Improve Concentration In Meditation with Habitify
One of the most common problems faced by beginner meditators is not being able to focus when meditating. It’s absurd how our mind seems to wander rigorously when we want it to stay concentrated the most. Even as we go on practicing for weeks, or months, we still find the unsettling need to improve our concentration during meditation sessions.
In this blog, I will point out why you have trouble with concentration and some practical ways you can use Habitify to focus better day after day.
I. Why are you not having the best concentration?
First and foremost, if you can’t sit still for 10 minutes, or find it impossible to concentrate on your breath for 10 seconds, you are not alone. Every beginner has this problem, it always takes a while for people to get over the challenging first few days. When we are so used to being occupied with life, it’s inevitable that we find “not-doing-anything” really hard.
Therefore, it’s reasonable to give yourself time. Don’t worry too much, since it’s part of the process.
After quite some time practicing and making certain progress, you might sometimes still get caught in backsliding. This is also perfectly normal. Notice that the mind during meditation reflects the mind during your days, so if you have troublesome thoughts throughout the day, it will be wise to expect less concentration during the meditation.
After all, it’s a good idea to remember that meditation is an ongoing journey, not a result, and having a still mind is just one of the benefits. So don't expect to achieve your desired state of calmness and the art of being present right in your first few days. Be patient.
II. Practical tips to improve concentration through time
There are actually many ways to help you focus better when meditating. Many of these are actually meditation techniques regarding your physical body (like deepening breaths or adjusting postures), or navigating your mental flow (like body scan and counting breaths).
However, for beginners who have just started out, gathering enough concentration to practice these techniques is tough. It’s better to opt for actionable, non-technical tips like the following:
1. Find the best time to meditate
If you want to concentrate better, you need to make use of your subconscious system. Try meditating at different times of the day and notice the time when you find fewest distractions.
For example, while some people love to meditate in the morning because that’s when they find their mind fresh and empty, others struggle with the urge to check their emails or can’t help thinking about their to-do list.
Once you have found the perfect time, stick to it every day. This helps your biorhythms get used to it, so your nervous system will be trained to turn on the meditation mode whenever the time strikes, allowing better concentration day after day.
The hardest part of applying this tip is to keep track of your testing days, as you can’t jump right to the conclusion after one day or two. You need to look at your progress broadly and notice patterns, instead of overestimating random samples. To make it easier to track patterns, you can use Habitify’s Check-in Time graph and Notes feature simultaneously:
Check-in Time graph shows you the time during the day when you most often complete a meditation session. It’s worth noticing this because your level of concentration can vary even after a few hours.
You can also use Habitify Notes along to write down how focused you were in the session so that it’s easier to look back later. You don’t have to resort to your memory anymore.
2. Create the right environment
Just as finding the right time of the day to meditate, fixing a space for meditation also helps to send signals to your subconscious system, allowing it to understand that it’s time for meditation, rather than thinking about what to have for breakfast.
Most importantly, you need to create a boundary between you and the external environment to avoid all kinds of distractions: your pets, your families, your colleagues,... Sometimes a single sound might interfere greatly with your concentration.
3. Find the best duration to meditate
Your concentration obviously changes according to how long you meditate, so it’s best for beginners to be realistic and start with the length that does not ruin their focus, and slowly add on some minutes later.
Over time, you will discover that trying to reach a longer duration takes lots of time. You did reach 20 minutes at ease today doesn’t mean you will be the same tomorrow. This sudden fall could demotivate you. That’s why once again, you need to keep doing despite these fluctuations and focus on the process as a whole that you are improving.
Habitify’s Timer helps to track your progress and generates graphs to show you how much you have done. This not only keeps you out of demotivation but also supports you in deciding when you should upgrade your duration.
4. Journal before you meditate to release thoughts and remind yourself of your meditation goals
To prevent thoughts from invading your meditation space, one simple yet highly effective way is to write all of them down prior to starting. This helps to clear up your mind, leaving space for greater concentration.
After writing down everything about your day, it’s best for you to remind yourself of why you wanted to meditate in the first place. This allows you to set a clear intention for your meditation, which helps you stay concentrated easier.
Once you have revised your meditation goal(s), write it down in your journal. This creates a sense of accountability and sets up the tone for your upcoming meditation.
SEE ALSO: Journaling Ideas for Self-Improvement
5. Switch your focus during times of extreme turbulent
As mentioned earlier in this blog, it's perfectly fine to have days of extreme turbulent that prevent you from concentrating during meditation. So instead of forcing your mind to concentrate, it’s better to use this time to practice mindfulness and learn more about yourself. This switch in focus would help you to regain calm after a long day.
To enhance the effect of the switch, you can practice mindfulness further by using Habitify Notes to write down how you feel before going into a meditation and document what you find out about yourself after the session.
Even on normal days, you should still keep a habit of noting down your feelings before and after the mediation. Although this action might not have a direct impact on how you concentrate in that particular session, it’s a chance to improve your skill of mindfulness as a whole, hence indirectly helping you to become more focused when meditating.
Your concentration can be built up through time with a more strategic routine and mindfulness practice. But after all, meditation is not something you have to rush about, but something to practice and improve throughout your life. Build a habit to meditate daily, care less about how you feel later, enjoy more what you mediation session as it is now, and one day you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come. That’s the amazing thing about habits.
If you want to build amazing habits like meditation, try out Habitify - a multi-platform habit tracker that helps you build lasting habits, boost personal development and lead a fulfilling life.