The Surprising Truth about Unpleasant Experiences During Meditation

The Surprising Truth about Unpleasant Experiences During Meditation

The Surprising Truth

about unpleasant experiences during meditation.

Meditation can be calming, but it can also be disturbing. A recent study confirmed what many practitioners already knew.

Common Mindfulness Questions Answered

Mindfulness A hot topic right now. And for good reason. Mindfulness has a range of benefits. Whether you want to practice mindfulness to help you deal better with stress or to help you live a more positive life, you’re likely to have lots of questions. This article...

“Remember the blue sky. It may at times be obscured by clouds, but it is always there.”

– Andy Puddicombe

Mindfulness creates a wide range of experiences.

More than 25% of adults who meditate regularly reported having an unpleasant experience related to their practice, according to research led by the University College London. Fearfulness and distorted emotions and thoughts were more common among men and participants who used a deconstructive approach.

Before you give up your cushion, it may help to compare meditation to therapy. You often feel worse before you make a breakthrough, but the process is still worthwhile.

To put it another way, you have to tear apart your kitchen to renovate it. In the same way, your mind might seem messier temporarily, but you’re still making progress.

Be prepared for the challenges on the path to mindfulness. Take a look at these common mental and physical obstacles to meditation and what to do about them.

Mental Obstacles to Meditation:

  1. Adjust your expectations. You may feel disappointed if you heard that meditation makes you blissful, but you’re more agitated than when you started. Remember that mindfulness will shine more light on anything that’s going on in your life.
  2. Pace yourself. Many beginners are uncomfortable meditating for more than a few minutes at a time. Brief sessions can be productive, and you’ll probably be more successful if you increase your time gradually.
  3. Sample different styles. If contemplating emptiness makes you uneasy, try another method. Focus on your breath or think about loving kindness.
  4. Suspend judgements. Some participants in the London study were also troubled by negative repetitive thoughts. Practice looking at your thoughts without assigning blame. Try to reframe situations from a more positive perspective.
  5. Examine your values. If meditation is part of your religion, your faith may help you deal with unpleasant experiences. Whatever your beliefs, turn to your personal sources of strength and support.
  6. Empathize with yourself. Be gentle with yourself while you’re struggling. Accept your feelings and remember that you deserve to be happy.

Physical Obstacles to Meditation:

  1. Sit up straight. Meditation is easier if you practice good posture. Distribute your weight evenly over your sit bones and elongate your spine. Draw your shoulders down and back.

  2. Strengthen your core. A firm core will keep you comfortable during meditation and other daily activities. Do exercises like planks and leg raises to tone each muscle. Use your breath to expand and soften your abdomen on each inhalation and contract slightly on each exhalation.

  3. Stretch regularly. Training for flexibility will make you more limber. Focus on movements that open up your hips.

  4. Move around. Walking meditation is a constructive alternative for anyone who has trouble sitting for too long. Pick a quiet and safe place where you can pace slowly in a circle. If you like walking in a group, invite a friend or check the schedule at a local yoga or meditation studio.

  5. Dress in layers. You may feel too hot or cold as your body temperature fluctuates during meditation. Wear a sweater or shawl over a t-shirt or any outfit that will let you make quick adjustments as needed.

  6. Eat light. Digesting a heavy meal or listening to your stomach rumble can be distracting. You may want to stop eating a few hours before each meditation session or have a light snack like tea and yogurt.

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Managing Adversity: The Resilience Mindset

Managing Adversity: The Resilience Mindset

Managing Adversity: The Resilience Mindset

In order to move from a place of simply surviving in life to a place of thriving, resilience is a necessary trait. At a basic level resilience is our ability to bounce back from tragedies and difficulties we encounter in life.

At a more complex level, the resilience mindset embraces the idea that true resilience is our ability to navigate life, adapt to change, learn through adversity, and understand our feelings and emotional responses to situations. In order for this to be achieved, there must be a high level of personal awareness and insight which leads to a deep understanding of self (O’Keeffe, 2019).

