How to Practice Focused Meditation Whenever You Want

Do you ever feel stressed for most of the day? Maybe you’re always carrying a weight that you can’t seem to get rid of? Meditation with a clear focus could be the answer. 

In this article, I’ll go over what focused meditation is, how it differs from other types of meditation, and how to put it into practice right now. Similarly, I’ll discuss how a focused meditation practice can improve your overall health. 

What Is Focused Meditation?

Meditation is the practice of connecting the mind, body, and spirit by being self-aware through breath and focus. [1] Concentrative meditation, also known as focused meditation, is the process of meditating while focusing your attention on a single object.

A mandala drawing or a candle flame are examples of practical and tactile objects. It can also be something abstract, like a word (sometimes called a mantra) or a sound (such as Om). [2] [3]

Whatever you focus your attention on becomes the meditation’s focal point. None of these object examples are superior to the others; they are merely options based on your goals for your practice.

Candle gazing, for example, is used to interpret the images created by the flame in the shadows, while mantras are used by practitioners who feel empowered or healed by a certain phrase or word.

Related: What Is Mental Energy And How Do I Keep It Up?

How Does It Differ From Other Meditation Styles?

All types of meditation and practises overlap and build on one another. Their underlying premise is the same: to provide insight and introspection to the practitioner.

Focused meditation, on the other hand, is the practice of concentrating on a single thing for the duration of the meditation. This differs from other meditation techniques in that it provides the practitioner with a specific task to complete: concentrate.

It’s almost as if you’re telling your mind to do something—listen to this sound, repeat these words, watch this flame, and so on. This is also one of the reasons why this type of meditation is so beneficial to beginners!

One of the most difficult aspects of any meditation practice is that the mind wanders and we become lost in random ideas. This “barrier” is actually Vipassana meditation, which is a type of meditation in and of itself. [4]

In focused meditation, on the other hand, we give the mind something to do so that it is not left to its own devices. Beginners and practitioners who want some structure and instruction in their meditations will benefit from this form of meditation.

Related: Stress Management Techniques for a Stress-Free Life

The Benefits of Focused Meditation

What you’re truly doing in this type of meditation is exercising your mental muscles. Devoted and concentrated meditation practice has a significant impact on your brain.

Scientists have conducted numerous studies on focused meditation and discovered that active meditators have increased grey matter volume in their brains, which helps to counterbalance cognitive decline as they age.

As a result, practicing focused meditation not only helps you learn to focus better on certain tasks but also enhances related functions like memory. [5]

It also aids in the reduction of symptoms of despair and anxiety, which are currently crippling our society. [6]

By focusing your attention on an item, you are essentially honing your ability to objectively observe your thoughts and sensations. This allows you to separate yourself from negative self-talk, which is a common source of sadness and other mental diseases.

How to Practice Focused Meditation

Here are six tips to help you practice focused meditation. Based on your availability and interest, these tips may change and evolve. That’s the point: to create a structured practice that caters to your needs.

1. Find a Comfortable Seat

Comfort is essential in any meditation practice. The physical body reacts to meditation practice by signaling whether it is relaxed and supportive or strained and in pain.

This is most noticeable in meditators who slouch and lose the tall, supported spine that is necessary for effective meditation.

In meditation sitting, a simple rule to follow is to make sure your hips are higher than your knees. As a result, sitting in a chair rather than on the floor, or propping yourself up on a cushion, maybe a wise decision.

It doesn’t matter how you sit at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what you’re sitting on as long as you’re supported and comfortable.

Related: Cognitive Skills That Will Help You Learn Faster

2. Choose Your Object of Focus

Every meditation session will be unique because no one’s day is the same. As a result, selecting an item is more about listening to what you need right now rather than following any doctrine or “law.”

If you’re undecided, make your breath the target of your attention and follow it in on the inhale and out on the exhale. Then, assign a number to each inhale and exhale, and repeat until you reach ten.

Giving your mind a task is one of the simplest ways of keeping it occupied. This also teaches your mind to focus on an object without exerting too much effort with time and with repetition.

3. Set Your Desired Time or “Go With the Flow”

Set a modest timer for how long you’d like to meditate if you have a scheduled practice and want to stick to it. This is also your chance to dispel the myth that any meditation must last a specific amount of time to be effective—it does not. 

Similarly, if you have the time, you can listen to your body and exit your meditation when it feels appropriate. Listening and tuning in is frequently a beautiful activity. 

4. Relax Your Body as You Focus on Your Meditation

Typically, when we are focusing on something, we tend to tighten our bodies. Observe this next time that you’re concentrating on something: your jaw will tighten and your shoulders will squeeze up towards your ears.

As you sink into your meditation, keep this in mind and check in with your body every once in a while. Let your shoulders sink down your back and release any tension through your jaw and face.

Lastly, relax your brow and let your eyes be heavy in their sockets. Then, return to your object of meditation. Observe if your meditation changes at all by relaxing your physical body.

Related: Reasons to Try Yoga Right Now

5. Return to Your Breath and Object When You Get Distracted

It’s worth noting that I didn’t mention “if you become distracted.” That’s because you’ll inevitably become distracted by unrelated thoughts or be drawn away from your primary focus.

Distractions are almost unavoidable in meditation. As a result, this is your chance to try separating yourself from feelings of shame or inadequacy in order to proceed.

With experience and time, staying focused on your object of focus will become simpler. Meanwhile, pay attention when you become distracted. Take a deep breath in and out and pause. Relax and check in with your physical body.

Return your attention to your object of focus once you’ve regained your composure. Meditation is nothing more than a continuous cycle of straying and returning to yourself.

6. Journal Your Experiences

After you’ve finished your meditation session, take some time to write down any thoughts or feelings you had. During your session, you may have gained certain insights and “downloads” that you’d like to record.

Similarly, you may write about any difficulties you had. These are excellent lessons that will continue to present themselves to you, and it’s a good idea to keep track of them in a notebook to watch how they change and grow over time (and they will).

Finally, you can write on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to choosing your meditation objects. This way, you’ll be able to figure out what you most associate with and are most at ease with.

Related: What Does Self-Awareness Mean? (And How to Increase Yours)

Final Thoughts

If you find that meditation makes you feel unsupported and preoccupied, try concentrated meditation! It frames your meditation time and provides guidance and support with the help of an object to focus on. 
Practicing this type of meditation regularly will help you improve your memory, reduce tension and anxiety, and improve your cognitive performance.

Although every type of meditation is beneficial to your mental health, concentrated meditation provides your mind with a specific goal to grow and strengthen.

Reference:

  1. VeryWellMind: What is Meditation?

2. Yoga Journal: The Science Behind Finding Your Mantra and How to Practice It Daily

3. mindbodygreen: OM: What Is It & Why Do We Chant It?

4. Lion’s Roar: What Is Vipassana Meditation and How Do You Practice It?

5. Mindworks: How does Meditation Improve Memory and Focus?

6. Forbes: 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain

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