What Does it Mean When Your Mind Wanders During Meditation?

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Do you have trouble concentrating during mediation? Many people face this issue, especially people who are new to meditation.

It can be hard to quiet your mind and really let go of all of the thoughts that you have. Even when we can concentrate for a little while, we often quickly have those pesky wandering thoughts that creep back in.

If you’re experience those wandering thoughts, you’re not alone. Most people probably experience this or have at some point during their meditation journey. It is important to remember that it is okay to have wandering thoughts; it is a completely normal thing. And it’s not your fault if you can’t seem to control them. You shouldn’t beat yourself up if you have a hard time focusing your mind during meditation.

When your mind wanders during meditation it can mean a few different things. But it doesn’t mean that:

  1. You’re doing it wrong
  2. You aren’t getting any benefits

Many people seem to think that if they can’t focus their mind they’re doing meditation wrong. Even though there are different methods of practicing meditation, it is pretty much accepted in all of them that your mind will wander. And that’s okay. It is a constant practice to try to bring your mind back to the present moment and focus.

Also, people assume that if their mind is wandering they aren’t really getting anything out of their meditation. But I don’t think this is true. Even if you find your mind wandering constantly, you are still practicing being aware, taking a break and getting centered. There are still benefits to be gained from meditation even when your mind wanders.

So what does it mean when your mind is wandering off during meditation. Here are a few possibilities:

  1. You Have Lot on Your Mind

If you feel like your mind is wandering more than usual, chances are you have  a lot that is going on in your mind. Maybe you have a very busy day at work or you are going through a tough situation with a loved one. Whatever it may be, the more that you have on your mind the easier it will be for your mind to wander.

There will be times that you have more on your mind than others, and you may tend to wander off more. And that is totally normal. You don’t have to feel bad about your mind wandering all the time. Be aware of when your mind starts to wander and gently bring your awareness back to your meditation. This is an ongoing practice of being aware and readjusting your focus.

  1. Give Yourself Room to Process 

A great thing that I love about meditation is that it allows you to give yourself space. You allow your mind to take a break from the daily stress you put it through. Taking that space can help you to process your thoughts and emotions and get a better mental awareness.

One study found that nondirective meditation, or meditation where the brain is just allowed to flow without being told to focus on something, actually helped people process memories and emotions better.

By practicing meditation, you can give your brain time to process what you are feeling or dealing with in your life. Even if your mind is wandering, you can still get more clarity on those feelings and better understand your inner world.

  1.  You May Need More Practice

If you find your mind always wanders when you are meditating, it could be a good sign that you need to practice more. And that is not a bad thing. The more effort and practice you put into your meditation, the more you will get out of it.

Practicing your meditation daily can help you reduce how often your mind wanders. The more you do it, the better at it you will become. It does not mean that you are not good at meditating; it simply means that you have room to grow and improve your practice.

  1. You Can Only Concentrate for so Long

We all have a limit to how much we can concentrate. Even when you are at work, there is probably only so long that you can work on a task and stay focused before you need to take a break. It is normal not to be able to fully concentrate for long periods of time.

Your brain is like any other organ; it can get tired after a while. So when you can’t focus your mind and it keeps wandering during your meditation, it may be a sign that you have reached the limit of your concentration. And that is not a bad sign. It is simply an indicator of where your concentration ends. Gently bringing your focus back to the present will help you to build up your mental strength and you will be able to concentrate for longer periods of time.


A wandering mind during meditation is not necessarily a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t receiving benefits from your meditation practice. It is a factor that many people face on their meditation journey. Remind yourself that it is okay for your mind to wander and try to gently bring your awareness back to the present moment. The more you do this the better at it you will become and you will find your thoughts wandering less and less.

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Melanie Kernodle is a freelance blogger and writer. After a few lackluster years in the corporate world, she recently ditched her “normal” job to pursue her entrepreneurial passions, travel the world and share her insights with her readers.