation exercise.
- Profound thoughts you want to remember. Sometimes during meditation a profound thought will hit you. Feel free to take a moment to jot it down. You may want to use a journal for these thoughts.
- Have Scripture (2-4 verses) that you want to think/pray on during your meditation time in front of you. This serves 3 purposes:
- It helps write new, positive neuropathways in your brain.
- It provides a way to refocus your brain when it wanders.
- It hides the Word of God in your heart (Psalm 119:11).
- Start with 5-7 minutes and gradually work your way up to 12 or more minutes. Research has shown that 12 minutes of daily structured prayer (a form of meditation) creates physical change in the brain that increases one’s sensitivity to others (reference here).
Give it a whirl! You can do this and experience some positive changes in your life as you learn to practice being still in the presence of the Lord through meditation!