Resilience is an asset when it comes to managing adversity because it helps us to overcome it. Rather than crumbling under the pressure and weight of every challenge we encounter, we become able to assess the challenge, learn and grow from it as we go through it, and then move forward with the lessons we’ve been taught (O’Keeffe, 2019). It is resilience that empowers us to continue moving forward, learning, and growing, and building on the things we are learning in life. 

Keys to Developing a Resilient Mindset

In order to develop a resilient mindset, there are several qualities and practices that can be implemented. The following outlines several of those qualities and practices and their relation to the development of resilience.

  • Optimism: A strong trait of those with a resilient mindset is an intentional optimistic outlook when approaching challenging situations. The way a person views a situation shapes the approach they take when dealing with the situation. A more positive outlook tends to yield a more positive outcome because individuals see opportunities as opposed to obstacles, and thus enthusiastically address issues versus hesitantly avoiding them (Mind Tools, 2020). Leading psychologist Martin Seligman explains that optimism is linked to resilience in that it helps people’s views on permanence, pervasiveness, and the personalization of hardships. Optimism leads people to see bad events as temporary rather than permanent, to prevent setbacks from impacting unrelated areas of their lives, and to not blame themselves when bad events occur. Thus, people can better pivot ad recover from challenges they experience (Mind Tools, 2020).
  • Focus on What You Can Control: Learning to focus on what is within your control and releasing those things that are not is an important part of developing resilience. It is only those things within our control we have the ability to influence, thus exerting physical or mental and emotional energy on things outside of our control is mismanagement of time and energy (Miller, 2020). Individuals who spend their time and energy on what they can control become more resilient because they put their efforts towards those things that will have the greatest impact and produce the most results. This allows them to actually be effective and respond better to situations that arise (Mind Tools, 2020).
  • Self-Awareness: Self-awareness is critical to the development of a resilient mindset. Self-awareness helps us to assess areas of ourselves and our lives where we need to improve and areas of our lives that are producing favorable results. Self-awareness offers us key insights about ourselves that we can use to change, adapt, grow, or alter ourselves, our environment, or other elements. This ultimately contributes to resilience by helping us keep patterns and habits that help us adapt and respond to challenges while becoming aware of and purging patterns and habits that work against our goals and pursuits.

If we can cultivate a resilient mindset our ability to cope with challenges in our lives will be strengthened. Rather than being overcome by negative situations and circumstances we will become empowered to overcome those situations and circumstances. By implementing the practices mentioned and others like it, we’ll be one step closer to better navigating the difficulties we encounter.


Miller, K. (2020). 5+ ways to develop a growth mindset using grit and resilience.

Mind Tools. (2020). Developing resilience: Overcoming and growing from setbacks.

O’Keeffe, S. (2019, March 11). 4 aspects of a resilient mindset.

You WILL face challenges. How you deal with them matters

You WILL face challenges. How you deal with them matters

Challenging times are a part of life. Big or small, you will encounter some difficulties and unexpectedly negative situations as you go through your day to day.

Sometimes it’s a blip on the radar. Others times may find you facing one obstacle after another. As I mentioned yesterday, your attitude can affect the outcome of these issues. Let’s look at some strategic ways to deal with challenges that I think will help you tremendously. You don’t have to sit idly by as life throws your curve balls. These tips can help you to actually catch a few.

Know the Hard Times Will End

It can be hard to look at the big picture when you’re in the middle of a crisis. However, almost every hardship is temporary. This difficult time will end, and you’ll move past it. Keeping this point in mind can ease your mind and help you to think more clearly as you work to overcome your current obstacle. You’ll be far better able to think critically and productively if you’re able to be optimistic about the future.

Try to Assess Things Rationally

Emotions can run on high during a challenge, and these feelings are usually of the negative kind. You may experience emotions like fear, anger, sadness and resentment as you try to rebuild your life or manage a crisis. While these feelings are perfectly normal, they’re also counterproductive to finding solutions. It’s easy to get stuck in negative emotions. When this happens, you’ll generally find yourself reacting blindly rather than making proactive decisions. Make an effort to remove the emotions from your decision-making, and you’ll soon see your progress shift in a more positive direction.

