Struggle with following my breath during meditation...

Hallcj
Member

I've been meditating pretty consistently for several months now.  But I have a really hard time focusing on my breath without my mind drifting off.  I seem to do better if I can focus on a sound (ticking clock, metronome), maybe because these are a bit faster than my breath.  Does anyone else struggle with this or should I just stop trying and focus on sound instead?

4 REPLIES 4

asparling1986
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @Hallcj - I too have the same problem. One thing that works wonders for me been counting to 100. Sounds boring but it helps calm the mind. 

Valerie_C
Guide
Guide
Yes! I like to think of meditating and the mind like a puppy that is young and still needs to be trained. Sometime the puppy will chase its tail like our mind spins around and around. And other times when you are walking the puppy it’s darting from sniffing the tree to chasing a butterfly to barking at the dog across the street. With time as the puppy and our brains get more practice and mature it may not feel like much of a struggle because we’ll be able to focus our attention more on the breath. Hang in there! This is totally normal the attention muscle of your brain will get stronger with more practice. There is a book about attention and meditation called Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day by Amishi P. Jha. Highly recommend it or search her name on a podcast app as she has some great interviews out about this topic.

LilyHarrison
Member
Hi there! I have meditated daily for almost 3 years. And my brain still does this. As far as I know this is normal. I just try and notice the thinking or feeling and note it as “thinking” or “feeling” and gently recenter myself to my breath. Some folks also like to keep a hand on their belly or chest, so you can feel the movement of air filling and and leaving your lungs. {currently, I’ve been using the Headspace app for a long time, and really like it. It’s a subscription service, maybe $10US a month, and has been a worthwhile investment} Best of luck ❤️ thanks for asking this, awesome question.

Leada_M
Guide
Guide

GREAT question @Hallcj. Coordinating our breath with numbers can be hard! It's actually quite interesting - I've found it may help to try different inputs. Auditory, visual, kinesthetic. These are all things we use in teaching movement and exercise in physical therapy to help build awareness. Here are some tips I use to help with pain-relief breathwork:

 

You can actually set a metronome at a slower pace if the auditory cue works well for you! I would also recommend trying a visual cue. Heres a visual from youtube that is a decent speed, although you can browse a bit more. The average breaths per minute for someone is 12-16 if that helps!

 

The last type of cue, kinesthetic, would be to place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Try to focus on the belly rising a bit more than your chest with the inhale (with the intent of the chest not moving as much). The other option I would suggest is placing both hands on either side of your ribs and filling the lower lungs with air as you feel the ribs expand. Let me know if you have questions!