One of the questions I most frequently get is “how long should I meditate?”
In short: very little.
After years of meditating and introducing the practice to thousands of beginners I can tell you this: If you meditate for 30 minutes right now, you’ll likely feel great when you finish but after a few hours the positive effects will wear off.
If you meditate for 3 minutes a day, every day, for the next 30 days your life will change dramatically.
Meditating daily is better than occasionally meditating for long periods.
New habits are hard and it takes a long time to build a daily practice into our life. The best research in habit formation tells us it takes an average of 66 days to form a new daily routine.
If we set a daily goal that is attainable we will be more likely to sit consistently. I strongly advise for the first two months you limit your daily meditation to 3 or 5 minutes.
Don't dismiss the benefits of sitting for 5 minutes. Meditation has diminishing returns. You become more calm, focused and centered in the first 5 minutes of sitting then you will in the next 5.
After two months, if you are firmly entrenched in your daily discipline consider adding a minute or two a week until you find the right balance for your life. Remember the goal is consistency over duration. There is nothing to attain here, no gold medals for accumulating time.
The best practice is a practice that works for you. Let your experience be your guide. Experiment and trust your gut. I believe in you.
Anthony A. Cernera, M.Ed.