How long must you meditate to reap the benefits? This is what science says

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You are likely to hear more and more about the many reasons to practice meditation and how long should you meditate.

From relaxation to spiritual connection, the benefits of meditation practice seem endless.

how long should you meditate:-

At the same time, so are the different ways of practicing. How do you know if you are reaping the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in your life?

Should you do a quick practice before your morning shower or go to a marathon session on the weekend?

This piece delves into research to discover the ideal time to sit on your cushion so that you can get the most out of your meditation.

What science says:-

Overall, researchers have identified five characteristics that determine the effectiveness of meditation practice:

  • an instance or frequency of practice sessions
  • duration or time of practice
  • adherence to practice instructions
  • competence, cultural relevance, and context understanding of why you practice
  • enjoyment

In a 2017 study, Trusted Source, researchers found that participants responded with greater attention to daily events on the days they meditated. They also found that sticking with the practice and practicing for longer periods had positive results.

Another 2017 study found significant connections between the length of meditation practice and positive emotions.

A 2018 study of inexperienced meditators found that 8, but not 4, weeks of daily 13-minute meditation decreased negative mood, improved attention, improved memory, and decreased anxiety.

This implies that repetition matters.

According to another 2018 study of Indian practitioners in the Brahma Kumaris Rajayoga (BKRY) tradition, researchers found that it was the competence, not the duration of the practice, that determined whether meditation resulted in better well-being.

Still, they found some correlation between length of practice and measures of well-being.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Meditating regularly for 8 weeks for 13 minutes a day is enough to benefit from your practice.

What is the “competition” of meditation?

It is important to note that competence or skill in meditation is by nature difficult to define.

In the aforementioned study of Indian practitioners, researchers defined “competence” as to how immersed the practitioners were in their particular school of thought.

In other words, understanding the context of what you are practicing and why will improve your meditation results. The same is true when it comes to a sense of cultural or spiritual importance.

These characteristics are not usually what we consider “skilled” at something. This may be appropriate because many meditation experts point to the “beginner’s mind” as the way to be truly proficient in meditation.

In Zen Buddhism, the word shoshin, or beginner’s mind in Chinese, implies approaching a subject frankly, enthusiastically, and without prejudice or judgment. This is the recommended way to approach meditation, even as a seasoned practitioner.

By bringing your “beginner’s mind” to each practice, you will empty yourself of hoops to jump through or feelings of pride or unworthiness and simply sit in the present moment.

What is the best period of time to meditate?

So what does all this mean when it comes to the ideal time to meditate?

Previous research implies that 13 minutes of meditation per session is sufficient to reap the benefits. Still, regularity can be just as important.

Practicing for 13 minutes once every few months is not likely to produce as much benefit as practicing daily for 5 minutes.

In the end, there is no “magic number” on how long to meditate.

The most important thing is that you choose a time period that is:

  • realistic
  • practical
  • replicable
  • pleasant

A 2020 study of novice meditators found that when participants experienced positive emotions during their first exposure to meditation, their frequency and duration of practice increased.

In other words, you are more likely to continue your practice if you enjoy meditation and associate it with positive feelings.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but there is a misconception that meditation must be strenuous or hyper-focused to be beneficial. The truth is that finding the boundary between discomfort and relaxation is where the magic of meditation happens.

If you’re forcing yourself to sit up but can only think about what you’re going to have for lunch that day or the fact that your leg is asleep, you’ve probably crossed the threshold of discomfort and are entering the strenuous territory.

Put off

Like many things worth doing, there is no formula for defining the perfect meditation practice.

While studies have shown that 13 minutes can be an excellent starting point, there are a variety of other factors that affect the benefit of your practice. These include frequency, duration, and cultural relevance.

Whether your practice is 5 minutes or 45, remember that regularity is probably just as important as duration. Besides that, enjoying your practice is an important part of the journey into presence.

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