top of page

5 biggest mistakes when meditating

So often, I hear people say that "meditation doesn't work for me".

And I'll be honest - it didn't do a massive amount for me for about 18 months... It felt nice when I did it (sometimes - not always!) but I certainly wasn't feeling more calm day-to-day, or like I had more time, or that I was more productive...

But you don't have to meditate for that long to see a big difference in your life. In fact most of my clients notice a difference in a matter of weeks, because I coach them in how to meditate.

So I've collated the 5 most common reasons my clients weren't seeing benefits from their meditation practice - and how I support them to change that.


1) You only meditate when stressed.

I liken this to trying to learn tennis by playing against Federer going full pelt. When you're a total beginner.

You'd get annihilated, wouldn't learn a lot and probably wouldn't actually play much tennis.

Meditation is a skill, just like anything else. Expecting it to work when you're reaaaaaaally stressed, without practising the skill when you're calm, is asking a lot of yourself.

Solution: meditate every day, at a time when you feel good, to practise the skill for when you need it.

2) You meditate to feel calm

Now some people can meditate with the intention of becoming calm. I am not one of them. And a decent number of my clients also find this hard, so I think it deserves a place on this list.

When you meditate to feel calm, you are pushing away whatever other feelings you have. This goes totally against the principles of mindfulness, which says we should accept

whatever is happening in any moment, including difficult feelings.

Solution: meditate to bring yourself into the present moment. If you can get yourself into the present moment and sit there without judgement, the calmness will come, ironically. A subtle, but hella important difference.

3) Believing a "good" meditation is one where you clear your mind

Now this is such an important misconception to understand.

For me, the aim of meditation is to practise the skill of being mindful ie. to practise bringing my attention into the present moment, without judgement, on purpose.

So if you have a meditation where every 10 seconds your mind drifts off and you have to pull your attention back to the present moment - that sounds like an excellent training session to me.

Solution: Meditate with the intention of practising being mindful and see what happens.

4) Thinking you need to meditate for 30 minutes at a time

Absolutely not. The vast majority of my meditations are less than 10 minutes.

I've coached clients to change their lives on a few 2minute (well placed) meditations a day.

Solution: pick a length that feels good and feels manageable for you. Bonus points if you do it at a time of day when you feel good (see point 1)

5) Thinking meditation has to be sitting down, eyes closed, watching your breath

If we say that meditation is about practising the skill of being mindful, it opens up a whole range of ways to meditate.

Think about trying to you to get physically fit; you wouldn't only do one exercise, on repeat. You'd get bored if nothing else.

Solution: Try different styles of meditation. My favourite style to recommend is EFT (if you're not sure what EFT is, check out my blog post here), especially if you find if hard to focus your attention in traditional meditations.


However experienced you are in your meditation practice, take a moment to really think about whether you fall into any of these common pitfalls. And if so, make a plan right now to change that.

And if you've found this helpful, get yourself on my mailing list. You'll regularly receive top tips like this and be kept up to date with any new blog posts, so you can keep improving your mindfulness practice, and your life.

Join via the link at the bottom of the page.

Recent Posts

See All

Is this why you don't like meditating?

I was running a workshop at Bristol University recently and after the meditation, someone said this: "I'm really sorry Lucy, but I didn't find that relaxing. I just immediately started thinking about


bottom of page