How To Find the Best Time to Meditate That Works For You
Photo by Sandeep Kr Yadav on Unsplash
If you’ve ever tried meditation, there’s a good chance this question would’ve crossed your mind:
“What’s the best time to meditate?”
While the time of meditation is relatively unimportant to the fact that you actually do it, it can and does make a difference. When I was just starting to meditate, I thought that certain times of the day were better to meditate than others. The morning was one of my favorite times.
But for some reason, if I couldn’t meditate in the morning, I would skip it altogether. “What’s the use of meditation if not done in the morning? It won’t be much effective in the evening anyway!”
I thought if I don’t meditate at just the “right time” then it won’t be beneficial at all! Sometimes when I look back, I can’t believe I made these mistakes. Nevertheless, these mistakes are too common amongst beginners.
Thus, the first priority, before you consider reading further, is your firm resolve to meditate regardless of time. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of meditation, then you can try to experiment with different times that work for you. For instance, ff the mornings are too tough for you, don’t force yourself to wake up at a certain hour, lest you become disappointed and stop meditating altogether.
That being said, let’s explore different times of meditation that you can choose from.
Mornings are by far the most recommended timeframe by meditation teachers. The reason is simple — if you want to ensure you don’t skip a habit, plan it first thing in the morning before the demands of the day kick in. That way, you’re much more likely to make good on your commitment.
Not only that, meditation is a great habit to add to your morning routine. Most people get up to a slew of emails, notifications, and messages. This clutters their mind and wastes valuable brainpower.
If you meditate, on the other hand, you can bring yourself to the right frame of mind and heighten your consciousness before doing anything else. This puts you in a much better position to be effective and tackle the demands of the day.
It also creates a buffer against the myriad stresses you face. Moreover, if you meditate in the morning, the peace you feel in meditation will be carried over to everything that you do.
Since meditation involves the concentration of the mind on a single object of focus (say, the breath), it’s easier done in the morning than in any other time. After you wake up, your mind is not filled with useless junk and tasks that occupy most of your waking moments.
This state of relaxation and a baseline level of clear-mindedness in the morning makes it one of the top choices of regular meditators.
I too like to practice meditation in the morning before I do anything else. To further deepen my practice I like to read spiritual texts for inspiration (though I often fail to live by my reading commitment).
Morning meditation may not be the best choice if you can’t wake up early or feel very sleepy, making it difficult to concentrate. At any rate, meditation will fill your brain with energy to start the day on the right foot.
My second mediation of the day is around noon when I need a break from work to reset my mind. Being a morning person, I start my day early and am pretty much wiped out by noon. My noon meditation thus gets rid of the day’s stresses and reignites focus and motivation to continue.
It also trains my mind to hold on to the calmness that I feel in meditation and learn how to be calm even amidst crises. This time before lunch is also great for meditation since I’m fully awake and alert but not sleepy.
One of the few challenges with noon meditation is finding a time and place to meditate peacefully. Since my meditation session is at least 1 hour long, it can get tricky to hit that goal in the middle of the day.
Fortunately, work-from-home has made it much easier. As for work, I’ve aligned my team’s expectation to not be available for an hour or more at that time. Over a period of time, I’ve been able to consistently meditate at noon without a problem.
There’s only been a handful of times when I was interrupted by a call or was unable to take my mind off work. But, for the most part, it works fantastically!
When I started meditation, I used to do my second meditation session in the evening before shifting it to noon. Morning and evenings are the standard times for most meditators I’ve seen.
As an evening meditator, I found my mind immensely relaxed and rejuvenated after a long day at work. It also creates a much-needed transition from work to personal time, helping me unwind before bed.
There’s also no pressure to finish by a specific time so I can let go of my phone and sit peacefully knowing I’ll not be disturbed.
On the other hand, it’s too easy to skip evening meditation in the name of feeling too tired. You may also have sleepy meditation sessions on account of being sleepy after the day’s over.
The worst part about evening meditation is that it leaves no scope for change. Meaning, you can’t put it off for later because there’s no time left in the day.
While you should aim to have a regular formal practice of meditation every day (twice a day favorably), I would also advise you to have micro-meditations throughout the day.
This means meditating for a minute or two to get your mind back to a relaxed and alert stage. It also helps you to avoid getting distracted by negative emotions and catch them before they take you for a ride.
These sessions can be done anytime, anywhere whether you’re sitting, standing, or lying down. All it takes is regular reminders throughout the day that remind you to practice it.
I use an app on my phone. Some people use smartwatches and other kinds of alarms. Whatever works for you, use it. But try to inculcate micro-meditations in your life. It will make a huge difference.
So What’s The Best Time For You?
Frankly speaking, the best time for you is when you feel sufficiently calm and relaxed, yet alert. Since meditation needs active participation, concentration and willpower you can’t do it when you’re likely to fall asleep.
Similarly, if some times of the day are busier than others, you may want to avoid mediating then.
As a rule of thumb, I suggest meditating in the morning for sure. It’s the single most favorite time of all meditators I’ve seen. I’m yet to meet a meditator who doesn’t meditate in the morning.
That said if it’s not possible for you, do it at a time that works for you. Each of our lives is different and we need to make our own choices.
At the end of the day, what’s most important is you stick to the habit of meditation, no matter which part of the day you choose to do it.