I have come across apps such as Calm that offer 2-minute meditations. You could certainly start with that, but I can tell you right now that 2 minutes does not do much. The whole purpose of meditation is to get you in the present, and when you are doing it for just 2 minutes, your brain is already in the future. You are waiting for these 2 minutes to be over, and meditation will not serve its purpose.
It does not mean that you have to meditate for an hour daily either. Meditation has been scientifically proven to be very beneficial for our health and mind, but there are a lot of personal factors that determine how long one should meditate.
It goes without saying that meditation varies from person to person, so it’s important to find the right amount of time that suits you best and stick with it! In this article, I will explore some of the factors that should be taken into consideration regarding the time you are spending on your meditations.
How Long Should You Meditate For?
The quick answer to this is 10 minutes a day to 30 minutes a day. But again, it is not that simple. Meditation has some of the most powerful benefits when done correctly. This is why it is a good practice to decide the three most important things regarding meditation.
- The goal of your meditation
- The style of your meditation
- After-effects of the meditation
Your ideal meditation length will be dependent on these three things if you want to see results.
Your Daily Meditation Goal
Before you start a meditation routine, get clear on your personal “Why”. Not only will this help you stick to your meditation practice when things get tough, but it will also give you the discipline to work towards that ultimate goal. How long should you meditate depends on your meditation goal.
I have picked up and quit meditation practice more times than I recall. When I finally decided to give meditation a serious shot, my meditation goals were to become more confident and unlock my intuition.
To access intuition, you have to meditate quite deeply. This is because your intuition and creativity are unlocked when you get into the alpha to theta brainwave state, which takes longer than 5-10 minutes. Because my goal was slightly more complex, I started seeing other benefits before attaining my meditation goal.
So ask yourself what the reason why you want to meditate is. The only caveat is that it has to be a strong “why’ so that you do to give up. Your goal could fit into the following buckets:
- Unlocking intuition
- Unlocking creativity
- Peak performance/overcoming procrastination
- Better sleep
- Overall healing
- Mindfulness and being present
- Stress Relief
- Becoming more spiritual
- Reflection and personal development
- Becoming more positive
The Style of Meditation Matters
How long should you meditate for also depends on the meditation style you prefer. Meditation comes in different styles – some people like guided, some like silent meditations. I prefer silent (or relatively silent) meditations because it has the ability to get you into deeper states quicker than guided. I had been using guided meditations for years. While they made me feel better, I did not experience the strong meditation benefits that people rave about until I turned to silent meditations. I will do a different article exploring the various meditation styles in another blog. Still, for now, some meditations come with a predetermined length, and it is up to to you to decide if you can commit to that length. Also, keep in mind that if you are not experience the benefits you are looking for in a few days, it may be a good idea to explore other styles that may be a better fit for you.
- Mantra-based or Transcendental Meditation – These are silent, mantra-based, usually around 20-minute long meditation session done twice a day. The goal of these meditations is to help with centering and concentration. If you have trouble focusing, these meditations work great.
- Brainwave Meditations – These are typically silent meditations and come in all shapes and forms depending on your meditation goals. They range from 12-minute meditations to 30 minutes, going all the way to 60 minutes a day. I use brainwave meditations because they entrain your brainwaves to frequencies that help you attain certain specific goals. I am currently using a 30-minute long brainwave meditation, and it is helping me become more present, compassionate, and disciplined. I have experienced healing effects as well, which were not a part of my meditation goal. In these meditations, one can expect “time-compression” effects because a 30-minute meditation can make you feel as if you have meditated for 2 hours.
- Timer meditations – These are typically silent meditations as well that can be done organically by just putting a timer on and meditating for that amount of time. One could choose to play nature or instrumental sounds in the background. These are very similar to brainwave meditations but typically not as deep because you have no additional “aid” other than your focus to get you into deep states.
