One of the burning questions of new meditation practitioners is how long should they meditate daily in order to produce noticeable results. That’s because it’s hard to know if you’re making headway in meditation, especially if you’re meditating on your own.
In my previous post, Ellie, a mother of two asked also shared the same curiosity. My answer to her was it generally takes one to two months before you can actually ‘feel’ improvements emotionally or mentally. I’m definitely speaking from my point of view, and that lead me to seek out more information on how long meditation sessions should really be for new practitioners.
When it comes to meditation, you’ll want to consider consistency and the duration of each time you meditate. By consistency, I’m talking about having a daily meditation routine. It’s important to meditate on a daily basis in order to build up momentum and to condition your mind to meditation.
For each session, I’ll suggest starting with 5 minutes each if you’re a beginner who never meditated before. After a week, you should gradually increase the duration to 15 minutes as your mind get used to the practice.
You can increase the meditation duration by 1-2 minutes daily until you’re comfortable with a minimum of 15 minutes of meditation each day.
Make 15 minutes the minimum meditation session because that’s the minimum amount of time for regular people to calm down their mind during sitting or walking meditation. If you persist with shorter sessions, you will be making minimal progress.
For significant changes, you’ll need to remain disciplined in the practice for at least two months. You’ll find that it is easier to calm your mind and focus as the session progresses. If you’re attentive, you may also find that you’re less reactive to negative thoughts in daily life too.
Science has taken an interest in the ancient practice and meditation and researchers have uncovered some amazing phenomenons that happen to the brain when meditating on a regular basis.
If you read my post on the 31 benefits of meditation, you would notice that I dedicated a section on how it changes our brain structure. I think the best way to back up verbal testimonial is to have some scientific images of meditator’s brain before and after meditation.
This is a result of a study performed by Harvard University where 16 people are given an 8-weeks mindfulness-based stress reduction practice. The people in this group are required to do an average of 27 minutes of guided mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness practice every day.
After 8 weeks of mindfulness practice. Gray matter volume increases in the brain region related to learning and memory, emotion regulation, sense of self, and perspective taking. For more details of this study, read this article by Dr. Kevin Chen).
Meditation has been known to help relieve anxiety attack when practiced under the guidance of therapist or meditation teachers. Anxiety disorder is becoming more common among global populations and it will be interesting to find out how effective is meditation as a self-help treatment.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center conducted a specific study to study the areas of the brain that were activated and deactivated during meditation-related anxiety relief. The study found that the anterior cingulate cortex, a primary region believed to relieve anxiety, was activated when subjects participated in four 20 minutes sessions of mindfulness meditation.
While the result may not always be identical, an anxiety sufferer managed to stop the anxiety attacks after just two weeks of practicing meditation.
You just read that it takes around 1 to 2 months for you to enjoy the benefits of meditation and that’s assuming that you’re meditating at least 15 minutes daily.
With that said, it’s important not to be obsessed about the time when you meditate. Don’t turn your meditation into a series of thoughts like “Is it 10 minutes already? or 5?” and keep having the urge to look at the clock.
That’s not meditating, but a series of intentional thinking. And it’s one of the common obstacles that new meditators find themselves in. If you need to know how long you have meditated in a session, you can use a timer from one of the many meditation apps around.
Over To You :
How long did you meditate daily? Does it translate into progress for you? Share your thoughts on your meditation experience in the comment below.
I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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