Last updated on April 19th, 2021
Have you ever wondered how many minutes you should meditate to gain the most benefit?
Many studies suggest that on average 27 minutes a day yields optimal results. However, if you want to gain the best benefits from meditation, very important is also your consistency.
This is based on a research project conducted at Harvard on 16 volunteers who meditated for 27 minutes daily for eight weeks.
The researchers reported that this practice, after the two months concluded, profoundly impacted the brain’s volume specifically in the regions that oversee memory, emotional self-control, learning, self-awareness, and perspective.
Basically, the study confirmed that spending a few minutes meditating helps.
There are no limits when it comes to lenght of meditation
As mentioned, 27 minutes proves to be quite effective and is considered as an optimal length of time to meditate.
However, there are no clearly defined limits as to how long or how short of a time you should spend meditating.
For example, if you wish to take a short break in the middle of the day to relieve stress or recharge, you can always take about five minutes to meditate.
On the other hand, if you feel the need to meditate for a longer period, then take advantage of that time to refocus and regain some of your energy.
How many minutes you should meditate depends on your situation with a busy schedule and on your overall mental and physical state.
As far as a long-term quota of how many minutes you should meditate, most studies have taken eight weeks before analyzing results.
This makes sense, considering that researchers are not only going by anecdotal information provided by the participants but also examining images, such as MRIs, to examine the changes in the brain that occur after two months’ worth of consistent practice of meditation.
Some self-help practices might show results in a matter of two weeks to a month, but with meditation, you might be looking at a longer commitment depending on your state of mind and the purpose behind meditating. Also, most meditation courses run for eight weeks.
How many times a day should you meditate?
On the one hand, a daily practice would be helpful, but some researchers insist that three times a week would suffice if you make it a regular habit.
Other experts agree that the best interval depends on the person and his or her goals or needs. Others emphasize a “walk; don’t run” approach to this practice, especially if you’re just starting out.
So, if one session a day daily, yields results, then you should stay with that routine. Likewise, if you find that short, multiple sessions work out well and help you to deal with stressful issues or physical pain, then try incorporating that practice gradually into your regimen.
If you want to know how often you should meditate, read more here.
How to integrate meditation into your daily routine?
Just like any other positive change, you need to be patient with yourself and open to some slight adjustments to your hectic schedule. In fact, one incentive for meditating is to give your mind and body time to slow down and recuperate.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Enlist the help and encouragement of a partner
- Choose the most convenient time of day
- Start with small increments of minutes of meditation
- Start with just one day a week (and build up from there)
Another suggestion is to replace a negative habit (i.e.: too much screen time or compulsive shopping) with meditation. This would ensure more constancy as you determine how many minutes you should meditate.
How to increase your meditation time
You might find it difficult to sit for longer than 5 to 10 minutes when you first begin to meditate. It’s no wonder when we are all accustomed to such a busy schedule and such a fast pace in everyday life.
Likewise, we almost give into guilt for taking a few minutes to meditate for relaxation or for the purpose of recovery such as pain relief or to alleviate the effects of depression.
If that is the case, some experts might advise that starting gradually with meditation is the best option. Any healthy habit is counterproductive when you over analyze how many minutes you should meditate and to what extent you’re willing to commit to this practice.
Thus, starting off at about five minutes will at least render some meditation benefits.
Another recommendation is to go on a meditation retreat. The serene setting frees you from all distractions of everyday life; plus, you’ll have more time and even some guidance to help you improve the length of time and quality of your meditation.
How many minutes you should meditate to relieve stress
Meditation can be beneficial under “normal” circumstances, but how can it help you when dealing with stress?
Because stress wreaks havoc on the body and mind, the last thing you’ll want to do is dwell too much on how many minutes you should meditate. In that scenario, the so-called cure would be much worse than the malady.
Therefore, five minutes is an excellent start especially since nervous energy often manifests as an inability to sit and relax.
Besides, you might consider getting some of that nervousness out by taking a short, brisk walk or working in the garden before settling down to meditate.
Can You Meditate Too Long?
Research has proven there is such a concept as “too much of a good thing.”
A study conducted by researchers from Brown University and the University of California revealed that meditating for too long can cause adverse reactions.
The 60 participants reported negative, even delusional thoughts. Others experienced mild to severe changes to their sensory perception, and the most severe effects included flashbacks of traumatic events and physical symptoms like fatigue and gastrointestinal issues.
Interestingly enough, 14 of the 60 participants reported meditating from 30 to 60 minutes, but on the more extreme end of the spectrum, some were meditating for 10 or more hours per day.
So, when you decide to embark on this practice, consider listening to both your mind and body to effectively tailor your meditation to suit your needs, particularly if you detect any red flags occurring mentally or physically.
Therefore, how many minutes you should meditate can start out with five and then gradually increase up to 27, depending on how often during the day or during the week you plan to participate in this practice.
Just remember to breathe deeply, relax all muscle tension, and of course, to just simply be in the moment.