- Body Scan meditations – These are typically guided meditations that teach how to relax each individual part of your body and then find your center. Such meditations are typically 15-20 minutes per day and have the ability to get you into your high-mid alpha state, which feels relaxing. If you want to get into states deeper than that, then you may have to increase the meditation length accordingly or use a brainwave entrainment audio in the background.
- Guided meditations – The length for these vary. It takes a long period of time to get you into altered states with guided meditations, but they are very helpful for self-reflection.
- Chakra meditations – These are great for balancing overall energy in your body and are about 15 minutes long. Chakra meditations are either guided and use visualization techniques (15 – 20 minutes) or use crystal bowls (40+ minutes per day)
- Breathing, Mindfulness, and MSBR meditations – These meditations are great for stress, creating positive emotions, and being in the present. The timing for these varies.
After Effects of meditation
Once you have determined your goal and the style that works best for you to accomplish that goal, start meditating and check how long it takes for you to feel better. If you feel the same as you did before you went into the meditation, then you likely need to increase the duration. If you feel better but are not closer to your goal, you can adjust the length, keeping in mind that results are not instantaneous. Feeling good and centered for a good portion of the day is a good place to start.
One of the biggest benefits you will notice is that little things that used to bother you before do not affect you as much. Along with this, you will notice that you are not ruminating on the past or anxious about your future. No matter the style, a good meditation will make you feel good at the end of it.
Try experimenting with different lengths and see what works the best for you. Longer meditation sessions do not always mean a better meditation
Other Things to Consider.
Setting a Timer for Your Meditation Practice
Meditation is a practice that is about being mindful. It means focusing on our emotions, thoughts, and feelings without judging them.
It’s important to set a timer for your meditation practice so you can get the most out of it. Some premade meditations typically run for a certain length of time. If you find that overwhelming, a timer can help so that you can cut the meditation time short.
Decide how much time you have to meditate every day before starting your timer. Meditation does not have to be long in order to be effective, so don’t feel like it needs to take up all your spare time. 10 minutes is enough, but if you fight falling asleep while meditating then 20 minutes might work better for you.
Set the timer for this time frame and then start it when you’re ready.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath while the timer counts down the timed session
What to Do When You Can’t Meditate For More Than 5 Minutes?
It can be quite frustrating when you are trying to meditate but struggle to stay focused for more than 5 minutes. The key is to make sure that you are not struggling with the fact that you cannot meditate for 10 minutes. Try staying in the present and not worrying about all the undone tasks. Think of this time as your time and put all your worries in an imaginary box before going into the mediation.
Download my Free Effortless Meditator’s Cheatsheet to get powerful hacks on how to meditate with minimal effort. This cheat sheet will help you meditate for at least 10 minutes without losing focus.
What is the best time to meditate?
Many experts claim that it is best to meditate daily first thing in the morning or before going to sleep. I have not found this to be true for myself. I find myself falling asleep during meditations and they often feel like power naps, which is why I avoid meditating during night times. I have also found that it affects my productivity in a negative way if I do them in the morning. For me, the ideal time is right before I know I need to be my best self and present- either before live streaming, or when I need intuitive guidance, or before kids come home, or before guests come over – you get the point.
Instead of looking for the “right time” to do meditations, try finding a window that best adjusts with your meditation goals. If your goal is to be present like mine is these days, then do it before the times that you lose your sense of presence. If your goal is healing, then do it in the morning. If your goal is intuition, then do it right after your alignment practices.
How long you should meditate for is completely up to you, but it helps when you measure the benefit for you are getting out of it. One of my key indicators to see if a certain type of meditation is a good fit for me is by measuring how long I remain centered after a meditation session. The current meditation that I use helps me stay centered and present for 12 hours after the session, which is a winner in my eyes.
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular as it’s seen as an effective way to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. If you’re not into meditation, then and then self-reflection methods such as journaling or techniques such as rage dancing and breathwork can help as well.
Personally, for me, meditation and journaling are the top 2 things that I do not skip. Journaling helps me clear my thoughts and elevate my energy, while daily meditation helps me with centering myself, become calmer, present, and connect with my intuition.