If you meditate every day you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without becoming attached to or absorbed by them.
Mindfulness compounds over time until the ability to focus attention improves and living in the present moment becomes second nature.
Do you have to meditate every day?
Absolutely not. There is no perfect cadence to meditation.
Formal sitting may be undertaken once or twice every 24 hours but this scheduled Zazen soon bleeds into daily life until mini moments of mindfulness and meditation are interspersed throughout the day.
This could be when waiting for the kettle to boil or even at your desk sending emails.
Benefits of daily meditation
Meditation has been shown in clinical studies to have a range of benefits and just like physical exercise for the body, a contemplative practice is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mind.
Like any habit, the positive effects of practice accumulate over time and it’s only with regular, scheduled sessions that these effects can be realised.
- Helps to train attention
- Combats anxiety and depression
- Provides relief from overthinking
How long should you meditate each day?
Like any exercise, whether physical or psychological, it’s best to start slow with meditation.
If you’ve never done it before, doing just 5 minutes a day is a good start.
After building familiarity with the practice, sitting times can be increased gradually.
Many practitioners find that one or two sessions a day work best, with a total meditation time of between 30 minutes and one hour in any 24 hour period.
This provides enough time to practice while also fitting in nicely with other daily responsibilities.
Over time, as your exposure to meditation increases, you’ll become even more aware of the nuances of your mind and your typical patterns of thought and emotion.
When stepping back to observe the fluctuations of your mind from an impartial place, you’ll discover these patterns enacted in real time, including any bias towards certain thoughts, subtle insights which may be hidden from view during a normal day.
Perhaps you’re drawn to negative thinking and these thoughts soon cascade into negative emotions, eliciting a visceral physical response.
It’s only through repeated exposure to these cause and effect relationships that you can observe the machinations of the mind below to level of daily conscious awareness.
Taking the time to sit still and self reflect provides the space needed to gain a deeper understanding of the self and what lies beyond.
This kind of understanding is difficult to reach through intermittent or adhoc practice where it’s easy to forget or dismiss previous insights as one-off occurrences.
Regular sitting in this way provides the kind of clarity we’re unaccustomed to amidst the daily cacophony of noise and distraction.
Much like a glass of water left still, the sediment of the mind will gradually settle when left undisturbed.
Meditation, when practiced regularly, allows you to understand your true nature.
How to maintain a daily practice
Like any positive habit, it can be hard to make daily meditation stick.
Many practitioners utilise apps to help them visualise, track and maintain their price streak.
Can I meditate too much?
There are occasions when you may feel yourself over-meditating as a form of escape.
Although the majority of meditation practitioners enjoy significant benefit from the ritual, there are reports of those who experience negative or unwanted effects.
For this reason, it’s always advisable to start with short sitting times and only increase your exposure gradually.
Daily practice, like any other positive behaviour, provides a healthy cadence and beneficial routine.
What happens if you meditate every day?
Like any skill, meditation benefits from deliberate, regular practice.
Daily meditation is really the minimum input required to deepen your ritual and gain a greater understanding of your true nature.