How Long Should You Meditate to Reap the Mental Health Benefits?
As more people discover meditation and its powerful benefits, the more mainstream the practice becomes. In case you need a refresher of the benefits of meditation, these include stress reduction, promoting emotional health, assisting with the management of anxiety, and lengthening your attention span — to name just a few.
While you might be across the positive rewards from practising meditation, do you know how long and how often you should be engaging in this activity to reap these mental health benefits? Well, here’s what science has to say.
According to Healthline, there are a number of factors that researchers have identified that determine whether or not your meditation practice is effective. These include:
- Frequency of meditation sessions
- The amount of time you spend practising
- Adherence to the principles of meditation
- Understanding the context of why you’re engaging in this practice
A 2017 study found that participants experienced greater mindfulness on the days they meditated, while also finding that those who stuck with the practice had more positive outcomes. As far as research can tell us, repetition matters when it comes to practising meditation.
While a magic number rarely exists, researchers have found that users who meditate for 13 minutes a day over a period of eight weeks reaped the biggest benefits from the exercise. While the length of the practice — 13 minutes — is important, the regularity in which you engage with it is just as paramount.
But, this doesn’t mean you have to meditate for 13 minutes every day to feel these benefits. On the other hand, meditating for just 13 minutes every few weeks when you remember is also not enough to make a dent. Healthline recommends picking a length of time that is realistic and enjoyable for you. There’s no point in meditating for 15 minutes if you don’t enjoy it after five minutes. Stop at five and call it a day but practice this regularly.
Research has found that you’re more likely to stick with a practice if you enjoy it and there are positive feelings connected to it, so it’s important you find a number of minutes that suits you when it comes to meditating. If five minutes is your happy number and you can do this every day, or at least a few times a week, stick with five. If you can manage more time, do that.
Meditating shouldn’t feel like a chore, so making it work for you is important in keeping the enjoyment factor high.