Meditation has only recently become a helpful habit that helps people live presently. Still, the reality is that it has been around for centuries, and its benefits have been enjoyed, especially in the Eastern world. Meditation helps to reduce stress, improve mental health, and stop a wandering mind. With the stressful lifestyles many of us are leading, some time off the world can only do good. But the reality is that we are living in a world where stress and work seem to go hand in hand and where life seems to run at a pace that doesn’t allow us to access our inner peace. All the responsibilities on top of you and your daily preoccupations might not leave space to meditation nor yoga. But do you have to set apart the right amount of time to meditate effectively? In this essential guide, we will answer the fundamental question many ask themselves: “how long should you meditate for to see results?”
Why do people give up on meditation?
Many don’t even consider starting meditation with the excuse that they don’t have the time to dedicate to it. Others simply think that only yogis or hippies meditate. Well, as you might guess, such claims are wrong. Meditation is something that everyone can benefit from, you only have to do it in the right way to see the benefits. But fortunately, it’s easy to learn the right way to meditate by following guided meditations.
In reality, the most practical reason why many feel they cannot meditate is that after a while, they get bored or tired of practicing. Indeed, it can be extremely challenging to start meditating, especially when practicing for longer periods. You’re trying to deal with your mind and thoughts, which you would surprise to learn is not something we are very used to do. But will progress in meditation only come if you should meditate for longer periods to see some progress?
The meditation teachers you choose can also play a role in how long you meditate and whether or not you give up on a meditation practice. Mindfulness meditation can be a relaxing experience with the right guide. If you learn to incorporate meditation into your daily life when feeling anxious during the work day, it may become easier for you to meditate for longer periods of time. A meditation app like Declutter The Mind can allow you to meditate at home where you feel most comfortable, such as a bed, on a couch, or in a bean bag chair. When you feel comfortable in your space, you’re more likely to try a mindfulness practice for a long period and less likely to give up on it.
You will find out that meditation can be more accessible than you thought. Keep reading to discover everything you should know about the meditation practice and its duration as well as how to measure your progress without getting things wrong.
How long should you meditate for?
How long should you meditate for is arguably one of the most asked questions for everyone interested in starting meditation. With much-praising meditation, from millionaires to celebrities, it is common to be curious about it for its several benefits. As said before, many are concerned not to have enough time to spend in “clearing up your mind.” The reality is that no matter how much time you spend meditating, everything can be helpful if done correctly. After all, something is better than nothing, right?
For those looking to a straight-up answer to the question “how long should you meditate for?”the answer is that it depends on multiple factors. You might need a twenty minute loving-kindness meditation after an argument with a friend to cool off and try to repair the friendship. You might only need to meditate for five minutes during a morning meditation to help you set the right tone for the day. And if you’re going through some highly difficult period in your life a one-hour meditation practice might be what you need. Or maybe you’d consider a meditation retreat for a week where all you do is silently meditate for seven days straight. How long should you meditate for will depend on the urgency in your suffering and how much time you need to get back to the present and feel at peace of mind.
There have been several studies on meditation. Different institutes have come up with different ideas about the standard (or ideal) duration of a meditation session. But let’s summarize the most exciting findings.
Some claim that when you have enough experience, the optimal length of time to meditate is 40 to 45 minutes every day, broken into two daily sessions of about 20 minutes each. Others suggest that shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes during the day can be more productive. But the real answer regarding how long you should meditate for of course dependent on your personal situation. Meditation’s success and benefit do not rely on numbers. Instead, it depends on the person’s intention. This is why it is best to meditate for as long as you can and how long it makes you comfortable. Finally, it also depends on the types of meditation you are practicing. A vipassana meditation practice might be longer than a loving-kindness meditation practice.
Of course, if you are just starting, start with baby steps. Even 5 minutes might seem very long when trying to meditate.
So, How long should you meditate for? If you’re just starting out and learning, start with 5-10 minutes a day. As you gain more experience and comfort with the practice, increase to 20 minutes a day. And when really want to set the bar to challenge yourself, consider a week-long retreat or an hour-long mindfulness meditation session at home.
How long you should meditate for depends on your experience
Even if it sounds easy, sitting quietly for prolonged periods is not as simple, especially considering you need to be present when it’s happening instead of lost in your mind.
Try to set some time for yourself to dedicate to daily meditation, but keep in mind that initially, your mind might not be ready to work for longer sessions. To start with, spending 5 minutes per day will be more than enough. When you feel ready, you can gradually increase the duration to practice mindfulness for longer. Concentrating can be hard, and as a beginner, you can try practicing several times per day for a few minutes to gain some familiarity with the meditation experience.
