Meditating correctly may not be the correct term, as everyone's experience while meditating may be different, and everyone may have a different pace at which they see the benefits or feel any difference from meditation.
Think about what your purpose is for meditation, and then try to understand if you are reaching those goals. Is your goal to calm down? If so, has meditation helped you calm down?
If it has not, then you could ask yourself why it hasn't, maybe you haven't given it enough time. Meditation is a practice that takes time to actually get good at, meaning, for you to actually get into the mindset, to be calmer, relaxed, and to help reduce stress and anxiety, and all of its other benefits.
If you have not given it enough time and practice, then you may actually be doing it correctly, just not long enough and not often enough.
I would say that one of the few ways to not meditate correctly is to expect the wrong things from meditation.
It's not a miracle, it's not a fast fix or a cure. It is a practice, something that can take a long time to reach the goals you are trying to reach.
Also, if you meditate once in a long while, then that too would not be an effective way of meditating. You should try and have a consistent practice, and to meditate as often as you can. This does not mean that you need to meditate everyday multiple times a day for hours, but even just a few minutes per day will do it and get you a long way.
Other expectations that some have, are to have clear minds when meditating. They expect their thoughts to just go away as soon as they start meditating. This is an expectation that is not realistic, and expecting this will just harm your practice, as this most likely will not be the case.
So just meditate often, and don't expect things that are not realistic. Just be in the moment and focus on the meditation, on the breath.
Mindfulness is not a cure, it is not magic, it is not a relaxation technique, and it will not solve all of your problems the moment you start practicing it.
Though mindfulness may help with many of those things, it will happen over time, and not instantly.
Many people have an understanding that mindfulness will help them forget about the past, stop thinking about the future, and be more calm and relaxed the moment they add it to their life, but this is not correct. While mindfulness can help you stop thinking about the past and the future and bring your focus to the present moment, this is a difficult feat to achieve, once that takes time, practice, and a lot of patience.
Mindfulness can help calm your mind through its various exercises, but like any exercise, it will also take time. If you start incorporating mindfulness into your life now, what ever your age is, that is the amount of years your brain has been allowed to do what ever it wants. It is used to that kind of life and freedom, and it will do what ever it can to continue like that, making your mindfulness journey more difficult.
It's because we cannot just override our brain's nature in a single session, or even in a few sessions. Mindfulness is a practice that can help change your mind's habits, it can help you have more control over your mind and the thoughts that enter it, and mainly, how you react to those thoughts and how they make you feel, but it just takes time.
This is a huge misconception many people have about mindfulness. They think it will be a quick journey, and when they see that after a few exercises nothing has changed, they decide it's not for them and that it doesn't work.
That is what mindfulness is not. It is not magic, and it will not solve your problems overnight.
Mindfulness can be a great tool to help ease anxiety due to the way it causes us to focus on the here and the now rather than the things that may be causing us the anxiety, such as the future or the past.
Mindfulness teaches us how to reduce our focus on future possibilities and past events, and focus more on the present moment. This enhanced focus on the present moment allows us to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, fears for the future which we may be stressing over, regret or negative emotions for the past and it's events which could be keeping us stuck in the past, preventing us from moving on with our lives. All of these things and more could be the underlying cause of many people's anxiety, and since mindfulness helps us reduce this from our lives, it can certainly help us with reducing anxiety, fear, stress, depression, and other negative emotions.
On top of this, mindfulness can teach us how to better accept life's events and outcomes, and to not be impulsive towards what happens, but rather, to be accepting, open, and patient. To be able to respond in the way that you feel truly represents you, rather than just reacting to the tough situations out of impulse.
A mindful walk is a mindfulness exercise where, while walking, you try to be mindful of the sensations you experience as much as you can.
This means that while walking, you would try to focus on each step, how it feels when your foot hits the ground, at what speed it hits it and at what force.
It means being aware of the speed at which you are walking, your pace, your breathing, and other bodily sensations.
It also means being aware of your surroundings while you are walking. This includes the terrain you are walking on, the smell in the air, the sounds surrounding you, the wind and how it hits your face, and any other external sensations you experience.
This may sound like a lot to focus on at once, and it is and can be overwhelming, which is why you should begin by focusing on just one of those elements. Try walking and paying extra attention to how quickly your feet hit the ground. After that, also pay attention to how it feels when your heel hits the ground.
Slowly, as you practice, you will be able to focus on each thing for longer and more intensely, and to even focus on multiple things at once.
I don't think it's necessarily that you should not focus on the future. I think there is a balance.
If you live your life focusing on the future, then you are not living your life right now. Same as if you were to live your life thinking about the past, you would be missing out on the things that are in your life right now.
Thinking about the future, it's possibilities, things you may have or may not have, worries and fears, can cause you to act in ways that you otherwise would not. It can cause you stress, anxiety, and often times, depression. On the other hand, not having any ambitions or goals for the future can also cause stress and anxiety, and again, depression.
I have known people who lived without having any goals or plans for the future, and while they were just living in the present moment, living each day as it came, they were also lacking a sense of purpose, they were lacking a destination, a goal. They soon feel into depression until they had to start taking better care of themselves.
