In this guide, I will share the best types of meditation for motivation and energy, with their scripts, plus some of the best guided meditations for motivation.
When you want to know how to get motivated, meditation should be your go-to. Not only does meditation remove many of the barriers between you and positive energy, it also focuses your energy so you can get things done. It is one of the keys to success in life.
Sometimes we are all lazy. Sometimes we need help overcoming procrastination (READ: How to overcome laziness).
But it isn’t because you are a lazy person. It’s just because you need to understand what motivation is, and how to get more of it.
Link Between Meditation And Motivation
If you want to know how to use meditation for motivation and energy, you first have to understand the nature of motivation.
Meditation is a psychological exercise with its origins in Hinduism, Buddhism and yoga. It involves focusing the mind on different aspects of the present moment (such as the breath). There are many different ways to do this, including:
- Breathing techniques
- Mindful movement
- And guided meditation for motivation
So what is motivation? And what is the link between meditation and motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as “the feeling of wanting to do something, especially something that involves hard work and effort.”. It is the desire to achieve goals despite work, and it involved both conscious and unconscious factors. There are different psychological parts of motivation. There’s the direction (the goal we are trying to achieve, or the negative event we are trying to avoid). There’s the “seeking phase” which we are actively seeking our goal. And then there is the “Reward”, which is the sense of reward we will get from being successful.
One of the most important neurochemicals for motivation is dopamine.
According to researchers at the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón, dopamine is released when we anticipate something positive or anticipate avoiding something negative. Both pleasurable sensations and painful ones (like stress) can cause dopamine release. Because dopamine is a pleasure chemical, the release of dopamine associated with our goals leads to motivation
Do you have low motivation and energy? If so it could be a dopamine problem. For instance, some people use narcotics that provide dopamine (such as smoking), which can reduce energy and motivation, because they provide dopamine without the need for positive action. When we look at using meditation for motivation and energy, below, we will cover balancing your dopamine levels.
As well as the neurological aspect of motivation, there is the emotional and the social. Most theories of motivation discuss Extrinsic Motivation (those that are externally) and Intrinsic Motivation (those that come from within).
Basic human motivations include the need for food, safety, and love (as define in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). When one of our basic needs (like the need to sleep) is not met, it will negative influence motivation in other areas). Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory, on the other hand, explains that motivation is based on positive motivators (like career success) and “hygiene factors” which are basic needs).
As you can see, motivation includes biological, emotional, cognitive, and social forces, which is why when we look at meditation for motivation, below, we will use methods that related to all these things.
Now we understand the nature of motivation, we can start to see how to use meditation for motivation and energy.
Essentially, to use meditation for motivation and energy, we need to use techniques that do the following:
- Balance dopamine
- Strengthen brain regions associated with motivation (thalamus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and especially the anterior cingulate cortex)
- Improve cognitive functioning
- Improve overall wellbeing (because, in accordance with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we can’t focus on higher motivations until lower ones are fulfilled)
- Improve social connections for positive social motivations
Thankfully, meditation can help with all these things.
- 2013 research led by Michael Hagerty at the University of California, Davis showed that meditation (jnana) improves dopamine tone
- Considerable research has shown positive effects of meditation on regions of the brain associated with motivation [World Journal of Radiology]
- Numerous studies show positive links between meditation and cognitive functioning
- There are more than 100 proven benefits of meditation for overall wellbeing
- Research [Hutcherson, C. A., Seppala, E. M., & Gross, J. J. (2008)] shows that certain methods, such as Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Bhavana) improve social connection.
Yes, there are considerable benefits of meditation for motivation and energy. So how do you meditate for self motivation? Try the methods below.
The best types of meditation for self-motivation
NOTE: You can find the script for these meditations here.
1: Guided Meditation For Motivation
Definitely, the easiest way to go is to use a guided-meditation for success. Above is one of my favourite videos for this.
