When Should You Meditate?
Some say meditation is best done at sunrise or sunset, but the truth is that there’s no fixed time that a person should meditate. To experience the benefits of meditation, you must sustain a regular practice that works for you, regardless of when you choose to do it.
What Is Meditation?
As defined by Jon Zabat-Kinn, the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, meditation is a practice that employs a variety of techniques to create or achieve mindfulness or “an awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally [...] in the service of self-understanding and wisdom”.
It uses a mix of focus, awareness, and breathing to bring you to a calm and stable mental state. Paired with the three components of mindfulness (intention for awareness, attention to the present, and attitude without judgment), meditation allows you to be conscious of the present moment and process emotions, thoughts, and intentions more effectively.
Benefits Of Meditation
The benefits of meditation are extensive—and backed by science. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Better focus, concentration, and memory
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
- Improved self-esteem and self-awareness
- Better pain management
- Improved emotional well-being
- Kinder and more loving attitude
Is There A Best Time To Meditate?
Most experts agree that there is no such thing as a “best” time to meditate. Although, it’s commonly suggested to meditate early in the morning, specifically between four and six. Some yogis believe this to be a “magic” moment where the universe’s energies are most aligned for spiritual connection.
Other meditation gurus recommend the time frame because it’s generally calm. It encourages people to meditate as soon as they wake up before even thinking about their day. Starting your day by meditating can help you get into the right mindset to carry you throughout your daily tasks.
You can also choose to meditate after work or even during a lunch break. This period makes sense for some people who feel they need the relief of meditation after or during a hectic workday. Meditation is also helpful during overwhelming moments. Instead of tuning out difficult situations, try tuning in instead. Paying attention to what’s going on in the present might be the key to overcoming challenges or solving issues.
How Long Should You Meditate For?
Evidence suggests that even a regular ten minute practice provides the benefits associated with meditation and mindfulness. Some experts recommend twenty minutes twice a day (though there are also studies that encourage going up to forty-five minutes, once daily).
Start with a length that works for you, even just two to five minutes if you’re a beginner, then build from there. With regular practice, it will be easier to prolong your meditations—just be careful that you don’t meditate too much (yes, it’s possible!).
Meditation is different for everyone, so it should be practiced in a way that suits your time and purpose. You can decide whatever time—and length—is best for you to meditate, but what may be more important is to set a regular, doable practice. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or after a day’s workout, for fifteen minutes or an hour, your meditation session must be one that you know you can sustain and practice regularly.
Read more Mindful Leader articles like "best online meditation".