Meditation can be a powerful form of healing from within. The best thing about meditation practice is that anyone can do it irrespective of who they are, what situation they are in, and where they come from. However, if you're just starting to explore the wonderful world of meditation and focus on the 'self', it can be a bit frustrating to exactly figure out the total amount of time you should meditate every day. So, how long should you mediate to reduce stress?
You should always start strong but slow, gradually increasing the intensity and the overall time frame of your meditation sessions. In addition, shorter sessions will also prevent you from feeling frustrated or feel discouraged if you feel you aren't getting anywhere with your sessions. It happens, but you have to stay focused and dedicated to the best meditation experience. While meditation appears to be easy, you really need to stay committed to mastering it. But you should also learn how often should you meditate, and this could be a bit tough in the beginning.
You are indeed going to be tempted to meditate for as long as you can when you're performing meditation practice for the first time. However, the key here, just like for anything else, is patience and consistency. Don't push yourself too much but don't give up after a couple of minutes because you aren't "feeling anything". Remember, a meditation session is all about regular practice, and determination. It will take some time before you can completely master it and gain greater experience. So, it is better to approach meditation with patience and effort.
In light of this, we're going to talk about the frequency of meditation you should pursue, the time frame you should aim for, and whether you should practice meditation for long periods. So here goes.
What is Meditation?
Meditation practice is a unique set of practices that help individuals connect with their inner selves. It paves a way for you to heal from within, focusing on clearing your mind of negative emotions, stress, and anxiety. It aims to make you more positive about your situation, which ultimately leads to higher levels of contentment, self-esteem, and physical well being amongst other benefits.
There are various types of meditation techniques and there are a lot of benefits of meditation, all of which can be used to relax your mind, lower your stress and anxiety, and enhance your mood. However, it can also help you combat or manage some physical ailments as well, leading to a gradual improvement in your health. In addition, meditation is also popularly used as a form of quitting bad habits such as alcoholism or smoking – both of which can be challenging. However, with a daily practice of connecting with yourself and calming your nerves, quitting such habits can become easier and great for your mental well-being.
Meditation practice isn't anything new, it has existed for millennia and there are various forms of meditation across the globe. However, what is even more astonishing is that 21st-century science and research have now taken a keen interest in identifying the positive effects of meditation and how it impacts our emotional well-being. This has been possible because of continuous innovation in medical and scientific technology.
Looking in from the outside, an individual practicing meditation, focusing their breathing with their eyes closed may, well, seem that they aren't doing much more than taking deep breaths or chanting different mantras or phrases. However, on the inside, in their nervous system and brain, there is something else going on. And science has proven that.
By using medical technology and processes such as EEG (electroencephalography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scientists have been able to prove that meditation indeed provides wonderful benefits such as enhanced attention and focus.
Types of Meditation Practices
Mindfulness meditation is a pretty popular form of meditation across the world. The practice comprises techniques that help people become completely present with their inner-self, leading to both internal and external awareness. As a mindful practitioner, you will have the ability to reject negative behaviours, focus on remaining content and positive, and have the power to restrain your emotions no matter what situation you are in. It is one of the best ways to improve your mental and physical health.
The best benefit of mindfulness practice is that you can sit and meditate anywhere you want. You can become mindful sitting in a nice, silent corner at the office, in your room at home, in the gym, etc. It's all about focusing on connecting with yourself on a much deeper level. It is also recommended that you should master the art of mindfulness with experienced meditation teachers to enjoy more benefits of meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to find deeper meaning to life and how to stay positive no matter what.
This type of meditation may sound a bit imposing, but the practice involves easy-to-do techniques that comprise simple breathing and chanting a set phrase, making a certain sound, or speaking a mantra. It's simple to do, choose a positive phrase or mantra, for example, "I believe in myself", sit down in a comfortable position, relax, close your eyes, take deep breaths and repeat this phrase for 15-20 minutes every day. Transcendental techniques help gradually increase your level of calm, allowing you to remain relaxed, which will inadvertently lead to an improved quality of life.
Guided meditation can also be referred to as honed visualization or imagery practice. It is primarily a form of meditation that requires individuals to concentrate on breathing and forming different mental images or calming scenarios in their minds. The situations you conjure up in your mind along with learning to relax and concentrate on your breathing will help you improve your mental and physical health.