Remove Yourself from the Equation

In addition to trying to suppress negative emotions during tough times, you may wish to remove yourself from the equation as well. What I mean by this is to try not to take it all personally and don’t ask why. Bad things happen to good people. Chances are nothing you’ve done has contributed to this situation. When we ask, “Why me?” Or get caught in a neve rending loop of trying to figure out what we’ve done wrong, moving forward becomes impossible.

Look for the Silver Lining

I don’t mean to belittle or detract from the seriousness of anyone’s problems. Please know that’s not my intent when I say that it can be helpful to search for the value hardships may bring. Perhaps you’ll find none, but many times you just might. Challenges often bring opportunity for change with them. Change can be scary, and we’ll talk about that in more detail in tomorrow’s blog post. It can also be transformative and exciting. Embrace any potential for positive transformation you might find during the tough times, and you’ll feel more motivated to push past them.

These are a few strategies I’ve found helpful when dealing with life’s challenges. Give them a try, and you may find yourself more in control of your situation than you realized you could be.

If Arthur Can, You Can!

If Arthur Can, You Can!

Did you know that successful people deal with adversity? It’s true. If you read the stories or profiles of most successful people, you will be surprised at just how adverse their situations were. They often tell the stories for others to learn and use to overcome adversity.

You should read the profiles of successful people. They contain gems of information and can act as a resource for everyone else. The story is one aspect of reading about them. However, how they dealt with the situations is often a source of inspiration. When you become inspired, you increase your chances of dealing with your problems.

Inspiration doesn’t last forever, unfortunately. You need to reinforce the message. If you can, try to set aside time to read one story of a successful person every month. It will help you with your inspiration, and it will feed ideas on how to use their stories to make your life easier or better.

The stories of some people are dated. However, their techniques may be timeless. A perfect example of this is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. The stories themselves describe people and occupations of days long gone. But, his techniques are as valid today as they were back then. I invite you to take the time to watch Arthur’s Story, the video at the top of this post. This is a run down of his story. 

“Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again. He accepted that he would probably die, if not from his injuries then from his quality of life.

He stumbled upon an article about Diamond Dallas Page doing Yoga and decided to give it a try — he couldn’t do traditional, higher impact exercise, so he tried DDP YOGA and sent an email to Dallas telling him his story. Dallas was so moved by his story, he began emailing and speaking on the phone with Arthur throughout his journey – he encouraged Arthur to keep going and to believe that anything was possible. Even though doctors told him walking would never happen, Arthur was persistent. He fell many times, but kept going.

Arthur was getting stronger rapidly, and he was losing weight at an incredible rate! Because of DDP’s specialized workout, he gained tremendous balance and flexibility — which gave him hope that maybe someday, he’d be able to walk again. His story is proof, that we cannot place limits on what we are capable of doing, because we often do not know our own potential. Neither Arthur, nor Dallas knew what he would go on to accomplish, but this video speaks for itself.

In less than a year, Arthur completely transformed his life. If only he had known what he was capable of, 15 years earlier. Do not waste any time thinking you are stuck – you can take control over your life, and change it faster than you might think. Hopefully this story will inspire you to follow your dreams – whatever they may be. Anything is Possible!” Source & Description Credit

You can read all about the stories of successful people and get inspired. But, if you don’t take action, it will be of little help to you. At that point, you become nothing more than a dreamer. Having dreams is good, but you need to make sure you take action on those dreams.

Reading the stories of successful people shows that they are just like the rest of us. There isn’t anything superhuman about them that led them to their successes. You will find a common theme among those facing adversity. They had persistence & grit and they maintained a positive attitude. Those two attributes will take you far when facing any situation.

You can choose to read stories online or find material in your local library. You can also choose to find stories on the internet. Be careful of the resources you find online. Anyone can publish whatever they like and sound convincing on their authority. Make sure you check the resources and keep a critical eye out for people who don’t present qualified information.

