Can’t Meditate? Here’s Why

Turning off your brain may be easier than you think.

By: Lexy Parsons

The million-dollar question — Why does meditation feel so difficult? If you feel intimidated by this mind-body practice, you’re definitely not alone. Though the benefits of meditation are well known, so many struggle to get started with a meditation practice. The good news? We’re breaking down all the limiting factors and providing you with easy-to-implement tips. If you really want to meditate, but you just “can’t”, we’re here to help!

While there are many reasons why meditation is difficult, finding uninterrupted time to clear your schedule and quiet your mind appears to be the biggest roadblock. According to research, finding even 15 minutes of focused time without communication is difficult. And for those who do have (some) time, it appears to be no more than one hour of combined free time per day.

But, more good news! Getting started with meditation can be as simple as dedicating five minutes to your practice. That’s right — research suggests even five minutes of meditation can reduce stress and promote well-being! Not so intimidating, after all! 

While there are many reasons why meditation is difficult, we’re giving you all the tools to help turn off your brain and get started with meditation — even if you think you can’t.

RELATED: A Meditation For Whatever You’re Feeling Right Now

5 Reasons You Can’t Meditate 

#1 You Have Too Much on Your Mind 

If you have too much on your mind, don’t let this be a reason why you can’t meditate. In fact, this could be an indication you need to meditate all the more! Whether you’re brand new to meditation or a seasoned practitioner, thoughts will undoubtedly arise. The more you show up to your meditation practice, the more you will learn to let those thoughts come and then let them go. 

Try this Unclutter the Mind meditation with Vytas to eliminate any chatter.

#2 You’re Worried You’re Not Doing it “Right” 

Wondering why you can’t meditate “correctly” is more common than you may think, especially if you’re new to meditation. Am I breathing correctly? Why aren’t my thoughts going away? How long am I supposed to sit here? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. But, despite what you may think, there’s no “right” way to meditate! 

Try to let go of any expectations of what you “think” your practice should look like. It’s not easy, but with time, you’ll get there! Truthfully, the most important part is simply showing up. If thoughts arise, simply return to your breath and focus.

Try this Box Breathing Meditation to ease your way into practice. DeAndre Sinette will guide you through step-by-step!

#3 You Aren’t in a Comfortable Place 

If you’re wondering why meditation is difficult, you may be uncomfortable. While you don’t need a fancy meditation cushion or an entire room dedicated to your meditation practice (but if you have either, great!), it’s important to find a space and a position where you can relax. 

Find a quiet space to practice, and then focus on your seat. Try sitting in an upright position with your legs crossed, shoulders relaxed, and arms resting on your legs. If this isn’t comfortable for you, try laying flat on your back with your eyes closed and head supported!

If you’re in the midst of building your meditation space, here are some of our favorite meditation essentials!

  • Meditation cushion (that you can take anywhere for quick comfort)
  • Essential oils diffuser with a calming scent like lavender essential oil 
  • Blank journal (for brain-dumping any thoughts that come up!)
  • Gratitude Journal (for affirmations and intention setting)
  • Crystals or a salt lamp to bring cleansing energy into your space

#4 You Get Impatient When a Million Thoughts Pop up While You Meditate

Does the mere thought of sitting still with your thoughts stress you out? You may justify your impatience as a reason why you can’t meditate, but try showing up anyway. You may even feel frustrated, annoyed, or angry — but these are all normal emotions! Plus, ignoring these feelings won’t make them go away. 

Rather than letting these emotions fester (and possibly even explode at a later time), try to make space and honor whatever you’re feeling in the moment. Instead of judging your thoughts, focus on coming back to your breath.  

If this sounds like you, this Present Moment Awareness Meditation with Rachel Ruth might be exactly what you need.

#5 You’re Putting Too Much Pressure on Feeling a Certain Way During Meditation 

A common reason for getting started with meditation is to relieve stress and anxiety or quiet the mind. But, be aware — you may not experience these stress-relieving benefits during every meditation! Putting too much pressure on feeling a certain way can leave you feeling disappointed, especially at first while you’re still finding your meditation rhythm. 

This can be a reason why meditation is difficult, but know your meditation practice is a journey, not a quick fix. Rather than trying to control your practice and emotions, you may find showing up with zero expectations gives you more room to grow and experience change!  

But, sometimes we just want something to relieve tension and help us feel good in the moment. Try this 10 Breaths to Manage Stress Meditation with DeAndre Sinette. Even if you’re new to meditation, we guarantee you’ll feel better than ever after a short 6 minutes!

How to Turn Your Brain Off So You Can Actually Meditate 

Write Down Your Worries

Write down your to-do list or any worries before you start your practice. This could be a brain dump, a structured to-do list, or even a full journal entry. The goal here is to clear your head before going into your meditation. Find what works best for you!

Drink a Calming Beverage 

Drink a warm beverage like a turmeric latte before you meditate to help promote a sense of calm and ease your mind. Chamomile and lemon balm tea are some other relaxing beverage options!

Try Yoga First 

Try a relaxing FitOn yoga flow to help quiet your thoughts and prime your mind to relax. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long yoga practice. A quick 10-minute flow may do just the trick! 

Eliminate Distractions 

Find a comfortable place with little distractions. If you can’t avoid noise, investing in noise-canceling headphones or playing calming music can help quiet outside distractions and make you more comfortable. Then, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your diffuser to promote a feeling of calm.

Disconnect to Reconnect 

Turn off your TV, put your laptop away, and avoid scrolling through social media. Removing distractions may help you reconnect with your thoughts.

Try Meditating in the Morning 

Try meditating first thing in the morning before you’ve started your to-do list or before bed once you’ve ended your day. This can help eliminate a racing mind.

Start Small 

Commit to just five minutes of meditation (whether it’s first thing in the morning, in between a meeting, or before you hit the hay) and work your way up! You can do anything for five minutes — we believe in you!

Try Practicing Breathwork

It sounds so simple, right? But, it’s true — tuning into your breath could be the missing link between you and a wonderful meditation practice! According to research in the Journal of Neurophysiology, tuning into our breath can regulate our nervous system, reduce stress, and focus our attention. Here are three simple breathing techniques to try!

Diffuse Soothing Essential Oils 

Essential oils like lavender can help you drift into that state of calm by quieting your mind. Try diffusing some lavender before getting started with your meditation practice. 

Take 5 Minutes To Quiet Your Mind 

If you’re ready to get started with your meditation practice, try our meditation hacks to quiet your mind. 

When you sign up for FitOn, you’ll gain access to a library full of meditations — everything ranging from sleep to stress and more! Browse the meditation category in the app to bring a bit more zen into your day.