How long should you meditate to see and feel real effects? The benefits of meditation are many and well-founded, so it’s a given you’d want to do it right. But the truth is, there’s more to a meditation practice than just setting aside a specific period of time or time frame.
Read on to deepen your understanding of meditation by learning more about different forms and styles of meditation, mediation’s potential science-based benefits, and some meditation tips to help you on your way.
A few minutes of meditation daily is how some people choose to cope with everything from the stress of everyday life to physical and/or mental health ailments. Studies show that the measurable effects of meditation go far beyond the immediate sense of calm after a single session. Changes in your brain and nervous system and other physiological effects give rise to potential health benefits that may positively impact both your emotional health and physical health.1
Meditation May Help Support Your Ability To Focus And Increase Your Attention Span
Science suggests that over time, your brain may struggle to pay attention to new stimuli or information. Regular meditation sessions may help to support your focus and attention. This might help to support your observational and problem-solving skills — definitely a mental boost your tired and inundated brain needs.2
A Meditation Program May Help Support Your Resilience To Stress
Stress reduction is probably one of the most popular (and sought-after) benefits of meditation. But how does meditation affect your stress levels, exactly? Meditation alters the usual brain functions that help your body respond to and regulate stressful situations. It also helps mitigate the physiological effects of stress on your body. Simply put, long-time meditators react to stress in more effective, and less physically and psychologically harmful, ways.3
The Practice Of Meditation May Help Regulate Emotional Health
Studies suggest that meditation may help open you up to happier, more positive emotions. You may feel your anxiety levels drop as you meditate, and you might enjoy a deeper, more sustained sense of calmness that’s often associated with the experience of meditation. This can be helpful if you’re looking to improve your overall quality of life.4
Daily Meditation Practice May Help Deepen Your Relationships With Others
The potential advantages of meditation extend beyond your own mind and spirit. Research suggests that people who practice loving-kindness meditation are able to understand and extend compassion towards others. Similarly, studies show that those who regularly meditate may be able to improve the quality of their close relationships, as they’re able to resolve conflicts and let go of negative emotions more effectively.5
While meditating once can already be gratifying, regular practice is what you should aim for to truly reap measurable effects in the long term. It isn’t just about knowing how many minutes per day or how often you should meditate, but also finding ways to commit to a consistent daily practice that will ultimately contribute to your overall health.
How To Start And Practice Meditation
It’s perfectly normal for beginner meditators to struggle through a basic 30-minute meditation session. Don’t give up. Building your meditation practice takes time and effort, and you should equip yourself with the right tools — both literal and metaphorical — to help you reach your goals.
Choosing The Right Style Of Meditation Matters
When it comes to figuring out the right style of meditation for you, it all comes down to what you want out of your meditative journey. There are many different forms of meditation, and while all are potentially beneficial, you may find there are specific types of meditation that suit your needs or lifestyle.
For example, mindfulness meditation doesn’t necessarily involve long periods of time seated in a comfortable position — it’s more of a mindset or perspective you can choose to apply throughout your daily life. Meanwhile, if you’re aspiring for a higher level of consciousness, there are more spiritual forms of meditation you can consider.6
You may find that an app for meditation helps you get your bearings. Signing up with a meditation teacher for more guidance could also help give you more insight into what you want to achieve by maintaining a mindfulness practice.
Don’t Let The Pressure Get To You
Like with any new hobby, skill, or interest, it’s only natural to want to “get good” at meditation right away. But it’s important to understand that meditation is an ongoing practice — the time you take to “perfect” it is where you grow.
The old adage, “It’s the journey, not the destination” is the best approach to meditation. That being said, it’s a good idea to allow your meditation practice to evolve on its own — starting slow and small with short periods, until you find your sweet spot with how much meditation per day you feel you need to do to feel your best.7
Meditation Is A Lifelong Endeavor
Ultimately, it’s about making meditation work for you — you should never feel forced. Integrate a meditation practice into your life as naturally as possible. Consider tacking on a few extra minutes after you do yoga to meditate, or allot some time after your morning coffee to just sit with your thoughts. Even just doing some mindfulness techniques while you practice some breathing exercises is a solid place to start — as long as you do so consistently.8
Whether you’re embarking on a profound spiritual journey, or you simply want a moment of peace in the middle of an intense day, meditation is a worthy endeavor to take on. Here’s to finding your bliss.
-Guided Meditation For Beginners: Practice Meditating At Home
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