After gaining reasonable control over your thoughts during meditation, you can try to practice for up to 20minutes per session. You’ll notice that you are ready to progress to a deep breath when you can concentrate after a few minutes of warm-up.
Those who are more experienced with meditation can do it for even longer than 30 minutes and start concentrating after a few seconds. Of course, if you are just beginning, imposing yourself to meditate for so long can only be counterproductive, so do shorter sessions. Remember that those who can sit still for long have trained little by little for years to get to where they are now. Don’t feel discouraged, look forward to what’ll be possible with practice.
Don’t worry about how much time you spend meditating. Your commitment to the practice will lead to great results and will make you continue progressing. What’s more important when you’re learning to meditate and just starting out is frequency. The more consistent you are, and the longer you stick with the practice, the more success you’ll have.
Finally, if you go on a meditation retreat, you’ll find yourself meditating for hour long chunks, several times a say. So the optimal length also depends on your goal and commitment. But of course, you can always start with a free meditation app like Declutter The Mind.
Minimum meditation length to see benefits
As mentioned, no matter the amount of time you have at disposal, meditation can be useful if you do it with the right mindset and intentionally. To get the most out of it, you should try to practice meditation daily if you can. Instead of focusing on how much time you are meditating for, you should assess the quality of your sessions, to have an opinion on their effectiveness. Long periods of a meditation playing while you’re daydreaming about some fantasy isn’t actually meditation.
You might want to clarify to yourself the results you are looking for from meditation to have a better view of your progress. Do you want to meditate to find your inner peace or to reduce anxiety or stress? Or are you meditating to find deeper meaning? With clear goals in mind, you will have an easier time to achieve the results you are looking for.
The scientific benefits of meditation, and studies around it, show that as little as 20 minutes per day of meditation can result in considerable benefits, including the enhancement of brain function and the improvement of your overall mental health. Start with little time, and gradually increase the duration of your session when you feel more comfortable. Indeed, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of meditation no matter your sessions’ duration.
Some of the benefits of meditation when practiced in your daily routine include self care, enhanced attention, better focus, reduced anxiety, and more mindfulness.
All you need to do is to sit in a comfortable position or meditation posture, somewhere rather quiet and close your eyes. Remember that there is not one single way deemed right when it comes to meditation. People are different and need different times to get familiar with meditating. To start with, aim to gain awareness about your mind and thoughts and don’t push yourself too far. A few minutes a day are more than enough. Also, to keep focus and to reach results. Don’t forget to have it very clear what is that you want to achieve with meditation.
A daily practice helps lengthen the time
A regular practice of meditation each day will help you get better at focusing on the present. So, when you meditate daily, it’s only natural that eventually you’ll start meditating for longer durations.
To reap the maximum benefit of meditation, it’s less about the length of time you practice but fostering a habit of it instead. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, a 10-minute meditation might help you doze off. It doesn’t need to be an hour long session before bed.
A regular practice of meditation will help you stay present on a busy day and improve your overall well being. So, consider making this a consistent habit if your goal is to improve the length of time you meditate. After all, while it’s great to stay present alongside an app, life can be much more beautiful when you stay present in the moment when with family and friends. So when the mind wanders during practice, keep at it, because it’ll just mean that you’ll become better at being present at the right moment and that’s the most important thing.
The bottom line
People who decide to meditate do so for different reasons. Meditation teaches patience and acceptance, but most of all, it brings out the best version of yourself: more relaxed, gentler, and kinder. But also more connected with yourself, therefore more aware of your actions and thoughts.
It might be worth stressing that you will not see results immediately: patience is key with meditation. For those asking themselves how long enough it is for meditation sessions, the answer is not as simple as you might have wished for.
As you might have learned by now, there is no standard time to guarantee a productive meditation session. Effectiveness lays behind the quality, not quantity. If you can, meditate when you are sure you won’t have to deal with interruptions or outside noise. Many prefer meditating in the morning or before going to bed, but if you can, try to incorporate short sessions throughout your day to clear up your mind and release some of the stress.
Remember that everyone is different, with unique strengths and weaknesses, and a personality that might require different session durations. Thus, it is hard to give you clear guidelines on the ideal meditation session, as it all comes down to your own needs and patience.
Try not to be too tough on yourself and be aware that meditating can be a challenge, especially for beginners. If you feel you don’t have enough time for meditation, do it for 2-5 minutes a day, whenever you can, and with consistency, you’ll start seeing results.