How Long Should You Meditate Daily To Get Effective Results

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.

Consistency And Session Duration Matters In Meditation

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.

What Meditation Experts Say About How Much You Should Meditate

  • When asked the question of “how long should I meditate” by practitioners, Bodhipaksa of Wildmind Buddhist Meditation stated that “any amount of meditation is better than none”. Here’s the full article.
  • Giovanni Dientsmann, a meditation teacher at LiveAndDare.com started with 20 minutes of meditation every day.
  • In, Mindfulness In Plain Englishby Bhante Gunaratana advised beginners to start with 20-30 minutes session and gradually extend it to an hour after a year.
  • If you find 20 minutes of meditation difficult when you’re starting out, it’s ok to start with 5-10 minutes, according to Morgan Dix, who’s been meditating for more than 20 years.

How Your Brain Changes After 8 Weeks Of Meditation

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.

How Long Should You Meditate Daily

Photo Taken From yang-sheng.com

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. 

Stop Worrying About The Time When You Meditate

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.

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About the Author

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.

Leave a Reply 26 comments

Jojo - October 10, 2016 Reply

I could certainly use meditation. I have problems with stress and anxiety and also problems to concentrate. I often get distracted when I do something and then I unmotivated and try to do something else. In other words it is hard to focus on something. Could meditation help me with this??
I also wonder, when you are really stressed, how can you calm down enough to start the meditation? I mean it must be important to concentrate in order to meditate. I have only tried meditation a few times and those times I had the guidance of an instructor.
Thank you for a great post.

    Kenny Lee - October 10, 2016 Reply

    Hi Jojo,

    Meditation does help with focus. But you need to give it time. You can check out some helpful guided meditation audio in my post here. This will help you to focus.

    As for meditating after a stressful days, I know it can be tough. You can try some helpful tips here.

    Hope it helps.

    Cheers,

    Kenny

Fray - October 10, 2016 Reply

Hi Kenny,

I’ve dabbled with various techniques and methods over the years, but I’ve never really lasted more than a few months. I find Headspace to be very soothing, and it always calms me down, but I just can’t seem to stick with it for great lengths of time.

The one thing that I have had great success with, and which helps with my writing and creativity is listening to Binaural Beats. I find a good track, regardless of the frequency, will completely zone me out. My mind goes totally blank, and I experience a beautiful sensation of complete nothingness.

When I come around I feel amazing, and my creative juices are free flowing again.

I’m not sure if that is classic meditation like you’re describing, but it certainly works for me. Is it just a placebo? Who knows? But to be honest, I don’t really care as the benefits I receive are worth it.

Do you have much experience with Binaural Beats?

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Fray,

    I’ve experienced binaural beats before. It works wonder like you said. Good for relaxation. If relaxation is all that you crave, then by all mean go for that.

    But if you are looking to build mindfulness, concentration or other benefits here, then I suggest you do meditation (Headspace) after listening to binaural beats. It will help.

    Cheers,
    Kenny

Marlinda Davis - October 10, 2016 Reply

Oh wow, it looks like I need to start meditating. I think I’ll bookmark your page.

I have to say that I’m not a big fan of brown color schemes but I love yours and how your picture design compliments it so well.

Good information and question response. Its always good to see someone so invested in helping their readers. tfs 🙂

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Marlinda,

    Thanks for loving my site. Do let me know if you need further info on meditation.

    Cheers,

    Kenny

Hannah - October 10, 2016 Reply

This is so helpful,. I have been trying to do 15 or 20 minutes of meditation every night before I go to sleep. I’ve been so much calmer and more positive, to the point that I’ve actually seen some major changes start to occur in my life!

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hannah,

    I’m happy to hear good things are happening to you in your life. Do keep it up.

