The benefits of meditation can’t be overstated. Improved mental state, peace of mind and increased resilience to hardship and even spiritual enlightenment – these are all results that can be obtained through meditation.
But meditation can definitely get boring, especially for those of us who don’t have the privilege of cultivate the tranquil mindset 24/7. Every time you sit on the mat and try not to think a whirlwind of thoughts comes to attack you. Instead of enjoying blissfulness you’re left fighting with your mind and body, which can be both tiresome and boring.
Even staying in the state of mindfulness can get boring quickly because even when we achieve this state during meditation we are still not relaxed enough to sink into it completely. After all, there is much work to attend to shortly after the session.
I’ve had this problem for years and still experience it to some degree. But I’ve figured out 8 simple ways to make meditation more fun and relieve boredom instantly:
1. Alternate between sitting and walking meditation
The main reason why meditation can be boring is because you’re feeling restless. Your brain is hyperactive because you’re used to doing things quickly. This has been the main problem for practitioners since time immemorial and with our multitasking culture it’s only getting worse.
Instead of fighting your restless brain, indulge it by performing walking meditation. Simply pick a nice walking route and focus on your steps, breathing, shape and color of objects or the distance between yourself and other objects as you’re walking. Performing a physical activity such as walking will relieve boredom because it will occupy a part of your mind on something else.
Don’t worry, you’ll still get the benefits. Buddhist monks perform walking meditations on a regular basis. To learn more about it, check out my full walking meditation guide.
2. Perform pranayama breathing beforehand
Pranayama exercises are part of the yogic tradition. They involve different forms of breathing. They can place you in a very peaceful or energetic state of mind, improve digestion and have many other effects.
The Wim Hof Method is essentially a pranayama breathing method called “fire breath”. And Wim Hof has broken many Guinness World Records by using this type of breathing to become super-resistant to cold temperatures.
So there are many different effects that can be achieved through pranayama. For preventing boredom, perform one of these pranayama techniques on an empty stomach and right before meditating:
Wim Hof’s breathing technique:
Both of these will both calm you mentally and energize you physically. It’s hard to describe the feeling in any other terms so I suggest you try them out for yourself.
3. Use guided meditation apps
Guided meditation can be great for preventing meditation boredom because there’s constantly something new happening. Someone is giving you instructions and all you have to do is follow them till the end.
It’s comforting to have a teacher or a guru on the other side of the headphones instead of being all alone in your mind. That’s the greatest fear that meditation produces – a feeling of loneliness, because the ego is silenced for a while.
The Mindfulness App has a great five-day guided practice and is my personal favorite. It’s available for iPhone and Android. Alternatively, there are plenty of guided meditation videos on Youtube that are pretty top notch.
4. Alternate between concentration and mindfulness
There are two main ways to meditate:
- CONCENTRATION: concentrating on an object, mantra, chant, visualization, breathing etc.
- MINDFULNESS: simply acknowledging thoughts as they enter your mind and then letting them go
Both methods are great, but they can get boring if you’re stuck with only doing one of them. I like to mix it up during my sessions. If I feel that concentration is becoming too boring (I typically focus on a dot on the wall), I close my eyes and perform mindfulness for 5-10 minutes.
Then I go back to concentration for another 5-10 minutes. This way you can prolong your sessions without getting bored by doing the same thing for too long.
And just as a side note, you should definitely do both types of meditation to get all-around benefits. Mindfulness will relieve anxiety and other mood swings, concentration will.. improve your concentration, memory retention etc. Both are very valuable and shouldn’t be neglected.
5. Reduce multitasking to optimize your brainpower
Multitasking will turn your brain into a hyperactive mess. Keeping dozens of tabs open while surfing the web is a prime example of that. If you’re constantly multitasking meditation will be boring because it’s too slow for you. You have to slow down during the rest of the day otherwise your practice will suffer.
Keep in mind that multitasking usually doesn’t lead to more productiveness. It takes away from the big task and serves as the perfect vehicle for self-deceptive procrastination. I don’t blame you, we’ve all been there, but it’s an important topic and plays straight into the problem of meditation boredom.
6. Try different meditation postures
Boredom can also be a sign of physical discomfort. Perhaps your sitting position doesn’t suite you. If your knees and lower back are under too much stress sitting in the lotus position, try sitting on a chair instead. Or sit on a meditation pillow.
Perhaps using a meditation chair would be beneficial for you as well, because you’ll have a back-rest but it’s closer to the ground and more comfortable than a regular chair.
Hand position is also important. Are you keeping your hands too far away to the front and away from your torso? This can cause tension in the shoulders and back muscles. If you keep them too close to your body they can prevent deep breathing and lead to restlessness.
Check out this video to learn 5 meditation postures and then alternate between them when you start to feel bored or feel discomfort:
7. Join a meditation class
Some people excel in community settings rather than practicing alone. Monasteries exist for a good reason – if all those meditating monks were surrounded by people who aren’t interested in prayer or meditation they would definitely not be advanced in these practices as they are.
The benefits of being with like-minded people are too many to count. But one of them is definitely increased motivation. Perhaps you give up to soon when you meditate alone because no one is watching. But in a group setting it’s more difficult to give up. Furthermore, the competitive angle is fun, and so is meeting and conversing with people who are trying to accomplish the same goals as you.
See if there are meditation classes in your local community if this idea has sparked your interest. There are probably some classes available in your local wellness centers, along with yoga classes which can also be of excellent use for improving your meditation sessions through enhanced flexibility.
8. Use binaural beats and isochronic tones
These sound waves replicate various brain wave states. For example, the “alpha” binaural beats improve concentration, while theta waves improve peacefulness of mind and can improve sleep as well.
Alpha waves are great for reading and studying while theta waves are the ones typically used for meditation and relaxation.
Using these sounds can get you to the pleasant state of blissfulness during meditation faster. By doing so you can get to the goal of the session sooner and bypass the stages when you’d usually get bored.
Try out these pure theta binaural beats on your next session (make sure to use headphones):
FInal Word: How to Meditate Without Getting Bored
Boredom is the reason many people quit practicing meditation or never start in the first place. It’s true, meditation can be really painful for a hyperstimulated brain. It’s like trying to stop a speeding car while it’s going in full speed. Not that dramatic, but you get the point.
This is why you should definitely try out these methods to make your practice more fun and engaging. These 8 tips have helped me at various points during the years when I wanted to perform longer meditations or didn’t feel like doing any at all. Hope this helps!