Your mind racing or wandering is totally normal, and is such a common occurrence that it has its own term called, “monkey mind.” Monkey mind is a term that means a mind that is unsettled, restless, or confused. Think of a wild monkey bouncing around or swinging from tree to tree. That is kind of what can happen inside our brains when we get really quiet and still.

When you first start your practice, this is likely to happen much more often than not, and there are a few things you can do about it. One is to find an anchor — something to stabilize (focus) your thoughts when you get distracted during a meditation. Your anchor can be your breath moving in and out of your body, the sounds you hear around you, or the feeling of your body touching your seat. When you notice your mind beginning to wander, gently bring your attention back to your anchor. This becomes the practice. When you have thoughts such as, “when is the timer going to go off? Is this a waste of my time? What should I eat for lunch?” gently remind yourself that your practice is an investment in improving your health and how well your body functions, and return your attention to your anchor. Each day you practice, you help regulate or bring back to balance your nervous system (your nervous system controls your whole body, from breathing to feeling to walking) which in turn makes you more able to handle anything that comes your way throughout the day.