Can You Meditate Too Much?
Yes, you can meditate too much. Over-meditation poses adverse effects to some people; however, these cases are rare. Still, the key to enjoying meditation’s cognitive and physical benefits lies in a healthy, regular, and sustainable practice.
Risks Of Over-Meditating
The gauge of how much is “too much” meditation depends on the person. For some people, meditating for over an hour isn’t a problem; for others, meditating for thirty minutes is already too much. How do you know if you’re over-meditating—and what are the dangers associated with it?
Here are some risks—and symptoms—of over-meditation to watch out for:
Much like other products or experiences that promise euphoric or healing benefits such as drugs, food, or exercise, meditation can be addictive. People addicted to meditation often develop a dependent relationship with the practice to the point that it becomes difficult for them to derive the feelings associated with meditation from anything else.
Meditation lets you be in tune with your thoughts and emotions. And while this is generally a good thing, over-meditation can lead you to be overexposed to what’s inside, which can be overwhelming. Meditating too much can result in increased anxiety, panic attacks, and resurfaced negative feelings or memories.
Meditating too much can alter your sense of self. Some people have said that over-meditating has numbed their senses from feeling the usual benefits of the practice; they become disassociated from their thoughts and emotions.
Over-meditating can at times cause practitioners to hide in a bubble, cutting themselves off from social interaction because they become too focused on their inner world. Some people say that it’s become difficult for them to carry on relationships with others when they would rather spend their time in their internal world.
Physical Side Effects
Too much meditation can also cause harm to the body, including pain, pressure, involuntary movements, headaches or dizziness, fatigue, and gastrointestinal problems.
How Long Should You Meditate For?
The question, then, is how long should you meditate for? The answer differs per person. In the same way that there’s no fixed best time for when you should meditate, there’s also no best length of a meditation session.
To know how long is enough for you, it’s best to start with a few minutes, even just two to five if you’re a beginner, and build from there. You may find that ten minutes is enough; maybe you can go up to twenty minutes (which some programs encourage); you can even reach up to an hour! You also don’t have to meditate just once daily. You can break it up into fragments throughout the day, depending on what works for you.
Perhaps what’s more important than the length of meditation is the frequency. The best way to reap the benefits of meditation is to set up and follow a healthy practice that you can sustain regularly.
How To Regulate Meditation
Here are some ways that you can regulate meditation to ensure that you don’t risk over-meditating:
You can find many resources about meditation that can teach you how to properly practice it, including how to do it mindfully (which is really the goal). Before setting a regular practice, you should know the correct way to meditate to ensure that you’re on the right track.
If self-research isn’t enough, you can find help from a large meditation community around the world. You can approach meditation gurus, yogis, and experts, or you can even join online meditation groups to find support from peers.
Know Your Limits
You know your own mind and body the best, so you’re the best judge at just how much meditation you can practice healthily. Gauge your limits and, although a bit of challenge is encouraged (in the same way as it is in workouts, for example), stop when you think it’s becoming too much.
The Pros Outweigh The Cons—With Healthy Practice
The danger of over-meditating can be scary. But the risks are only experienced by a small number of people—and only if they take the practice too far. A healthy meditation practice, even one that only takes ten minutes of your day, still provides a plethora of scientifically backed benefits that total to an overall improved emotional and physical well-being.
For further reading, check out our other articles like Embodying Unbreakable Wholeness and Well-Being.