Amanda Johnson

Love the life you have and have the life you want


11 Comments

Do You Make These Six Common Mistakes When Meditating?

iStock_000005213985Small2

I remember the first time I tried to meditate and thought, “This is so not what I thought it would be!”

I had a very clear image in my mind of what meditating was supposed to be—and what it wasn’t. And what I instead discovered is that my preconceived notions actually kept me from experiencing the true benefits of meditation.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why meditating isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, perhaps you have some of the same misconceptions that I initially had.

To make sure we are reaping the true benefits of meditation, we first need to understand some of the most common mistakes people make when starting a meditation practice.

1. Trying to stop our thoughts

I was under the impression that when people meditate they have no thoughts. When I tried to do this, I failed miserably.

When we attempt to stop our thoughts during meditation we are making meditation way more difficult than it needs to be. Meditating is not about not thinking. It is about observing our thoughts without getting carried away by them.

The more often we can practice observing our thoughts as if we are watching cars pass by, the more we strengthen our ability to do this throughout the day.

2. Assuming one must sit cross-legged on a cushion

I had a picture in my mind that the only way to properly meditate was to sit on a fancy cushion with incense burning nearby. Given I have neither of those things (and wasn’t planning to buy them anytime soon), meditation seemed to be an undoable act.

Then, I tried something crazy. I sat on my couch in the middle of my studio and practiced my meditation.

The benefits of meditation are not found on a cushion. They can be found anywhere we choose to close our eyes, bring our awareness to our breath, and watch our thoughts pass us by.

3. Only meditating in a quiet place

Along with assuming I had to sit on a cushion to meditate, I also believed that it could only be done in a quiet place. If I wasn’t able to make time for meditation while at home, I didn’t get my meditation in for the day. So I started meditating in other places.

When we quiet our mind, we do not need to be in a quiet place to meditate. We can even use the sounds around us to bring us deeper into our awareness. 

4. Blocking off a minimum of 30 minutes each day to meditate

When I started meditating, I thought that the only way I’d see benefits is if I did it for at least 30 minutes a day. Not that there is anything wrong with meditating for more than 30 minutes in one sitting—this can actually be very beneficial.

The problem can arise when we assume that anything less isn’t worthwhile, and we miss an opportunity to use the 5 minutes we do have to center ourselves and cultivate our meditation practice.

5. Expecting an outcome

My first experience meditating left me saying, “That’s it?” As if something incredible was supposed to happen once I opened my eyes.

When we meditate, it’s not about reaching any particular outcome—like feeling rejuvenated or shifting our entire perspective on something. While these things may occur, going into meditation with an expectation of a particular outcome will simply defeat the purpose.

Meditation isn’t about “doing” or “achieving”—it’s about “being” and “observing.” [Tweet that!]

6. Only using silent meditation

For someone like me whose mind tends to go a mile a minute, sitting in silence was probably one of the most painful things I ever tried to do.

Once I discovered the ease of using a guided meditation app on my phone, I turned a whole new corner with meditation.

Guided meditations can be just what we need to observe our thoughts and experience some stillness.

Meditation can sometimes have a bad rap. Mainly this is because some of us have preconceived notions about how it’s “supposed” to be done which actually keep us from truly experiencing the benefits that meditation has to offer.

See what happens if we let go of some of these expectations and instead let meditation be exactly what it is intended to be—a chance to bring awareness to our breath, observe our thoughts, and create space to experience a little more inner peace in the moment.

What is your favorite mediation tip or trick? Share in the comments below and help others discover new ways to experience the benefits of meditating.

Advertisements


7 Comments

Ever Wondered What It Would Be like to Give Yourself a Break?

stress-free-lying-in-field

Uff da.

For the past couple of weeks, I was in a real funk.

I was in a state of malaise pretty much every day. And I felt frustrated with myself that I couldn’t figure out why. I over-analyzed it, worried about it, and tried to make it go away.

What I noticed?

The more I fought it, the more it persisted.

So I eventually tried something else—I let myself off the hook. I allowed myself to be in a funk. I gave myself what I needed in the moment.

Maybe you’ve been in a funk or given yourself a hard time for feeling a certain way before, too.

What I learned is that the greatest gift we can give ourselves during times like these is a break.

Yup. A good ol’ fashioned hall pass.

This doesn’t mean we need to lose ourselves in something else that only takes us out of the moment even more. It means we lovingly acknowledge where we are in this moment and remember that funks happen. And nothing lasts forever.

When we give ourselves a break, we are honoring and accepting where we are in this moment. {Tweet that!}

Of course this isn’t very easy for the ego to accept. The ego wants to remind us just what we aren’t accomplishing or what we “should” be doing or why feeling this way isn’t okay.