Practicing guided meditation is great for getting rid of the stress and anxiety associated with daily life. Guided techniques are best learned from experienced meditators for a more in-depth experience.
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This is another emotion-centric form of practice that is commonly referred to as "loving-kindness". It is the art of appreciating everything in your life, being grateful, and showing your love and appreciation for other people in your life. Metta techniques require individuals to chant or recite different phrases or words (of their choosing) that generally exude a feeling of confidence, warmth, and love. There’s a lot of benefit in appreciation and gratitude towards others.
Metta techniques are performed while sitting down comfortably, taking in deep breaths, and calmly speaking out the words or phrases you have chosen. If you prefer meditating for shorter periods, Metta meditation can be great for you.
Spiritual meditation is another form of transcendental meditating technique. However, spiritual meditation requires individuals to just remain comfortably seated in a nice and quiet space. It allows you to hone in on your life, helping you to enhance your realization and awareness of the 'self'. Moreover, it is recommended that spiritual meditation practitioners should recite or chant deeply invigorating hymns or sounds. In addition, spiritual practice is also suited for individuals looking to meditate for longer periods. Moreover, spiritual techniques can also be combined with basic yoga postures.
How Long Should You Mediate For?
So, how long should you meditate? As per one study published in Behavioural Brain Research in 2018, scientists were able to determine that performing deep, meditation practices every day for 13 minutes has a profound effect on an individual's overall mood. Participants were told to meditate and measure physical and mental effects after doing 13 min of meditation for 8 weeks.
The results were pretty great. The participants reported a significant dip in negative emotions, they were able to maximize their attention levels, improve their cognition and memory, and experienced reduced levels of anxiety. This led to a great improvement in their overall mental health.
The research also identified that participants that practiced meditation for two months had more substantial improvements in their mood compared to the group that was instructed to meditate for one month. So, it’s safe to say that the optimal length of meditation can be 10-13 minutes.
Sure, it's alright to say that while this isn't an exact science, the overall scientific notion for how long you should meditate does point to the fact that even a 7-10 minute meditation session every day or twice a day can improve your cognition, memory, and mood. It is enough time for beginners.
However, when it comes to how much time it is going take for you to see some results, understand that every individual is unique and will experience the results of meditation differently. But it is important to meditate daily and try to improve each session.
Meditating Time for Beginners that Makes Sense
For beginners, the optimal time for a meditation session is five minutes per day. To form a daily routine or moment, you need to first get the hang of it. And while meditation doesn't involve complex poses and whatnot, you do need to get used to controlling your breathing and focusing on your inner self. And five minutes of meditation daily can help you get in sync with yourself without losing motivation or exerting too much pressure on yourself. The most important thing is to first get used to meditation through practice. So, always start with short sessions. Try doing it for a week or two to get the hang of everything.
The Frequency of Meditation
The frequency and how long should you meditate primarily depend on the type of result you wish to experience. Is your goal to reduce anxiety? Is it to improve your mood or focus? Understanding your reason to meditate can be a great start to knowing whether performing 5 minutes or 10 minutes of meditation practice is going to be useful and/or enough for you. Shorter meditations are going to help reduce your stress among providing other benefits. Moreover, try to perform meditation 4-5 days a week to form a lasting habit.
What Time of Day Should You Meditate?
Well, the truth is, there is no set time of day to meditate. You should not pressure yourself to constantly think about how long should meditate or plan a long session. You can do it anytime you want. However, figuring out when it suits you depends on a variety of different things.
And the most important factor to consider is your schedule. If you work 9-5, then you're going to have to plan your daily meditation sessions either in the office during your break or after you get home and have dinner, or before you have dinner.
However, if you want to get the best out of meditation and focus, it is recommended that you meditate in the morning. There are two reasons why we believe you might love to meditate in the morning. First of all, morning meditation can be an excellent way to promote self-care and you won't have to worry about allotting time to meditate during your entire day.
Lastly, meditating in the morning is a great way to calm yourself, increase your concentration, and release any negative energy before you go in for a busy day at work. Try doing it for a few weeks to reap the full benefits.
All in all, if you are a beginner at meditating, it's alright to meditate for a short amount of time every day. You aren't obligated to sit in a corner for hours, breathing in and out. Take your time to meditate, get used to it, and then you will see the benefits of your labour. So, begin your journey to heightened awareness and everlasting calm today!