When you get in the habit of reading material of successful people, you will shift to a successful mindset yourself. You will have a memory bank of stories to draw inspiration from.


8 Things to Remember When Going Through Major Life Transitions

8 Things to Remember When Going Through Major Life Transitions

You may have heard each of the following strategies, insights more than once before, but they’ll have a whole new meaning if you’re going through a major life transition right now and it feels like everything’s falling apart.

1. You are not alone

Everyone goes through challenging times. What the challenge is and how it affects you will be unique to you. It’s important to share what you’re going through with someone, if we don’t we increase the risk of getting stuck in the bad feelings that can come with transition. I know it’s easier said than done to talk to family and friends but rest assured there are many organisations that you can reach out to.

I’ve added a few below for you to check out:


Samaritans is available for anyone struggling to cope and provides a safe place to talk 24 hours a day. You can call them on 116 123 or if you’re not ready to talk on the phone or you prefer to write you’re feelings down then you can contact them via email:

You can check out the Samaritans website here Take A Look.


Shout is a 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone struggling to cope and in need of immediate help. Text SHOUT to 85258. Visit their website here. Take A Look

For a comprehensive resource of helplines I highly recommend Find A Helpline


If you need non-urgent information about mental health support and services that may be available to you, please call their infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email If you feel more comfortable texting, you can now do so. Send your texts to 86463.

Mind provides these points to consider before calling a helpline:

  • What times are they open?
  • Is it free to call or is there a cost involved?
  • Is what you say confidential?
  • What will you do if the line is busy? It’s often worth trying several times, or you might plan to call back later or try a different service.

Check out the organisation’s website, or you could ask the advisor to explain their policies during the call. Visit MIND here. Take A Look

2. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack

There’s no doubt that you will need to give yourself time to experience all of the feelings that come about with a major life change. Change can be uncomfortable. Imagine a crab. He only grows so much before he feels the tight squeeze of his shell and he has to shed the old to make way for the new. He grows and grows again until he must shed his shell again. And on it goes. Give yourself a break from all the unimportant or non-urgent things that tend to fill up life. Prioritise more time for yourself and your own care. It will help you cope with the changes that are to come.


3. All things change!

It feels like this confusion and pain will last forever, that you’ll never be happy again, or things will never feel “normal” but this isn’t true. Everything in life changes. We know this, we see it all around us. Nothing is permanent. Just like nature, life is nothing if not change. The winter gives way to spring. The flowers bloom and then hibernate. The moon wanes and waxes. Life will always have ups and downs that we can’t always see coming. You can trust that this transition that you’re facing right now is just that – a change that will eventually settle into a something much more comfortable. Hopefully not too comfortable? Stagnancy can feel just as bad as stress.

4. Appreciate the benefits of change.

In life-span developmental science, getting stuck in life’s grooves has been shown to be detrimental to your health and growth. Changes in routine can serve as stimulation to your stagnant nervous systems and allow you to grow new neural pathways. We don’t always see how a major change will benefit us until we actually take that next step, and another and another. It can feel scary to walk towards an unknown future but the discoveries you make along the way can also be the most exciting of your life!

5. It’s okay to let go of things that aren’t serving you

To move forward we often have to leave people, places or things behind. That can be painful. We like to keep the status quo because it makes us feel safe and we think we will avoid the pain. But, at some point, the pain of staying where we are outweighs the pain of letting go. We have to let go of things such as people and situations that are holding us back from what’s pulling us forward. Though it’s not always easy, it’s a natural part of life.

6. There is always something to be grateful for

Your life may look grim, but if you want to find goodness and beauty in your life, you can. You may not have the same life you had two weeks ago, but you have friends who love you. You can appreciate the beauty of the setting sun. Every life has wondrous things in it, we just have to notice them.

7. It’s okay to say no to negativity

While you surely have friends and family who are loving and supportive, it’s also possible that there are a few negative Nelly’s in your environment also. Especially now, it’s a good idea to say no to their invitations to hang out. When you feel stronger, you can decide if they are someone you want to continue to have a relationship with. But for now, just say no – as nicely as you can. And see number 1 for alternative sources of support and guidance.