Luckily, we are more than just our ego.

And when we choose to observe where we are with non-judgmental awareness and give ourselves a break, some incredible things happen.

1. We discover that things still get done.

Arianna Huffington talks about this very thing in an interview with Marie Forleo where she talks about priorities and to-do lists. And if we are really honest with ourselves, the stuff that has to get done, gets done. No matter how long our list is or how much we think we “should” do.

When we give ourselves a break, we can trust that the important things can still get done and everything else can wait.

2. We get a chance to slow down and reevaluate our values and priorities.

Sometimes we are in a funk or feeling bleh because we haven’t taken the time to understand what we value and how we want to prioritize our time. It’s easy to feel like slaves to our tasks and responsibilities. But, remember, we are always choosing how and where to spend our time.

Taking a break gives us a little breathing room to ask ourselves: is what I’m doing aligned with my values? If not, how can I shift things around so this is the case more often?

3. We are reminded that nothing lasts forever.

Just like seasons, everything changes. Including our moods and levels of productivity. Sometimes it is hard to remember this when we are in the throes of a funk. And yet it is still just as true.

When we give ourselves a break, we are lovingly reminding ourselves that this too shall pass.

Funks happen. Some days are better than others. The next time you experience this, give yourself a break instead of beating yourself up, and see if any of these are true for you.

I’m sure there are other things that can happen when we give ourselves a break. What am I missing here? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below!

Love what you’re reading here and want even more goodies? Sign up here to receive my updates straight to your inbox—including my 10 dirty little secrets to loving the life I have!


4 Comments

Three Familiar Symptoms of Not Being Good Enough

Launching a new business really brings up a bunch of sh*t.

The amount of self-doubt and insecurity this brings up for me is pretty incredible. My inner critic just loves itself a new opportunity to get into my head.

It challenges me each and every day to remember that I am good enough.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here. Most of us walk around each day and, one way or another, think we’re not good enough. 

Whether or not we acknowledge it to others—or even to ourselves—I have started to notice a few common symptoms that crop up when we live a life apologizing for who we are.

sick-woman

Now, if I could put this next line in big flashing lights, I would. I cannot stress it enough. I want to shout it from the mountaintops at the the top of my lungs.

If any of these symptoms ring true for you it doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough!!! It just means you might believe you’re not good enough.

And I’m here to tell you that that just isn’t true.

The ego is incredibly co-dependent and wants nothing more than to feel important and needed. If the ego is winning this particular fight be sure to keep reading to see just how we can turn “not being good enough” into “being good with being me.”

1. Feeling of emptiness

Sometimes we misinterpret that empty pit in our stomach as a sign that we’re not okay and then proceed to cover it up with food, alcohol, tantrums, or anything else that seems to alleviate it for a brief moment in time.

We can start to pay attention to when we reach for that extra slice of cake or have another drink or yell at our partner and see if there is something going on inside that we might be misreading as “not okay” instead of simply a physiological experience—butterflies in the stomach, aching in the heart, tightness in the chest.

What if that emptiness we sometimes feel is just part of being human? What if it’s okay?

2. Asking the question, “What will they think?”

This question crops up a lot whether we are launching a new business or meeting someone for the first time. When we focus more on what others will think than on what lights us up and feels true to us in the moment, we are feeding into this limiting belief.

We cannot predict the future or control the outcome. Each one of us is responsible for our own thoughts and reactions which means that if you think I’m too much or not professional enough that really isn’t something I can control.

When we find that we more often than not modify how we show up to fit a mold or avoid “upsetting people” we are compromising our own authentic brilliance.

3. Worrying about what we did (or didn’t do)

This is another big one. Especially when we are feeling anything less than 100% amazing.

What if no matter what we did in the past—whether we got angry or acted in a way that we feel embarrassed about—we are still good enough?

Now, the only hook here is that sometimes we find that we are not being true to our authentic self because we are afraid of what other people might think which can then lead to us worrying about what we did or how we acted. So, the moral here?

Remember that our authentic self is perfectly imperfect just the way it is. {Tweet it out!}

The root cause of so much of our angst and unease stems from this belief that we are not okay. And I lovingly challenge all of us to question that on an ongoing basis. What if we are okay just the way we are and we no longer need to go around covering it up or apologizing for it?

How would you show up differently if you weren’t experiencing these common symptoms of “not-being-good-enough-itis?”

What am I missing here? What other symptoms do you experience that stem from that nagging feeling of “not being good enough?” Share in the comments below and help others with their diagnosis.

Like what you’ve read? Sign up to receive my weekly blog directly in your inbox.