We are often told that the ancient practice of meditation is a good practice to incorporate into our daily lives to help with emotional and mental health. There are also many resources available to help us with the process that ranges from apps to YouTube videos to in-person meditation groups or Zoom calls.
Millions (especially over the pandemic) have begun the practice albeit with varying degrees of success.
While some seem to say seamlessly fall into the practice, others may struggle to get into the groove. Some may find it easier to sit through long periods of meditation while even five minutes is a challenge for others. What then is the best way forward? How long should we really meditate for and how often, for it to yield results?
How much meditation is enough and how often should we be meditating?
There is really no set answer as to how long someone must meditate to begin experiencing the benefits of this practice.
It all depends on the personal needs of the individual how much time is available to that person. Environmental factors such as whether the person lives alone in a quiet space or with noisy roommates etc also play a part.
While the length of the meditation period is important, so too is the quality of the meditation itself. For example, attempting to meditate for 45 minutes with constant interruptions and distractions may not be as beneficial as meditating for 15 minutes without any distractions.
Even a 5-minute meditation when practised with focus and commitment can have similar benefits to longer sessions.
The golden rule of thumb, therefore, is not the length of the meditation for the sake of it but the quality of it.
Secondly, what of the question of how often?
Generally speaking, meditation is a cumulative process and not a once-only solution to problems.
So, there is no singular answer to the question, “how often should I meditate?” This should provide some relief, knowing that there are numerous ways to go about it.
According to experts, meditating for 20 minutes 3x per day is equal to someone meditating just once but for a whole, consecutive 60 minutes. This means you can fit meditation into the breaks you have in your schedule pretty easily.
Regardless of your particular lifestyle, it’s possible to fit meditation into the spaces where it best suits you.
If you get two 15-minute breaks at work during the day and an hour lunch break, you could meditate for 10 minutes during each of those break periods and wind up with 30 minutes of meditation time without any other changes to your routine.
If even a 10-minute meditation 3x daily feels to be too much for you right now, cut each session in half as you get used to the practice.
Even 5-minute meditations practised regularly add up to something.
In other words, meditation works best when you make it work for you!