Why meditation can be problematic and what can be done

Why meditation can be problematic and what can be done

by Vanessa Ng 24 Jul 2018

Whenever experimenting with a new hobby or practice with our mind and body, there is always a chance, however slim, for complications to happen. This is true whether it involves sports, diet changes, fitness regimens and more. Some however might find it surprising that meditation, which often entails rejuvenation via a deepened connection between the mind and body, isn’t exempt from this particular rule.


While meditation often brings about cathartic experiences such as emotional liberation, increased energy and clearer minds, many studies have also shown that it can induce feelings of fear, panic, confusion and anxiety. In very rare cases, meditation-induced psychosis can even happen. To prevent that, it is important to monitor your thoughts and have a professional provide guidance. While different individuals have their own way approaching this practice, one common method is to not over-emphasise on the negative. Flaws, imperfections and failures should not be excessively fixated upon.


Additionally, it is absolutely crucial to be aware of any pre-existing medical condition prior to when utilising meditation. This is not only true for large-scale meditation retreat camps, but also applicable for short-term hour-long classes. If you are suffering on anxiety or depression, ensure that it’s taken note of. Our minds are constructed in vastly different ways and emotional triggers are rarely, if not ever universal. A good meditation instructor should be experienced in treading such waters and finding a middle ground that benefits all the parties involved.


Lastly, do your due diligence to prevent putting yourself in a situation in which your mental health may become compromised. Is the meditation guided by experienced and certified trainers with good reputation? What are others saying about the programme in a non-filtered and non-sponsored environment? While it can be exciting to go on a retreat after a recommendation from a friend, your friend’s review may not be representative of the entire experience. If you do decide to give it a go, take a non-committal approach so that you won’t feel pressured into sticking it out even if it’s clearly not meant for you.


Finding the right practice for yourself is difficult, with some even taking an entire lifetime to figure it out. While meditation is often hyped as a great tool for staying focused and overcoming mental challenges, the truth is that this will not work for everyone. The tool may be “right” for the job, but it hardly matters if the person in question isn’t able to wield it properly.