4 Things to Do When Your Client Finds Meditation Really Hard | By Ruby McGuire

I remember when I was first told about meditation:

"You just sit there for 10 minutes, let your thoughts come up and not get attached to them".

10 minutes? Are you kidding me? What was I supposed to actually 'do' for 10 minutes?

"Try listening to a guided meditation if you find it hard for your mind to be quiet", they said.

Quiet mind? Have you been inside my head? Instead I said, "Okay, I'll listen to a guided meditation, I'll give it a go." After all I did want to switch my mind off - it might be good!

Only I found that I'd get to the end of the audio and hadn't heard a thing they'd said because I was too busy working through my to-do list. I kept thinking that I 'should' be meditating, not listening to my thoughts. And all of this stuff in my head meant that I forgot to actually listen! I'd get to the end and think what a waste of time - I'm rubbish at this meditation game.

Yes, I knew the power of meditation, I'd read all about it. Stress relief, a calmer mind, relaxation, healthier body. But if your clients are 'doers' like me, just sitting still and 'being' can feel like pressure, rather than something that's going to bring about calm. So what to do?

1. Don't assume people know how to meditate - or will understand what you mean!

I come across this all the time. We assume everyone knows what we mean when we say things like, "Just sit with your feelings", "You need to just let go" or "Don't get attached to your thoughts". All of these things are great if someone actually understands.

So, let your clients know the basics:

  • Tell them their mind might go whirring off all over the place - and that's okay.
  • Explain that the goal of meditation isn't to stop your mind, but instead to notice their mind has wandered off, then simply come back to noticing their breath (this will help them stay in the moment, especially in the early days).
  • Let them know that as they sit still, which might be something they don’t do very often, they may start to notice feelings. Explain that they can just notice they're feeling sad, depressed, angry etc. and that it's okay to feel all of those emotions.
  • Share that meditation is about noticing your thoughts and feelings without judging themselves.

2. Also teach them to be mindful in the moment

I used to say, "I don't have time". And they'd say, "You have to make time". What-ever!

Your client might genuinely think they don't have time. With their brains in overload and a million and one things going on, they might find sitting still for 10 minutes too big a step.

So, help them to be mindful instead. Help them to engage all of their senses - what can they see, hear, feel, smell, taste? Get them to start by noticing the little things like:

  • The sensation of water on their hands as they wash them, or as they wash the dishes.
  • The smell on their skin as they put on perfume/after-shave.
  • The feel of the clothes on their body, or of sunshine on the skin.
  • They could simply notice a few things about a room when they walk into it.

Little moments of mindfulness like these will help them become more present to this moment. The more they practice simple acts of mindfulness the easier they will find it, and that might lead onto them wanting to learn more about meditation...

3. Help them to start (really) small

The place of zen sounds amazing, but the practice of working towards it can stress out some clients, rather than make them feel calmer. So help them start small.

10 minutes might seem like nothing to a meditation pro, but to a newbie it can seem like an eternity - like it's never going to end.

Tell them to start to sit still for just 30 seconds, and to allow whatever comes up in their head to come up. As they start to master 30 seconds they can go onto 45 seconds, a minute, two, five, ten. Little baby steps.

Over time their monkey mind will calm down and they'll start to recognise how much better they feel when they practice meditation regularly.

And they don't have to sit cross-legged in the lotus position, although that does have its place. There are other ways they can practice meditation - like in a chair, or with their legs out in front of them. It's good to be in an alert, but comfortable posture. Lotus position can come later!

4. Help them celebrate what they have done, rather than what they haven't

Remind them to acknowledge what they have achieved. Whether it's 30 seconds or 30 minutes, each time they spend being mindful and/or meditating is another step closer to having a calmer mind, and that needs celebrating.

I remember last year setting myself a goal of doing meditation every day for a year. The reality was I got to about 4 days and then felt so resistant that I gave up altogether. This year I decided to be much less structured about it. It's on my list of things to do, and something I usually start my day with. However, meditation for me can also mean mindfully smelling the coffee beans as I put them into the coffee machine, or listening to a guided meditation.

Hey, I'm even venturing into meditations that aren't guided now. 10 minutes of nobody telling me what to do, think, feel or tune into. Let's see how that one works out!


So if you're helping a newbie to meditate and/or be mindful, remember this:

  1. Don't assume people know how (or that they'll understand what you mean!)
  2. Teach them to be mindful in the moment (eg. using their 5 senses as an easier first step for them)
  3. Let them start (really) small
  4. Celebrate what they have done rather than what they haven't

Meditation is not some elusive thing that only super spiritual people can do, although it can seem like that sometimes! As we all know, there are many guided meditations, books, articles, apps and audios out there that can help your clients become more mindful. The key thing for your clients to understand is that it's a skill, it takes practice.

There's this expectation that meditation will calm your mind instantly and it will be easy. This can lead to disappointment,  clients berating themselves because they don't find it as easy as other people seem to. So there must be something wrong with them. Why is it so difficult for me to sit still for so long and do nothing?

But over time, they'll find it easier. Eventually they won't need to be guided into meditation. And while it may not seem possible right now, they might even end up being able to sit still for 10 minutes without sitting on their hands to stop fidgeting!

If you liked this article from Ruby on meditation for beginners you may also like:

Contributing Author:

Ruby McGuire is a Business & Mindset Queen. She's an Accredited Master Coach & Master Mentor with the IAPC&M, Trainer, Inspirational Speaker and Author of multiple books. She loves helping her clients step up and become leaders (aka Queens) of their businesses. She helps her clients develop their leadership and business skills, create a success mindset and attract dreamy clients. She is a Brit on a mission to live a simpler life without marketing on social media so that she can spend more time in her beautiful Scottish surroundings. You can find her at her pretty online home, over on her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz, and here where she shares her Mini Guide to Marketing Without Social Media. When she’s not working you’ll find her surrounded by books, making hand-made cards, and enjoying life with her hubby, little dog and chickens (usually with a Whittard Vanilla cappuccino in her hand)!

Learn more about Ruby & see all their articles here >>


  1. Eileen Burns

    Great Blog Ruby

    And I think there are so many myths around meditation. Two of the biggest at the moment are around guided meditations and mindfulness ( MBSR type of mindfulness). I began studying meditation 25 years ago and have taught many different styles of meditation for over 17 years. There are many ways to meditate, some easier, some better and some more faster than others


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