How Long Should You Meditate to Get the Best Results?

Published by Olivier Devroede

When you first start meditating, it might seem like there’s a lot to think about. Whether you’re doing it properly, spending enough time, or increasing your daily frequency, far too many answers are left up in the air. If you want to get the most out of meditation, you’re in the right place.

To get the best results, you should meditate for 5 to 10 minutes in the beginning. Once you’re more experienced, you can increase the limit to 15 to 30 minutes. The quality of meditation is more important than the duration. Try to relax and stay calm instead of binding yourself to time constraints.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following information about getting the best results from your meditation sessions:

  • How long and how often you should be meditating
  • Building blocks to meditating properly
  • Working around busy work schedules to meditate enough

Does Meditating Longer Lead to Better Results?

Doing 5 to 10 minutes of meditation a day is sufficient to begin.

According to NCBI, there aren’t many links between the longevity of meditation sessions and the acquired results. There wasn’t enough information during the study to determine if the brain benefits from long sessions compared to short, 5-minute sessions. However, there’s no denying that the act of meditation provides many benefits.

So, what’s the purpose of meditating for more time than you have to? Here are several reasons:

  • Meditation is relaxing, so you’ll be able to lower your current blood pressure and soak at the moment. One of the main reasons that so many people start their journey of meditation is that it’s calming. If you’re stressed throughout the day, then a long meditation session can prove helpful.
  • Long-term meditation allows you to focus on yourself and sort your thoughts. In a time when we’re all constantly moving and paying attention to social media, it’s nice to focus your attention inward. You don’t need to aim for a certain amount of minutes if you’re able to clear your mind.
  • It brightens and elevates your mood. Although there’s no research about the time of meditation, there’s plenty to back up the claim that meditation can make you relaxed and happier. It only seems likely that doing something for 5 to 10 minutes would be even better if you could stretch it out a bit more.
  • Meditation allows you to enjoy privacy for a long time. Most people who meditate start by closing their bedroom door and playing soft music. Whatever your routine involves, meditation is a one-on-one experience with yourself. Sometimes, a little bit of privacy and oneness is the best result of all.

As you can see, meditation offers plenty of benefits, especially when you do it for longer. Although the studies haven’t proven such research, countless practitioners will vouch for this claim.

However, research had shown that long time meditators have a much better reaction to stress. Here, there was a clear relationship between the number of years the person had meditated and his or her ability to cope with stress.

So this means that 5 to 10 minutes a day, over many years, leads to a compound effect of results!

To get you started, just meditate along with the following guided mindfulness meditation.

The Golden Standard

Meditation between 5 to 15 minutes is an excellent way to start, maintain, or finish your day. Whether you’re clearing your thoughts or trying to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, you should focus on the golden standard of the aforementioned time length.

Since most exercise programs take about 30 to 60 minutes, work is often 8 hours long, and other time constraints seem even more limiting, it can be frustrating to try to fit meditation into your schedule. However, such a short amount of time is plenty enough for most people.

We all have 5, 10, or 15 minutes to spare. However, most of us spend it watching TV while trying to wind down from a busy day at work. Did you know that TV can keep your mind racing, but meditation can do the opposite?

If You Have No Time

Everybody is on a tight schedule. But everybody has 5 to 10 minutes to spare to meditate. Photo by Andrey Grushnikov from Pexels

But what if you don’t have enough time? The vast majority of people can spare 5 to 15 minutes, but if you’re always occupied, you’re not out of luck. 

Try one of these three helpful methods of meditation:

  • Meditate while you’re doing mindless activities. Some examples include jogging, stretching, brushing your teeth, or cooking. You don’t need to be in a perfect pose with your eye closed to meditate.
  • As suggested by Yoga International, we can eliminate excuses. After working all day at work, it might seem like a time-consuming activity to go meditate. However, you’d be surprised how relaxing it is. After all, kicking off your shoes and sitting on the couch has proven comfortable, but nothing beats meditation.
  • Split your meditation sessions throughout the day. If you’re not able to sit down for 15 minutes in a row, consider planning a few 5 minutes sessions. On the other hand, you could also meditate during your lunch break at work or right before you go to sleep.
  • Do it first thing when you wake up or the last thing when going to sleep. This is the way I start and end all my days! I wake up, stay in bed, and do a short 5-minute breathing meditation. I do the same when going to bed. I lie down and become aware of my body and emotions and follow up with meditation. This one can be longer, depending on how fast I fall asleep.

When You Become an Expert

Expert meditators like monks can spend many hours a day doing meditation.

Once you’ve become an expert at meditation, you’ll definitely enjoy longer sessions. (You might even be tempted to organize an at-home retreat or take an online course where longer meditations are involved) Rather than feeling complicated or confusing about how you’re supposed to do it, you’ll be able to focus on your thoughts. Remember that meditation is an ever-evolving process. You’ll never be an ‘expert’ to the point where you can void your mind of thoughts entirely.

What’s more, you will start to feel the benefits of your meditations and you will start to enjoy the process of doing them. This will give you ample motivation to continue doing the meditation and to start having longer sessions.

Once you’ve become an expert at meditation, you’ll definitely enjoy longer sessions. Rather than feeling complicated or confusing about how you’re supposed to do it, you’ll be able to focus on your thoughts. Remember that meditation is an ever-evolving process. You’ll never be an ‘expert’ to the point where you can void your mind of thoughts entirely.

If you’re able to fit more time in your schedule, then it’s a good idea to meditate as much as you can. Don’t look at it as a necessary chore, but rather a worthwhile, self-improvement pass time. 

The benefits of meditation are endless, but it doesn’t feel exhausting as other forms of exercise do. Meditation is a mental exercise, almost like stretching for the mind.

Beginners should shoot for short time periods to get comfortable and avoid feeling forced, but experts can go as long as they’d like. Many people meditate for 30 to 60 minutes, while some do even more. Remember that you don’t have to meditate all at once, nor do you have to stick to an exact time every day.

How Often Should You Meditate?

Meditation should be fun. So do it as often as you want. But do not try to overdo it. You risk having a meditation burn-out.

Meditation should be performed daily, if possible. Chopra suggests that the benefits continue to grow as you maintain a routine. Again, it doesn’t have to be at the same time every day. Try to meditate sometime during the day for 6 to 7 days of the week.

Another quick tip is to meditate in short sessions throughout the day. Instead of trying to fit a one-hour session in the morning, you can do a bunch of 15 to 20-minute meditation sessions. This technique is better for time-sensitive schedules, but it’s also more beneficial to keep your mind relaxed.

Think of meditation as a trash bin for your cluttered thoughts. If you let them pile up for too long, you’ll start feeling stress. By relieving the mental clutter and tossing it in the trash a few times each day, there’s no way that you’ll feel overwhelmed.

Meditation is different for everyone. Some people dive right in without an issue, spending hours each day on the activity. On the other hand, it often takes beginners a few weeks or months to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t feel like you’re competing or aiming for a number. Focus on the personal growth and mind-cleansing aspects before anything else.

Conclusion

Many experts believe that meditation should be performed for 5 to 15 minutes daily for beginners. If you’re not able to meet those recommendations, do whatever works best for your schedule.

Here’s a recap of the post:

  • Try to meditate a few times throughout the day rather than all at once.
  • Long-term meditation can prove beneficial for mental clarity and stress relief.
  • You don’t need the perfect environment to start meditating right away.

Featured photo by samer daboul from Pexels

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Olivier Devroede

Hi, I’m Olivier Devroede and I have been meditating seriously since 2009. Due to the great benefits I have seen in meditating, I decided to become an MBSR trainer myself and start a blog.

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