How Long Should You Meditate?

For beginning meditators, one question that comes up quite regularly is how long should a person meditate? While opinions do vary, the consensus is 20 to 30 minutes a day, ideally twice a day if possible. Of course you are free to meditate longer should you feel the need or desire.

In this Argus Leader post from BryAnn Becker, the benefits of a 20 to 30 minute a day meditation are discussed. Citing both from a study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital as well as from Melissa Shattuck, a certified meditation instructor with The Chopra Center, meditating for 20 to 30 minutes a day can greatly help an individual with symptoms of anxiety and depression. A meditation of this length can also have positive neurological effects.

A team of researchers led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that people who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. Their findings appeared in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

Read more about how long to meditate here.

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  1. I’ve written a book about this! – Relaxing into Meditation. I agree that 20 – 30 minutes a day is a good length of time for meditation, but this may sound like a long time for a beginner. I suggest beginning with 10 minutes a day. People are not usually overwhelmed with the idea of finding 10 minutes in their day for meditation and feel that they can commit to this. It is better to meditate 10 minutes every day and actually achieve this, that to try to meditate for a longer period and fail. When we continually fail to achieve a goal we often give up. Once we are in the habit of meditating for ten minutes a day and feeling happy about achieving this, we soon find that in fact we are sitting for longer. I suggest that the commitment of 10 minutes a day is kept at that level for an extended period – until we find we are always meditating for 15, 20 or 30 minutes without effort. Then it is realistic to raise our daily commitment to a longer period.