    Cheers,
    Kenny

valia - October 10, 2016 Reply

I like this; very informative. I like the different sections. I have been meditating for a while but it is a good reminder of certain things.
thank you
vee

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Valia,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Kenny

Toni - October 10, 2016 Reply

I think this is a wonderful post, and it helps to remind people they need to literally “stop and smell the roses” from time to time. I love the quote too! Yes, people can and should meditate, and they can begin just about anywhere even if only for a few minutes at a time. From there, they can build up to 10 or even 20 minutes a day.

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Toni,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. Meditation requires commitment before anything starts to happen. May people don’t realise that. That said, we shouldn’t force ourselves to meditate. Instead, set an intention to do so and follow through.

    Cheers,
    Kenny

Kevin Pola - October 10, 2016 Reply

I have always been interested in meditation and alternative means of managing stress and quality of life. It has been a long time since I last meditated and I am thinking very seriously of getting back into it. You have a lot of great tips on how do start again. I find it very hard to concentrate and read where it is better not to fight the random thoughts that keep interupting meditation. What is your view on this. Thanks for a dreat post. Cheers Kev

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Kevin,

    Don’t fight the random thoughts that interrupts you. It won’t work and meditation it’s not about that. Instead when your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breathing or meditation objects. Mentally note that you are “thinking”.

    Keep doing this and you feel your mind gets tamer. Forcing it only leads to frustration.

    Hope it helps.
    Cheers,

    Kenny

Rosa - October 10, 2016 Reply

Hi Kenny,

Thank you for sharing. With the busy schedule most people have, they find it hard to make time for meditation. Each day brings so much stress and frustration sometimes due to the day’s activity I can see how meditation can help one overcome the stress and bring a more calm way of life. Great post!

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Rosa,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The harder we find time to meditate, the more we need to make time for meditation.

    Cheers,
    Kenny

Sarah Prince - October 10, 2016 Reply

I’ve just started a meditation routine and have been at 20 minutes now for a couple of weeks. I saw improvement right from the start even with 5-10 minutes. I’m no expert, but I love the benefits already!

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Sarah,

    It’s great that you are gaining much from the meditation. What specifically improves in your life?

    Cheers,
    Kenny

Melanie - October 11, 2016 Reply

I found this really interesting because I started meditation recently because of anxiety. I sometimes do wonder if it is really working on me , because yes, I am either asleep or restless after 10 min. Sometimes before! The cushion for the back is really helpful to know too. thanks

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Melanie,

    If you are new to meditation, I’ll suggest trying guided meditation before the unguided practice. It will help to ease your mind so meditation becomes easier.

    Read this. How Guided Meditation Audio Helps Kickstart Mindfulness Practice

    Hope it helps.

    Cheers,

    Kenny

Liz - October 11, 2016 Reply

I have meditated for years and I agree that the first 10 minutes is like a warm up, and I have noticed that the more I meditate the more I notice that this is the case.

Do you ever use binaural beats to enhance your meditation experience? I actually found using sound technology changed everything for me and made meditation much easier and I noticed more measurable results. What are your thoughts on this?

    Kenny Lee - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Liz,

    I’ve experienced binaural beats prior to meditation. It works wonder especially you are stressed. I’ll say it complements meditation well. But should never replace the actual practice itself.

    Check my post here Best Ways To Meditate At Home When You Are Tired and Stressed.

    Cheers,

    Kenny

Heine - October 11, 2016 Reply

Hi Kenny,

Thank you for the advice about meditation for Panic Attacks.

I am going to follow the steps for at least two weeks 😉

Heine

    Kenny Lee - October 12, 2016 Reply

    Heine,

    Do let me know how does it go for you after 2 weeks.

    Cheers,
    Kenny

Lawrence - October 11, 2016 Reply

Hey Kenny =)

Really enjoyed reading this post because meditation is such an important practice to get into.

I meditate for 20 minutes every day and I feel wonderful. It’s definitely down to consistency =)

Thanks again for another useful post which will helps lots of people!

    Kenny Lee - October 12, 2016 Reply

    Hi Lawrence,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Cheers,
    Kenny

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