Meditation is a powerful tool that can help improve your mental and physical well-being. While it has been around for thousands of years, it has gained significant popularity recently due to its many benefits and accessibility.
One of the most common questions that people ask about meditation is “how long should you meditate for?”, especially when first getting started with the practice.
The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it may seem, it actually depends on many factors. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you determine how long to meditate, which we’ll go over later.
In this article, we will share with you:
- What is meditation?
- What are the benefits of meditation?
- How long should I meditate?
- The benefits of short meditation sessions
- The benefits of long meditation sessions
- How to find the right amount of time to meditate for you
Let’s dive right in.
What is meditation?
Before talking about how long should you meditate, it is essential first to know a little bit more about what meditation is.
Meditation is a practice that involves focusing your mind on a specific thought, action, or object to achieve a state of calmness and relaxation.
Although there are many, some common types of meditation include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Guided meditation
- Visualization Meditation
- Vipassana Meditation
- Japa Mala Meditation
- Body Scan Meditation
Check out this section on our site to learn more about different ways to meditate.
What are the benefits of meditation?
There are many benefits to meditation.
For those wanting to know how long should you meditate, it can be important to know that, no matter the length, meditation can:
- Reduce stress and anxiety: taking a few minutes to focus on breathing and letting go of thoughts can immediately calm the mind and body.
- Improve focus and concentration: meditation can help clear the mind and improve concentration before a meeting, exam, or any task that requires you to focus.
- Increase self-awareness: meditation is great to help cultivate self-awareness and mindfulness. This can help you better understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, leading to improved relationships and a better sense of self.
- Improve sleep: meditation sessions before bedtime can help calm your mind and promote relaxation. This can improve the quality of sleep and overall well-being.
- Enhance emotional stability: regular meditation can help improve emotional stability and reduce mood swings. It can be a powerful tool to help regulate emotions and maintain a positive outlook.
- Improve immune system function: regular meditation practice, especially longer sessions, has been linked to improved immune system function, which may help protect against illness and disease.
- Enhance creativity: meditating can help improve creativity and inspire new ideas by clearing the mind and encouraging a more open and receptive state of being.
How long should you meditate?
The short answer to the question “How long should I meditate?” is that there is no right or wrong amount of time to meditate.
We know that this isn’t exactly helpful, but the truth is, some people benefit from meditating for long periods, while others find that short sessions are just as effective for them.
The most important thing when deciding how long to meditate is to find an amount of time that works for you and stick with it for a while.If you are new to meditation, starting with very short sessions of even one or two minutes is recommended, as silly as it may seem. How long you should meditate for also depends on your individual needs and goals, lifestyle, and preferences.
When they begin meditation, most people realize their mind starts to wander only a few seconds into the practice. Know that, with its cumulative effects, meditation will become increasingly more accessible to do for longer periods of time, the more often you practice.
As you become more comfortable with meditation, you can gradually increase the length of your sessions to 10, 15, 20 minutes, or even more, but as you’ll see in the sections below, meditating for a shorter period of time also has many benefits.
The benefits of short meditation sessions
Even short meditation sessions can have a great number of benefits for the practitioner.
For example, a study published in the magazine Mindfulness found that just 5 minutes of meditation per day can reduce stress and anxiety.
Another study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, found that just 10 minutes of meditation can improve focus and concentration.
The benefits of long meditation sessions
Longer meditation sessions can offer even more benefits because the effects increase the more you meditate.
How to find the right amount of time to meditate for you
The best way to find out how long should you meditate is to experiment, and remember that ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer to how long to meditate; it is about finding what feels right for you.
1# Set Your Intention
The most important thing whether you choose to meditate for 3 minutes or for 30, is to know why you want to meditate. The purpose of your meditation is a major factor to consider.
Some people meditate for stress relief, while others do it to increase focus or for spiritual reasons.
Setting a Sankalpa can help you stay committed to your meditation practice, especially at those times when you feel like skipping.
Depending on your objective, how long you should meditate will vary. For example, if you aim to increase your focus, you may want to meditate for longer periods, while for stress relief, shorter periods may be sufficient.
2# Session Length
Experiment with different lengths of time when you’re choosing how long to meditate.
Starting small will give you a chance to get used to the practice and see how it makes you feel.
Some find that they benefit from meditating for long periods of time, while others find that short sessions are just as effective. There is no right or wrong answer; find what feels right for you.
Once you have become more comfortable with meditation, you can gradually increase the length of your sessions and see how it feels.
3# Be Patient
It takes time to develop a meditation practice.
Don’t get too discouraged if you don’t see results immediately, or if you skip a few days. It’s part of the practice!
Just keep coming back to it and you will feel the benefits of meditation.
4# Develop The Habit
The best way to make meditation a part of your life is to make it a habit. Schedule time for meditation each day and stick to it.
The more you meditate, the more benefits you will experience.
5# Find A Style That Works
Some people prefer to meditate in silence, while others prefer to listen to guided meditations.
The type of meditation you are doing can influence how long you should meditate.
Different meditation techniques call for different time frames. For example, transcendental meditation recommends meditating for 20 minutes twice a day.
On the other hand, mindfulness meditation advocates for shorter, regular bursts of three to five minutes throughout the day.
There are many different meditation styles, and it would be a shame not to explore some of them until you find some that work for you.
6# Find A Meditation Community
Meditating with others can help you stay motivated and on track.
There are many meditation groups and classes available at yoga studios as well as other in-person locations, but there are also many online communities and platforms with folks on a similar path and with aligned interests that want to connect and build accountability.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you struggle to find the right amount of time to meditate, there are many meditation teachers and resources available to help you get started.
Meditation is a powerful tool that can help you improve your mental and physical well-being.
How long should you meditate is a question that ultimately, only you can answer.
Your intention is what matters most, and just like you, it may change often and it can vary through the seasons of your life, meaning that how long you should meditate will actually evolve with your Sankalpa.
As you explore different styles of meditation that you align with, you may find that how long to meditate for is already dictated by the style, while other types of contemplative practices are more flexible on the length.
Just a few minutes of meditation each day can make a big difference, and the benefits are cumulative and many.
You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it and how quickly you notice its effects in your daily life when you commit.
For more on how to get started with meditation, check out this article about the best meditation apps.