Is There a Best Time to Meditate?
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a powerful mind and body tool that involves training the mind to achieve long-lasting mental clarity, balance, and mindfulness. It has been proven to be an effective way to manage stress, anxiety, depression, and promote overall well-being.
The emotional benefits of meditation may include:
- Increasing self-awareness
- Building skills to manage your stress
- Managing negative emotions
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
- Being aware of the present
- Increasing patience and tolerance
- Increasing imagination and creativity
Research has shown that meditation may be useful in conditions, especially those worsened by stress and anxiety. With that in mind, some research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:
- Sleep problems
- Tension headaches
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic pain
Although meditation has shown many emotional, mental, and physical health benefits, this practice isn’t a replacement for traditional medical treatment.
When is the Best Time to Meditate for Optimized Health?
According to Lynne Lauren, the author of Meditation Plain & Simple, meditation can be practiced at your own pace at your own time. A good meditation time also depends on what you want to achieve. This is especially true if the purpose of the practice is health optimization. Here are some of the best time to meditate:
- After waking up when the mind is fresh. This way, you can set the tone for the day.
- When you feel anxious or stressed. When you feel pressured or anxious, for instance, at work, doing a quick meditation like focusing on breathing may help relieve anxiety.
- During your break. Doing meditation during this time may help you feel more relaxed and ease the tension from stressful events.
- After work. Meditation after work is a great way to end the day and set a natural boundary between professional and personal life. This way, you will be more in the present.
The key is to meditate at the time of the day that suits you best, whether it is in the morning or the evening.
When Not to Meditate?
Meditation is not recommended right before bedtime. Although meditation is relaxing, it should not be mistaken as a method of relaxation. During meditation, you don’t put yourself in a sleepy state. To meditate, you have to relax first to clear your mind and be fully aware of the present.
How Often Should I Meditate?
Just like in any discipline, consistency yields the optimum results. However, meditating regularly is not viable, given the busy schedule and commitments. Three to five times per week would be a good starting point for beginners. No matter how frequent you meditate, it will still have a beneficial effect, and the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.
How Long Should I Meditate?
If you are a beginner, 5-10 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day could be a good start. On the other hand, Transcendental Meditation (TM) typically takes 20 minutes twice a day during the morning and night.
Practicing meditation, even for a short period of time, can still provide benefits. A study on non-experienced meditators has revealed that even a short duration of daily meditation practice can have similar behavioral effects as those who practice longer and higher-intensity mediation practices. You can start with a 10-min meditation and gradually increase the duration to 30-45 minutes as you go along.
How do I Start?
There are more than 10 types of meditation, but most rely on four elements basic elements:
- a quiet area with as few distractions as possible
- a comfortable posture such as sitting, walking, or lying down
- focused attention on the breathing, a mantra, or an object
- an open attitude without judgment
With these four elements, you can start meditating at your own time. Start by finding a quiet spot. You don’t need a meditation room; just a nice comfortable area would suffice. Take deep breaths and focus on your breathing and the airflow. Be mindful of your thoughts as you go. If you notice your mind drifting, simply go back without judging yourself.
Meditation is a beneficial practice for overall health. While some experts recommend meditating before sunrise and sunset, meditating on your own time provides many benefits, especially when combined with exercise and a healthy diet. Always consult your doctor before using meditation for severe health conditions.
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