One of the most essential elements of self-motivation is self-love . You need to feel compassionate and loving towards yourself so that you naturally want to make life better for yourself. If you feel negative about yourself, that negativity will continually sap away at your motivation.
To develop self love, use loving-kindness meditation (Metta), a Buddhist method in which we focus on sending and receiving love and kindness. You can practise this method focusing on yourself and focusing on other people. To use this meditation for motivation, you will want to do both. Spend ten minutes focusing on yourself and then ten minutes focusing on others. Imagine sending love and kindness to yourself and others, and recite the mantra “May [I or the name of the person] be happy. May I have success. May I be free from suffering”. Spend twenty minutes reciting this mantra. Scientific research reveals that Buddhist Metta cultivates feelings of joy and happiness, the type of feelings you need in order to feel motivated.
One of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to motivation is visualizing your success. Tony Robbins states that you need to be able to visualize your success if you are to achieve. You can do this by meditating and imagining yourself succeeding. However, there is an important note, because it is vital that you also bear in mind the barriers keeping you from success. Scientific studies show that when we visualize that we have already achieved the success we actually get demotivated  because the mind thinks we have already achieved our goal. Therefore, visualize yourself working through your obstacles on the pathway to success. It is imperative to visualize the hard work and to be aware of the obstacles.
4: Silence your mind to find your life’s purpose
When you know your life’s purpose, you will naturally be incredibly motivated because you know the one thing you want to achieve above all else. The problem is that stress and pressure interfere with our life’s purpose. The day to day grind of life can make it a challenge even to realise your life’s purpose, let alone achieve it. That’s why one of the best meditations for motivation is nothingness.
Meditating on nothingness quiets your mind so you can let go of negative thoughts, stress and pressure. When you do this, you will touch a deeper part of your soul and find what truly fires you up. Spend twenty minutes meditating on nothing and listen to your inner guidance.
5: Dynamic Meditation & Dance
In many ways, the link between meditation and motivation is a strange one. Many studies have shown that meditation is demotivating . The reason is that meditation makes us accept things, and so we are less likely to want to change things.
However, that’s only true of specific meditation techniques. Some methods are truly excellent for firing us up. For instance, another of the best meditations for motivating yourself is Dynamic and Dance meditation. These meditations are active. They get blood flowing through the body and they produce the positive energy that you need to feel motivated.
6: Mantras & Affirmations for Motivation
Another of the best meditations for motivation is mantra meditation. Mantras and affirmations are phrases that we repeat to ourselves in order to create certain thoughts and feelings.
For instance, “I am working hard and being productive” is one mantra for self motivation. This mantra sets your mind to being productive so you naturally achieve more through the day.
But here is a warning: Do not make your mantra something like “I have achieved my dream” because you do not want your mind to think you have already achieved success. Also don’t make it something like “Life is easy” because that will motivate you to put less effort into thinks. Instead, make it positive, realistic, and effortful. For instance, “I am working hard, overcoming my obstacles, and moving towards success.”
Once you choose your mantra, recite it 108 times to yourself while meditating.
7: Compassion (Karuna)
Another incredible meditation for motivation is the Buddhist method Karuna (the word “Karuna” means “compassion”). This is actually the method Buddha used to motivate himself to help the people in his Sangha (community).
Every morning from 4am, Buddha would sit meditating and would practice Karuna. He would meditate on the suffering of the people in his community, and how he might help them. Being aware of how people were suffering naturally made Buddha want to change things, and so it motivated him to act.
Meditate on the suffering of others and particularly on efforts that you can take to help other people overcome suffering (including yourself). This is arguably the absolute best meditation for motivation in life.
Above, we have looked at my picks of the best meditations for motivations. We’ve seen how guided meditations can relax us s we are more productive, and compassion-based meditations can motivate us to help others.
Which of these meditations is your favourite?
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1: Self-Compassion Increases Self-Improvement MotivationJuliana Breines at the University of California, Berkeley, and published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167212445599
4: Mindfulness Is Demotivating, Scott Berinato, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2019/01/mindfulness-is-demotivating