How Often Should I Meditate?
If you’re hoping to start, continue, or re-enter a meditation practice, it can be challenging to figure out what that might look like—or more specifically, how often you should do it.
The answer to that question depends on, well, you. So no matter where you are in your journey, you can use this article as a guide to help you build a personalized, consistent, and sustainable meditation practice.
The Basics of Meditation
Meditation involves techniques that are designed to heighten your awareness, focus, and acceptance of the present moment. Different forms of mediation have different characteristics, and practices have been modified across cultures for centuries. Some of these practices include focusing on your breath, repeating an affirmation, performing a body scan, or simply engaging in mindfulness meditation.
The diverse history and types of meditation not only demonstrate its adaptability, but they also serve as a good reminder that meditation can be adapted to fit your life and needs. (That includes how often you do it!)
Benefits of Regular Meditation
Regular meditation is powerful when it comes to both mental and physical health benefits. And it's not just about stress reduction; studies show that regular meditation can lead to improved concentration, reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even physical changes in the brain associated with positive emotions. Not to mention, a regular meditation practice can lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, and enhance sleep quality. How cool is that?
Understanding Individual Needs
While the benefits of meditation are undeniable, the path to experiencing these benefits isn’t one-size-fits-all.
For example, beginners might start out with just a few minutes of meditation each day. And on the other hand, experienced meditators might want to challenge themselves to practice incorporating multiple meditation sessions throughout their day, such as in traffic, during lunch, or before falling asleep.
In other words, the ideal frequency and type of meditation vary depending on your personal goals and lifestyle. But one thing is true for everyone: with consistent practice, you will experience the benefits of meditation!
Quality vs. Quantity in Meditation
At this point, it’s hard not to wonder which is more impactful in terms of your meditation practice: Is it quality or quantity?
While the amount of time spent meditating does matter, the quality of each session is what you should strive for. Truly focusing on the present moment and cultivating mindfulness can be more impactful than accumulating hours. This focus on quality will ensure that the time you spend meditating will be time well spent and contribute to your overall well-being.
To enhance the quality of your sessions, consider creating a dedicated daily meditation space, using guided meditations for structure, and/or practicing at the same time each day to cultivate a habit. These small steps can significantly enrich your meditation experience.
Leah Santa-Cruz, one of Balance's meditation coaches, agrees. Here's her expert advice:
Remember, it's not about the length of your meditation but the regularity of your practice that truly matters. Just like with exercise, consistency triumphs over occasional intensity. Start with a short daily meditation, even if it's just 3 minutes, and gradually build up to longer sessions. Aim for every day or most days of the week. The goal is to be disciplined enough to establish a habit but not to obsess over perfection
Build a Sustainable Meditation Practice with the Balance App
Whatever your preferred meditation cadence is, the key to unlocking the benefits of meditation is consistency. And with the right tools and strategies, it is possible to maintain a consistent meditation practice—almost effortlessly!
We have one such tool that offers a practical and accessible way to integrate meditation into your daily life: the Balance app.
Balance has over 500 personalized meditations for you to choose from to help you stay consistent, including 10-day Plans or mini sessions you can try while you work, while you're on a walk, while you eat, and much more. Balance also let's you track the days you meditate, so you can see how consistent you are.
It’s all about striking a, well, balance between flexibility and—you guessed it—consistency. So download the Balance app now, and get your entire first year for free!
And one other thing: You’ve got this.
- The benefits of meditation depend on consistency, not duration. Keep reading for tips on deciding how long you should meditate.
- Discover the benefits of personalized meditation coaching and get to know Ofosu and Leah.
- Learn the difference between mindfulness and meditation, and find out which one is best for you.