What’s the best time to meditate? Many people who know the true purpose of meditation often overlook a very important of meditation itself: timing. That’s right, it’s not just how you meditate, but also when. In this modern world, many people can often find it challenging to find time to meditate. In fact, looking for time to meditate can stress people out, which is the opposite of what meditation should be.
But just like the ancient meditative people of old, the less you look for it and the more you open yourself to the possibility of creating time in your schedule, the easier it is to find the best time to meditate. So while you might be disappointed to know that there’s no exact time in terms of hours or minutes, there are optimal times of the day for when your meditative practice can be most utilized.
Everybody is different, both physically and mentally, so there’s no hard and fast rule as to when you should meditate; in fact, it’s better to say that you are the one who decides when the best time to meditate is for you personally. But don’t worry: once you find the right time and mindset to meditate, it will be easier to slip in and out of that state. The more you practice meditation, the more physical and mental (and even spiritual) benefits you receive.
To get you started, however, here are some suggestions as to the best times to meditate:
As Soon As You Wake Up
Many meditation experts consider mornings, particularly dawn, to be the best time to meditate, and why wouldn’t they: it’s quieter, more tranquil, and calmer than other times of the day. Meditating right after you wake up might seem a little odd, considering you’ve just come out of deep sleep, but always remember that sleeping and meditating are two very different things.
Mornings, especially right after you’ve just woken up, is when your brain is at its optimal meditative state. In the first 20 minutes of you waking up, your brain is operating at 10.5 waves per second. This often gives people that familiar feeling of grogginess which can sometimes set us back. However, this is the perfect state for meditating, as your mind is less encumbered by thoughts and feelings of stress and anxiety.
As much as possible, try to take a few minutes after you wake up to just sit, relax, and just simply be. Beginners to meditation might find it difficult to stay awake during this meditative session, but it’s best to remember that meditation isn’t necessarily all lotus positions and closed eyes: meditation is all about being as physically comfortable as possible, as this allows your mind to be more open and attuned to your surroundings. This means that taking just a few, conscious breaths while sitting at the edge of your bed right after you wake up can already be a highly-effective, relaxing, and enlightening meditation session.
When Stress Starts to Overwhelm You
In our fast-paced, tech-filled, reality-bending modern world, it seems like we encounter stressors almost everywhere we go: traffic on the freeway, a lack of parking in your office building, your annoying officemates, a strict boss, etc.
There are no escaping stressors, and the holistically healthy person is able to take the stress and anxieties of the day, process it, and convert it into energy that they can use to further their development. However, we’re all human, and sometimes, our mental defenses are no match for the stresses of the modern world.
Enter, meditation. Meditation isn’t just a great way to step back and recuperate your mind and soul; do it enough times and it actually makes your mind and soul even stronger, building up its natural defense systems and making you bulletproof against micro-aggressions.
If you ever feel like the world around you is starting to test your patience, take a few moments in a quiet room. Focus on your breathing, slow down from 100mph to 30, and start making mental space for the rest of the day by letting go or processing the stress and anxiety you’re currently feeling. It’s one of the best times to meditate because you’re actively choosing to be better rather than focus on feeling bad.
When You Get Home from Work
Many people choose to meditate as soon as they get home, with people claiming that this is the best time to meditate. This is actually a great way to prevent your home from being invaded by work stressors: meditating as soon as you get home means you let go of your day’s anger, stress, anxieties, and micro-aggressions, thereby preventing your home from being infected by negative energy.
Some people choose to use certain household chores as a form of meditation or therapy: cleaning, sweeping, washing the dishes, etc., basically anything that shifts your mind’s attention away from the stressors. This is usually augmented by taking in whole and beneficial foods like yogurt or pita bread. Healthy bodies, after all, are home to healthy minds.
During Your Free Time
But you don’t even have to confine yourself to meditating as soon as you get home: many people choose to find (or create) a small amount of time between getting home and going to bed to meditate. Again, because meditation can range from anything between a short, 2-minute session of conscious breathing to a full-blown multi-hour session of Japanese Zazen, this can be done at any point in time during your day.
If you choose to meditate during your free time in the day, make sure to find somewhere quiet, dark, and relaxing, so as to minimize distractions.
Right Before You Sleep
Choosing to meditate right before you sleep can be a perfect way to end a long and eventful day. Mindful meditation, specifically, is a great type of meditation to practice right before getting some Zzz’s because it allows you to absorb, process, and overcome stresses and anxieties you might have encountered throughout your day.
Remember, meditation isn’t supposed to make you sleepy per se: however, it’s supposed to put you in a serene, calm, and collected state of mind that is conducive to sleep. Having a healthy dinner beforehand can also help you be more relaxed (there’s a direct correlation between meat, white bread, and sleep, after all), so be sure to get the right amount of nutrients in you before you hit the hay.