What’s the Best Time to Meditate?
There’s much debate over what the best time to meditate is. Many agree that the morning is the best time to meditate, so you can approach the day in a calm and focused way. Others tend to think that meditation is better served in the middle of the day, as a brief respite from the stress of the morning and an opportunity to approach the remainder of the day with a little more perspective. And some experts agree that meditation should be practiced right before bedtime, so you can reflect on the events of the day and go to bed fully relaxed.
The reality is that the best time to meditate is fully dependent on the individual and when they’re able to best find mindfulness and awareness. Creating a habit out of meditation is far more important than trying to optimize it for a specific time. And lucky for you, there are a number of benefits of meditation at different points throughout the day. Stay with us as we break down the benefits of meditation in the morning, in the afternoon, at the moment stress arises, after exercise, and before bed.
When Is the Best Time to Meditate?
Morning meditation has a number of great benefits. Besides lowering naturally high levels of cortisol in the morning, devoting time in the morning to meditation is a fantastic way to build it up as a habit that you repeat each day. If you start your day with coffee every morning, set aside ten minutes after your morning cup of joe to do a meditation.
This process, known as “habit stacking,” refers to the idea of creating a new habit by tacking it onto an existing one. A morning routine is a great opportunity to “stack habits” to fully get the most out of your morning.
Benefits of Midday/Afternoon Meditation
If you work a 9-5, an afternoon meditation is a great way to take a moment after the events of the morning to reset and prepare for the remainder of the day. A “lunch break meditation” can work wonders after a stressful morning, as it gives you an opportunity to get your mind focused to take on the afternoon.
If you’re known to catch a bad case of burnout around 3:00 or 4:00 each day, then an afternoon meditation may be exactly what you need to keep yourself energized until 5. Meditation is known to give an energy boost when done in the afternoon.
A “mini-meditation” is an effective way to calm yourself down when you feel the anxiety begin to take you over. This is done simply by taking a step back from whatever you’re doing, practicing some deep breathing, and recognizing the stressful feelings. You don’t even have to close your eyes.
If a full fledge meditation session is a little too much for you at first, then a mini-meditation may be the perfect solution for combatting feelings of stress.
While meditation has a number of mental benefits, it has a couple of physical ones as well when paired with exercise. Meditating after exercise has proven benefits on recovery and strength over time. Additionally, the emphasis that meditation puts on controlled breathing is beneficial for improving stamina.
The next time you finish a hard workout, try doing a quick meditation afterward. The practice will help you bring your breathing back to its normal rhythm and help tense muscles recover.
Meditating before bed is an effective way to reflect on the events of the day before going to sleep. Similar to morning meditation, nighttime meditation is another great opportunity to “stack habits” in your nighttime regimen to ensure you continue the habit over time. You can mix meditation with evening journaling or a nighttime bath.
Additionally, meditation naturally lowers your heart and increases melatonin, which sets you up for a fantastic night of sleep.
Adding meditation to your daily routine will help stay happier and focused throughout the day, and not being able to find the right time shouldn’t deter you from the practice.
As we said, meditation is best served when you feel you need it most. Whether it’s morning, noon, or night, you’ll get the most out of the practice at the time you feel the most connected to it. For more information about the benefits of meditation at different points of the day, check out this infographic from Ness.