3 Tips to Stop Your Thoughts When You Meditate

My clients often ask me, “What’s the one thing that I can do to feel at peace consistently?” My response is almost certain to be to meditate. I could go on and on about the benefits of meditation. My favorite benefit is a lazer sharp, clear mind.

The response I get after suggesting meditation is that they cannot get their mind to sit still. They speak of their mind as if it’s a child that they want to sit in a corner and be quiet while they meditate. Well, you can’t do that. The mind will keep jabbering on. That’s its job. It’s supposed to think. It’s supposed to come up with ideas. Telling your mind to stop is like trying to hold a 2 year old when he’s having a tantrum. It contorts and swerves and wriggles.

The best thing to do to stop your thoughts is to let your mind run its course, but here are 3 tips that can help.

Write Before You Meditate

The writing is not purposeful. It is stream of consciousness writing . The idea is to let your mind ramble on. Follow it down the twists and turns. Empty your thoughts on the sheet of paper. Draw and doodle if you want to. You want to exhaust your mind when you write.

Change Your Objective

Allow stillness to become a by-product of meditation, rather than your ultimate goal. Your goal is to focus. You may not be able to shut your mind off, but you can guide and direct it. That’s why meditations are guided, or they focus on your breath, or some object you conjure. I recommend focusing on your breath. It’s rhythmic, constant, and ever present.

Practice Sitting Still First

Just sitting still is enough of a challenge for some of my clients. In this case, I recommend rigorous exercise before coming to the mat to start your practice. Then, instead of closing your eyes, breathing, and attempting to be still, you just calmly sit still. You leave your eyes open. You let your mind wander. You take in the sights and sounds around you. You allow your mind to be utterly distracted, but you relax and keep your body still.

Meditation is a practice, not an end goal. It has many benefits that can be realized if you are consistent with it. Over time, it will become easier and easier to guide your mind. It will eventually relent and remain calm. However, don’t expect after a few days to instantly become a zen master and be able to stop your thoughts the moment you sit for the first time. Rather than demanding that your mind give you stillness, consider giving your mind the gift of mental space and rest.

What do you do to stop your thoughts when you meditate?

Nneka, Working Mystic
Nneka serves spiritual seekers who desire to put the Law of Attraction to work to create the life of their dreams.

7 Responses to “3 Tips to Stop Your Thoughts When You Meditate

  • “Just sitting still is enough of a challenge….”

    Yes. For me, even the benefits of holding my body still for ten, twenty, or thirty minutes gives me enough to draw on for the rest of the day.

    Great advice, I’ve been encountering a lot of this week.

    • Yes, I read your post on advice. This one was totally unsolicited and unintended. Hmmm, would you call it advice then? πŸ™‚

  • Thank you Nneka. I love your thoughts on this

  • yes indeed

  • Debra
    7 years ago

    Thank you for these excellent tips! I’m one who finds sitting still (without a an activity of some sort) to be challenging. Thanks for reminding me that a sitting practice can be just that until I’m ready for more.

    • Indeed Debra. Step by step, inch by inch. It’s more important to get the time to center and connect than it is to get it right.

      Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