How Long Should You Meditate Each Day To Reap The Benefits?
There are a lot of questions that arise when we think about starting a new habit or hobby, right? The same goes for meditation as well. When you decide on starting a meditation habit, there are a lot of questions that must be answered. Some of the most common questions I’m asked are;
“How long should you meditate?” “How often should you meditate?” and “How long does it take for meditation to help?”
You might wonder who asks these questions, aren’t they self-answering? No, not always. Meditation is a practice that carries a value or a belief for many people. Some of those values are related to one’s cultural background and some to their lifestyle choices. Knowing the answers to these questions can help you gain an understanding of how meditation works.
Of course, if you’re a beginner to meditation or are practicing meditation because of concerns such as anxiety or overthinking, then knowing the answers can help you become accustomed to the practice itself more than anything else.
Below, let’s learn the answers to all these questions and see how long you should meditate each day whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner.
How Long Should You Meditate Each Day?
Generally, it’s always a good idea to begin your meditation practice slowly and then move from there. When you begin slowly, it prevents you from getting too annoyed and discouraged that the meditation is not working.
You can always increase the time as you become adept at meditation. Shorter sessions are easier to start as you avoid trying to push yourself beyond your routine. This is a good place for beginners. The idea is to feel relaxed after meditation and not exhausted. Longer sessions, in the beginning, can drain your energy instead of helping you.
Always keep in mind that meditation may take time to master so don’t feel discouraged if your meditation session doesn’t show immediate results. Just keep practicing.
Did you know that in a 2017 study, it was found that people responded with significant mindfulness to their routine when they meditated?
There can be five traits that determine the effectiveness of meditation:
- Frequency (how often)
- Duration (how long)
- Routine (the commitment)
- Relevance (the context)
In a later study, it was found that beginners to meditation, when practiced meditation for 8 weeks 13-minutes daily, reported positive mood change, better attention, improved memory, and lower levels of anxiety.
How Long Should You Meditate (For Beginners)?
If you’re looking for the answer to the question; how long should a beginner meditate? Then, let me tell you that 5-minutes of meditation is enough! If you’re a beginner to meditation then at least 5-minutes each day can help you get used to the habit. This will also avoid putting too much pressure on yourself and commit more easily to the practice.
5-minutes of meditation each day will allow you to work on reducing your stress and develop an understanding of how meditation works and when to meditate. If 5 minutes is too much to begin, then you can start with 1-minute meditation or 3-minute meditation. As you get used to the practice, you can gradually add a minute to your practice until you reach your desired goal.
How Long To Meditate for Anxiety?
If you’re looking for the answer to the question; How long to meditate if you have anxiety? Then, it’s also simple! If you have anxiety, then you can start your meditation practice with Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction or MBSR. This meditation practice is a research-backed practice that is completed over 8 weeks of 45-minute meditation sessions to reduce stress and anxiety.
In a 2015 study, it was reported that MBSR had a positive effect in reducing greater amounts of stress, a moderate effect on reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression, improving the quality of life, and reducing the effects of burnout.
While it is promising, sitting through 45-minutes of meditation is not practical for many. In that case, 10-minutes of meditation every day can be considered.
Of course, the 10-minute meditation may very well depend on your goal and the type of meditation you pick. If you’re looking for stress reduction, then a 10-minute meditation is the right pick. However, if you’re looking to focus more internally to increase calmness and concentration, then a 20-30 minute meditation might be the right choice. You can combine these sessions with breathing exercises as well.
Whether you meditate for 10 minutes or 30 minutes, make sure that you practice every day. This will help you reap all the benefits of meditation, sooner.
Remember that the frequency, duration, commitment, and enjoyment of meditation only can ensure the effectiveness of the practice.
When Is The Right Time To Meditate?
The best time to meditate depends on many factors including your daily routine. Just ensure that when you decide to practice is when you feel your best and are likely to stick to your daily routine.
If you decide to practice meditation in the morning, then it depends on the type of meditation you pick. Morning meditation can be best as it can keep your mind focused on being mindful as well as give you a little “me time” before the day’s commitments catch up.
Evening meditation or even afternoon meditation is good as both of these hours are quiet or at least have a lull in the day. Practicing meditation during the afternoon or evening also lets you process what you’ve learned that day and reduce the stress you’ve accumulated since.
If you’re unsure when the right time to meditate is, you can always experiment with different hours and see what time suits you best.
How Much Meditation Is Too Much?
If we talk about how often should you meditate, then it all depends on your preference. Some may find enjoyment in meditating every day while others may prefer a brief meditation break during or after the day.
Your preference for how often you meditate depends on you, your teachings, your cultural significance, and your traditions. Meditation is all about getting in touch with yourself and your needs.
Unfortunately, there’s a thing such as “too much meditation”. Too much and too often meditation can cause discomfort. It can make you feel ungrounded, weakened, clumsy, and even more emotional than normal. Meditation releases emotions that we can’t process in our day so when you meditate too much, you become prone to express too many emotions, sometimes at the wrong time.
So, how much meditation is too much? This answer also depends on your preference, your lifestyle as well as your meditation goals. Usually, 10-30 minutes of meditation is enough unless you’re in a guided meditation session. Some sessions such as MBSR can take 45-minutes but more often than not, those sessions are guided.
Want To Get Started?
In the end, it doesn’t depend on what type of meditation you pick, always remember the 5 traits of effectiveness. Some common types of meditation you can get started with include:
- Metta Meditation Or LKM Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
- Spiritual Meditation
- Focused Meditation
- Visualization Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation, and
- Walking Meditation
You can always start with a guided meditation practice and then ease into unguided practices. Just keep in mind these tips before you get started:
- Be realistic about your meditation goals
- Begin with shorter sessions and slowly move upwards
- Some days meditation might not be easy but don’t give up your daily practice
- If it’s hard, then try to focus on your breathing or an object near you
- Guided meditations are a good place to begin the practice
No matter how long you should meditate or how long it takes for meditation to show results, the outcome depends on a combination of the frequency, duration, commitment, context, and the enjoyment you show to the practice itself.
There’s no “perfect” way to meditate. If you’re a beginner, then either a 5-minute meditation or a 13-minute meditation can be a great starting point. No matter how long you practice, the only thing to remember during meditation is to be regular and stay committed.
I hope this blog helped you answer the question, “How long should you meditate?” For more, you can write to us at email@example.com or DM us on our social media. You can also share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.