I get the question from time to time, “How do you meditate? How long SHOULD a person meditate?” The second question is easy to answer. You should meditate for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. If you can focus on your breath, push away thoughts and sit in the silence of your own headspace for 5 minutes, then you are meditating. You don’t have to sit under a Bodhi tree for days to say that you meditate. You just need to dedicate time for yourself to be with yourself.
I like to meditate in the mornings and evenings. I have a meditation cushion that I use. Then I light candles and start incense. Before I actually begin the meditation, I sage the room to remove any bad energy and to make the meditation more formal. Then, I get into a comfortable position and I either start a guided meditation or just a quiet meditation. My meditations usually last anywhere from 5-30 minutes. It really just depends on the amount of time I have, my stress level, and which guided meditation I have on.
Meditation is great for relieving stress. According to many studies, including Three-Year Follow-up and Clinical Implications of a Mindfulness Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Intervention in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders, meditation is an affective tool to help cope with stress and anxiety. This study stated, “There is a growing body of evidence that many cognitive/behavioral, time-limited therapeutic interventions (meditation) have a significant cost-effectiveness compared with more traditional medical and psychiatric interventions” . In another study, Effectiveness of a Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Program in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders, found “clinically significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with the three cone anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and panic disorder with agoraphobia)” . These studies have shown that not only does meditation, when done consistently, help reduce every day stress, but can also help more serious anxiety such as panic attacks and depression.
So, I would recommend designating yourself a nice quiet corner in your home, make it nice space to relax and meditate for a couple of minutes a day. Not only will you find yourself less stressed out, but you are taking time for self-care in your day. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?
1. Miller, J.J., Fletcher, K. and Kabat-Zinn, J., 1995. Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. General hospital psychiatry, 17(3), pp.192-200.
2. Peterson, Linda Gay, and Lori Pbert. “Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders.” Am J Psychiatry 149, no. 7 (1992): 936-943.