INFJ and meditation


#1

I’m an INFJ and I’ve been using this app Headspace for a while. It teaches you mindful meditation that trains your brain to be more present, in the moment. I wanted to see if it would help with my anxiety and restless mind.

How it works is you sit down for 10-20 minutes daily and focus on the breath and physical sensations (sounds, points of contact with the chair, etc). When thoughts or feelings arise, you note them (like “ok, this is thinking”) and go back to the breath. On more advanced stages you start visualizing things, e.g. that warm sunlight is flowing through your head filling up your body slowly from bottom up.

After 6 months of doing that I still struggle with not thinking while meditating. There is always something VERY IMPORTANT or VERY INTERESTING to think about RIGHT NOW! Not in 10 minutes when the excersise is over, but IMMEDIATELY! When I note that my mind has wondered I go back to the breath with strong intention not to think until the end of the session only to find myself lost in thought again after 15 seconds. Sometimes after meditation I even feel more anxious because I thought myself into worry while my eyes were closed.

I wonder if I’m just unhelathy or is it a INFJ thing? Meditation turns the attention inward, which engages crazy shit from Ni picked up by Ti? Plus enforced presence in the moment doesn’t really work due to inferior Se (like it is saying to me “nothing is happening, why would I give a shit!?”).

Are you able to meditate? What does it give you? Do you think it is beneficial for INFJ’s? What forms of meditation do you find helpful?


#2

I love headspace! Yes, I meditate, and yes, my thoughts sometimes interfere. I find it most helpful to do either 1st thing in the morning, when I get home from work (this is the time i perform it with the most wandering thoughts, but it helps just to sit down with my thoughts), or right before bed. It is very useful in retraining the instinctive stress response of the brain as well as building a strong grounded core. But I do think too much is not a good thing either.

With headspace, there are different techniques that they use to guide you through a meditation depending on which (pack) you’ve chosen after you’ve finished the intro series. Some techniques work incredibly well to keep me focused, like the blue sky analogy one and others (like visualization) take a lot longer for me to get into and my mind wanders. Some things that also help are doing a bit of breath work (butyeko breathing or yoga type breathing) beforehand or then doing a bit of physical exercise before. If my mind wanders too much, I have a notebook nearby and I’ll jot down things or write a bit before coming back to meditation. Doing any of the balancing or inverted poses in yoga (tree, headstand, etc) helps a lot with teaching your brain to focus.

So my recommendation would be to do one of the following:

  1. Try an open ended set “meditation” time where you play around with a combination of yoga, headpsace meditation and writing until you find what formula works for you (may be day dependent). This is along the lines of Blake’s post using Te in minimal amounts.
  2. If that still doesn’t work then start with a form of exercise that forces your concentration and attention on being in the moment for long periods such as dancing or yoga inverted/balancing poses or gym wall rock climbing or complicated step aerobics routine or something you can’t zone out on. This will train your mind.

#3

Hey @stranded , Hope the Te battle at work is getting better.

There are other forms of meditation. The one you’ve mentioned is a popular form, but not the best for us. I would look into others. I’ve taken several types of meditation practices and mixed them up to personilize what works best for me. Normal people (no offense to us) meditate to relax by embracing their strengths. Se is not relaxing or a strength for us. To relax I let Ni wander and try to shut down Ti and Fe by diving deeper into thoughts instead of letting it go. And in a way meditating is Se but its a filtered way of being present…For example:
“In this present moment that I am meditating…I am over analyzing this thought that means something right now…I am investigating…still investigating…now it means less of something, now it means nothing to me, now I’m back to focusing on my breath.”

I’ve been meditating for the last year. It’s helped control a lot of my anxiety and helped me get in control of the Se “grip”. I start off by trying to focus on my breath, the feeling of the air as it is inhaled and exhaled until I’ve gone into a very relaxed state. (Doesn’t work after my morning coffee though.) I purposely try to focus on slipping away from reality, away from human civilization, and away from Fe. I envision Ni stepping out of my body as it’s own character to analyze myself without judgement as if I were a child. When a thought or anxiety enters, I take the emotion out of it and analyze it and my connection to the thought withought judgement. I focus on invisioning the breath as it enters and exits my body as a reference point if I forgot or give up what I was thinking about till the next thought enters.

It might be worth experimenting with new ways of meditating. Good luck, and hope things get better.


#4

This is brilliant! I do all of the things you mentioned, but as separate activities. I’ll experiment with blending them together and see what it does. Great advice. Thank you @Impossibletobe!


#5

Hey @Sammy!

Thanks! It’s ongoing and now mostly in my head :slight_smile:

Hmmm… you’re onto something here. I’ve been a bit disappointed that I can never stop the thought process no matter what I do, but maybe I don’t need to… I’ve noticed that when I’m falling a sleep at night I’m still thinking, but it is a multilayered colourful maze of everything and nothing at the same time… like several radio stations playing at a different volume and at varied distances. And it feels good. So maybe bringing this into meditation wouldn’t hurt. Just let the Ni unfold.

Thanks, man!


#6

Question: how do you tell Ni apart from Ti when meditating? How do you identify them?


#7

Ti is categorizations, labels, and absolutes. It’s trying to solve problems. It’s the judging function. This will constantly try to step inside my thoughts…I off set Ti by asking more questions instead of trying to counsel myself. For example, If there’s a dark thought that enters my mind, I won’t judge myself for it, I’ll question what gives this thought power, what makes it dark, why did this thought pop in, why do I feel shame from it, etc. It works for me only when I am in a relaxed state. I relax by breathing in, holding my breath for five seconds, letting the air out slowly, and repeating until I feel focused. I want to try the breathing techniques that @Impossibletobe brought up too!