8. Say yes to hope.

The ability to remain hopeful that things might be terrible now but you know things can and often do get better. Hope can be the motivator to take action, the nudge you need to reach out to someone or to something e.g. taking your beloved dog for walk, cuddling a cat, coffee with a good friend.

Resilience: The Cornerstone of Your Personal Power

Resilience: The Cornerstone of Your Personal Power

Do you remember when you were a kid, and a bully called you a name or made fun of you? My Mom told me to tell either ignore them or respond with, “sticks and stones may hurt my bones but names will never hurt me!”

You might be familiar with these wise words too, “I am rubber, and you are glue.  What you say bounces off of me and sticks to you,”

Ok, I learnt quickly that saying that response out loud to a bully often led to them doubling over with laughter making the whole situation worse BUT I realised that it was powerful enough to just say it in your head as you walk away. The reality is that sometimes shit sticks, as much I said that names will never hurt me they clearly did and it has taken years to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that my personal experience created. 

Here at the Hub we teach that building resilience means equipping yourself with tools that help to grow the confidence you have in yourself; your own personal power, to cope with challenges and obstacles.

Psychologists have studied the link between resilience and personal power. They’ve determined that these key aspects of resilience help support personal power:

  • Focusing on the Present Supports Faith in Yourself
  • Learning from Your Failures Supports Self-Acceptance
  • Positive Thinking Supports Courage in Your Principles
  • Stress Management Supports Being Yourself
  • Changed Perspective Supports Choosing Your Response

Focusing on the Present Supports Faith in Yourself

Resilience requires focusing on the present. You can’t be resilient if you distract yourself from your goals by worrying about the past or future.  Learning to focus on the present supports your personal power by understanding and giving you faith in yourself.  Since you can’t change the past, you need to focus on what you can do now to improve your future.  Believing that you have the power to shape your future shows your personal control.

Learning from Your Failures Supports Self-Acceptance

Instead of blaming others, resilient people understand how they contributed to a failure. Resilient people are willing to examine their life and look for ways to overcome difficulty.  They use mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.

Acknowledging your role in failure also allows you to own your part in success.  Self-acceptance means you have worked hard to understand yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses.  When you learn from your failures, you build the self-awareness that leads to self-acceptance.  Because you accept yourself, your personal power is built on your resilience to life’s obstacles.

Positive Thinking Supports Courage in Your Principles

Even when bad things happen, resilient people think positively by looking for ways to resolve and overcome obstacles. They don’t let others define their opinions or principles.  Because resilient people stay focused on positive outcomes, they aren’t easily swayed by the negative views of others.  When you think positively, your principles are based on knowing you can and will succeed.  Your belief in yourself creates personal power.

Stress Management Supports Being Yourself

Resilient people experience stressful situations in life. Instead of letting stress overwhelm them, they have learned to manage their lives to work through stress.  Resilient people understand that not everything that causes stress is horrible or never-ending.  Stress can be a motivator and teacher too.

Knowing how to process stress and work through it supports your personal power and being yourself.  Because a resilient person doesn’t allow other’s expectations of them to cause stress, they are free to be who they are.  In fact, being true to yourself often causes less stress once you learn to feel comfortable with your opinions and principles.  Being yourself builds your personal power and allows you to take the time needed to recharge, grow, and achieve.

Changed Perspective Supports Choosing Your Response

Personal power isn’t about control over others. Personal power is control over yourself.  Resilient people’s positive perspective of learning, growing, and living in the present supports the ability to choose the best response to any situation.  Choosing your personal response without interference from negative forces is the definition of personal power.

It’s impossible to build and maintain personal power without resilience. As the cornerstone of personal power, resilience provides the skills of focusing on the present, learning and growth, positive thinking, and stress management.

These skills change your perspective and support your personal power by helping you chose your response despite outside influences by building faith in yourself and your principles, self-acceptance, and the courage to be yourself and chose your best outcome.