There are people who make maybe too many plans for the future, who think too much about the future to the point where everything they do today is actually for tomorrow. As a result, they cannot enjoy anything, since every new day exists only to worry and care for the next day.
There is a balance, and for everyone that balance will be different.
Journaling can be a great way to help deal with anxiety.
Many times, anxiety can occur due to overthinking things such as the future or the past, things that may happen in the future that we are worried about, or things that happened in the past that we believe may affect our future. What ever the reason for the anxiety is, our minds are not at ease. We are stressed out, pressured, and are just lacking a sense of inner calmness.
Though most people may live with anxiety, they may not always fully understand what that anxiety is, or where it is originating from. Journaling can help figure this out.
Journaling causes us to slow down in order to write down our thoughts. This slowed down pace causes us to thoroughly process and understand our thoughts much better than if we were to just think them as we do on a daily basis.
By journaling, you can get to the bottom of the fears and the reasons you are actually feeling your anxiety. This is because you will be spending more time on each thought, understanding it better, and processing it in a way that you can then realize things you have not been able to realize about them before.
Many times, when people journal about their anxieties, they get a surprising sense of realization, they realize what it is that is causing them the anxiety they are facing. By realizing it, they are also able to deal with it better, to find the source of the issue and to treat it. In many cases, people feel an instant relief from their anxiety and stress, they understand that what they are feeling, or the reason they are feeling it, are not actually important, or that the thing they fear actually is not real or cannot hurt them as they thought They realize that their fear, the source of their anxiety and stress, is not something that should actually cause them this anxiety and stress. But, without identifying it, it is very difficult to let it go. Once you identify it, it is much easier to let it go and to treat it.
Meditation doesn't necessarily require you to be emotionless. It also doesn't require you to be thoughtless. Meditation doesn't really require you to be anything.
You are who you are, and if in the moment that you are meditating you are full of thoughts or emotions, then that is who you are, and there is no requirement to stop being yourself in order to meditate.
On the contrary, actually, meditation itself can help reduce those thoughts and emotions. This is one of the main reasons people start a meditation practice in the first place, to be able to better control their minds and to handle these situations where they are full of thoughts and emotions, especially when they leave them incapable of making decisions or going on with their day in a good and positive way.
If you are meditating and expecting the practice to reduce your emotions, and it is not happening, this could end up making you more stressed than you may have been in the beginning. This is why meditation shouldn't be done with solid expectations of a given outcome.
You may begin meditating expecting to be enlightened after just one session. This probably won't happen, but what may happen is that you will believe that meditation doesn't work and is not for you, and you may just give up on the whole practice completely.
It's strongly recommended to not have these kinds of expectations when starting to meditate. Instead, just meditate. Let things happen in their own time, and as you keep a constant practice, you may start to notice the effects it has on you.
As all good things, meditation takes time and patience.
Focusing on the future too much can be the cause of a lot of stress and anxiety, especially if these thoughts cause you to worry or be fearful.
Focusing on the future isn't necessarily bad. Making goals, plans, and even wondering about it is all a part of our lives. It gets bad when they stop being simple thoughts and wonders, and turns into negative thoughts and emotions, such as fear and anxiety.
What the future holds we do not know. Worrying about it is something most people do to a certain degree, but allowing it to change our lives, or even control it, is what can lead us down a bad path full of stress, anxiety, and a lot of negativity.
This is why one of the main pillars of mindfulness is to focus on the present and not the past or the future.
The past is the past, there is nothing we can do about what already happened. The future is untold, and we do not know what it holds. The present is where we are, it's where we can make a difference and where we have control.
Focusing on the present allows us to not give in to the stress of what the future may hold, and to not be upset of what was in the past.
It's hard to actually say which meditation is right for you without really knowing you, as meditation is a very personal practice that is different for everyone. So, the meditation practice that is right for me may not be right for you.
With that said, of course, there are quite a few meditation practices to chose from, some very different from others. The best advice that can be given is to just experiment. Find what works for you.
Take some time to think about the reasons you want to start a meditation practice, do some research, and just start practicing. Short 5-minute meditation sessions in the beginning is a great way to start and to get used to the whole practice of meditation, and from there you can build up your time and meditate for longer.
Even if you are not exactly sure which type of meditation is right for you, you can still start meditation by finding a short guided meditation. Guided meditations are a great way to get into the whole world of meditation, as it helps make the practice more bearable and simpler in the beginning, since most beginners aren't used to meditating.
You can find a tremendous amount of guided meditations online, either on YouTube, or on mobile apps, the internet is full of them, so it really is easy and simple to get started.
Breathing in meditation plays a very meaningful role. Firstly, you are almost always doing it, it's something that you can do anywhere, and with enough practice, you can focus on it anywhere and in any situation and use it to help center yourself and focus your mind, which makes following your breath one of the most useful and efficient techniques when it comes to meditation, mindfulness, and reducing stress and anxiety.
Most guided meditations will instruct you to follow your breath, it's simply because it's a constant element in the practice, you are always breathing, which gives you a consistent focusing point, which is one of the core elements of meditation. Focusing your mind on something allows you to ease it and reduce the stream of thoughts that goes on inside it, which helps bring you closer to a tranquil state, reducing stress, anxiety, and other negative thoughts and feelings.