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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

10 Science-Backed Benefits of Meditation

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Cory Muscara



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Why Can’t I Focus?

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, welcome back to

your Daily Mindfulness.

In today's session, we're going to talk

about why you may not be able to focus.

A lot of people come to a

meditation practice because they're

trying to improve their focus.

Maybe you've received a

diagnosis of ADD, ADHD.

I got that when I was younger.

And we see this as a practice,

actually train our attention to,

to focus more one pointed and in

a way that we can bring that into

our conversations and in our life.

And it's true.

Meditation practice

can develop that focus.

We see this through the

research consistently.

However, sometimes the reason we're

not able to focus isn't just because

we haven't trained our mind well,

but instead, because we're navigating

a lot of stuff beneath the surface.

Maybe we're going through

something difficult that is putting

our nervous system in a fight

flight freeze or fawn response.

This could be an isolated trauma or even

just the ecosystem that we're in that

is perpetuating a sense of needing to

be in survival mode or protective mode.

When you're in that state, the

last thing your mind is interested

in is focusing on your breath or

doing something like a body scan.

It wants its awareness to be

expansive to all the things around

you so that it can be assessing

what the next threat is and have it

scarred up in relationship to that.

Can you imagine how it would be

very difficult to focus on one

thing when you're in that state?

And yet many of us live

our lives in that state.

And it's one of the, one of the things

that I can sometimes get frustrated

with in relationship to teaching

meditation, where it's not necessarily

that a person just needs to, okay,

get better at focusing on the breath.

There's a more holistic

approach that can be needed.

Looking at your environment,

looking at the things that you're

going through, maybe changing a

toxic relationship that you're in.

All of those things are important

and sometimes get excluded from the

narrative of personal growth and

wellbeing through the lens of meditation.

So I want, at the very

least, to acknowledge that.

And if you are going through

something like that, it doesn't

mean that you can't meditate.

What I would suggest, though, is at

the beginning of your practice, just to

acknowledge that you might be experiencing

something difficult and your nervous

system may be in a more reactive state and

it could be hard to focus on the breath.

It doesn't mean you're doing it wrong.

It's just a natural part of the experience

when the nervous system is like that.

So you can do some grounding things.

Remind yourself that in this

moment, explore what are

the ways that you are safe.

You might look at the ceiling above you,

the walls around you, something that you

might hold on to like a rock or even a

teddy bear that's comfortable, something

that's soothing for the nervous system.

And then instead of going directly

into a more concentrated practice,

like the breath, just give

yourself the space to do some deep

breathing, but in a spacious way.


And exhaling.

And allow your body to settle some

of that extra tension that you're

noticing in the nervous system,

give that the space just to soften.

And when you find yourself to start

to recollect into a more centered,

calm state, then you can move toward

more of those one pointed practices,

like focusing on the breath or doing

something in the body, like a body scan.

But first, often, we just need to

give ourselves the space to settle.

Let the nervous system be reminded

that in this moment it's safe.

It doesn't need to be on guard, and

then move into our meditation practice.

This is just a nuance that I think

is important as we're navigating our

meditation practice and is relevant

at different points in our life.

Thank you for your practice.

Let's settle in for today's meditation.

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