Meditation is a form of mental exercise and is one of the most profound things you can do and feel. And just as exercise boosts health, helps us handle stress better, and improves longevity, meditation also aims to confer some of those same benefits. But how long does meditation take to work?
On average, it takes about a week for meditation to work. After a week of meditation, you will feel like a new person and increase your level of focus and flow. You will not only feel better, but you will also be better.
If you are a beginner, try meditating for 10 minutes a day for a week. And you will be blissful and notice considerable clarity in your mind after a week of practice, which will show you that meditation starts working.
The overall benefits of meditation have been numerous. Meditation will allow you to live in the present moment, help you understand how much control you have over your emotions and how much pain you put yourself in for no reason—for example, dwelling in the past, being anxious about the future, and worrying about things that might or might not happen.
Read on to find out all the benefits of meditation based on science.
See also: How To Properly Breathe During Yoga. Check out a video summarizing this article that we have uploaded to our YouTube channel.
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Benefits of Meditation
In recent years, meditation has become increasingly popular. And about 14.2% of people in the U.S. had tried meditation in 2017. An increasing number of people continue to practice meditation to help them feel centered and relaxed throughout their day.
In these modern times, it is more than essential to carve out time and meditate because we live such busy lives leading to high levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. Here are the benefits of meditation.
1- Meditation Helps Sharpen Your Attention
We spend about 46.9 percent of our waking hours thinking about something that isn’t going on (either dwelling in the past or worrying about the future), and this mind-wandering typically makes us unhappy, according to researchers at Harvard University.
And meditation can help reduce this mind wandering and pull you away from the thoughts of “what could’ve been” and “what ifs.”
According to researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center, meditation can help change the function and structure of the brain through relaxation, which can:
- Increase focus and learning concentration
- Improve memory and attention span
- Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
2- Medication Enhance Your Senses
Harvard University researchers conducted a study to analyze what happens to the brain when we meditate regularly.
After two months, researchers witnessed that brain regions associated with learning, emotion, control, memory, perspective, and self-awareness had increased in volume.
When meditating, you pay attention to your breathing, sounds, present moment experience, and shutting cognition down.
Meditation can cause structural changes in areas of the brain essential for sensory, cognitive, and emotional processing found in a study.
Meditation will help you think more clearly, reduce stress, and is great for interpersonal interactions. In addition, you will have more empathy and compassion for people.
3- Meditation Helps Reduce Stress Levels
In this study, researchers took people who had never meditated before and put one group into an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program.
After eight weeks, they discovered differences in brain volume in five distinct regions in the participants’ brains within the two groups.
In the group that learned meditation, the researcher observed that the amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain, which is also essential for anxiety, stress, and fear, got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program.
The researcher observed a correlation between a change in the amygdala and a reduction in stress levels.
4- Meditation Improves Sleep
About a third of American adults report that they often get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
According to the CDC, not getting adequate sleep is associated with many chronic diseases and conditions like heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and depression.
And the good news is 12 minutes a day of Kirtan Kriya meditation was enough to produce significant positive changes and improvements in cognitive function, sleep, and mood, concluded a 2018 study.
5- Meditation Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance
With meditation, you can learn to train your mind to stay focused and improve your exam-taking skills. A study investigated whether a 2-week mindfulness-training course would reduce mind wandering and improve cognitive performance.
The researchers found that meditation improved both working memory capacity and GRE reading comprehension scores while simultaneously decreasing the appearance of distracting thoughts during the completion of the GRE and the measure of working memory.
The study concluded that practicing meditation is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function.
6- Meditation Improve Problems Solving Skills
Practicing meditation can help you prevent mind-wandering and improve your problems solving skills.
Mindfulness meditation helps you adopt a beginner mindset and be in the present moment, making you less blinded by experience and increasing your problem-solving abilities found in a study.
7- Meditation Promotes Better Relationships
Several studies find a positive link between mindfulness and relationship quality. Researchers from the University of Wyoming and the University of Oregon examined 88 couples handling a conflict in their relationship.
Then they measured the cortisol levels in each couple before and after discussing a conflict in their relationship.
Cortisol levels spiked during the discussion, which shows a sign of high stress. But cortisol levels in the most mindful people were quicker to return to normal after the conflict ended, which suggests lower stress levels.
8- Meditation Helps Reduce Various Kinds of Bias
Nowadays, prejudice against individuals who don’t share our race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or even political belief produces an atmosphere of distrust and hostility dividing the world, particularly in the United States.
In addition, mindfulness meditation reduces implicit race and age bias by weakening the associations of the target group with negative constructs, observed another study.
How Long Should You Meditate To Start Seeing Results?
Based on the University of Waterloo in Canada research, meditating for just 10 minutes a day is enough to notice significant results. You can get effective results by simply sitting still and breathing deeply for 10 minutes.
Another study found that, on average, people who meditate 30 minutes a day see tremendous benefits. However, many people noticed the personal benefits of meditation with only 10 minutes a day.
Like exercising, try to find what works best for you.
Tips for Creating A regular Meditation Habit:
- Create a calendar to track how often you meditate. You can also use apps like Headspace to keep yourself accountable.
- Keep track of the days you meditate, not the day you miss. Focus on how many times you meditated this week or this month instead of the day you couldn’t meditate.
- If you aren’t meeting your goals for consistency, reduce your daily target number of minutes of meditation to avoid creating unnecessary pressure on yourself.
- Get more from your meditation by doing yoga poses. You can combine it with yoga poses, such as yoga Nidra breathing exercises and deep relaxation.
How To Get Started
The only way to truly know how or if it works for you is to try.
- Start on Monday, either right after you wake up or before you lie down to go to bed.
- Set your alarm for 12 minutes (2 minutes a preparation time where you are allowed to open your eyes, get situated, and add or remove layers to be comfortable)
- Do it for 10 minutes each day of the week, which will be 50 minutes of meditation practice per week.
- After that collective 50 minutes, reflect and see how and if you’ve changed. You will be surprised by the results.
- Find a good teacher to help you understand what’s going on in your mind.
- Consistency is the most important part of developing a meditation practice.
Regularly and consistently practicing meditation is more important than how long you meditate. Research reveals that you don’t have to meditate every day in a row, but the benefits are linked to regular, consistent practice.
If you are new to meditation, start slowly and gradually increase the time spent meditating. The most important thing to remember is consistency is critical when it comes to anything good in life.