For some people, the best time to meditate is dawn, while others make room for mindfulness before bed.
No matter when you do it, meditation is one of the healthiest things you can do for your mind and body. It can help reduce depression, anxiety, stress, and pain, reduce inflammation, improve the immune response, and promote a healthier aging process, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
But if you want to reap the benefits of mindfulness, at what time of day do you meditate?
We enlisted the help of Jodie Skillicorn, DO, a holistic psychiatrist and author of Cure Drug-Free Depression: A Mental Health, Body, and Soul Balance Guide, to find out if there is an optimal hour for mindfulness.
There is no best time to meditate. The most important thing is that you find the right time for you and then stick to that time to build consistent daily routines.
The best time to meditate changes.
Warning about spoiled people: There is no magical time when meditation is most beneficial. Yes, the best time to meditate is whenever you actually do it, says Dr. Skillicorn.
“I, for example, meditate in the morning before my family wakes up… Because I know the rest of my day would be better for that,” Says Dr. Skillicorn. “But the time that suits me best may not be right for you.”
Each person’s schedule, interests, and needs are different, so logically, the best time of day to meditate will vary depending on the individual.
Dr. Skillicorn said: “The key is to find the right time and then stick with it. In other words, although time is not so important, consistency is.
“Keeping a consistent amount of time for meditation will make it part of your daily routine,” she says. I don’t need to stop and consider when or whether I’m going to meditate today; It’s a certain part of my daily schedule like brushing my teeth – I just do it.”
Find the right time to meditate.
You may need to explore meditation at different hours to see which time period is best for you. Here, Dr. Skillicorn discusses the advantages (and possible pitfalls) of scheduling your meditation session in the morning, noon, and evening (as well as in times of stress or anxiety).
1. Meditate in the morning
The first thing is that meditation will lay the foundation for the whole day. Dr. Skillicorn said: “For many people, it’s easier to create time in the morning before the start of the day and various activities, distractions, and unexpected possibilities.
“But if you’re not a morning person, or your child wakes up too early and fusses and demands your attention, then maybe this isn’t the best time for you,” she added.
On the other hand, this is exactly why you should try meditation in the morning. Dr Skillicorn says: Taking a few minutes to breathe before life gets busy can make it easier to deal with those chaotic moments.
2. Meditate at noon
Midday can be the ideal time to practice being present and pressing the pause button for a few minutes of meditation.
“Many of my patients choose to meditate during their lunch breaks at work,” says Dr. Skillicorn. “This gives an opportunity to relieve stress from the morning and create a clear space for the rest of the day.”
However, this largely depends on your work environment. “For example, unscheduled lunch meetings can disrupt this plan, or if you’re like me, you may find yourself answering one more email, adding a phone call, and noting lunchtime have quickly disappeared, along with your meditation time, “Dr. Skillicorn said.
3. Meditate at night
Dr. Skillicorn said: “Meditating at night can be a great way to relieve your mind and body from the stress of the day to get a better night’s sleep.
“I would meditate for at least a few minutes each night before falling asleep by regulating my body, thoughts, and emotions, and noting and noting what I was there until I fell asleep.
However, again, unexpected situations can appear and ruin your nighttime meditation plan. Dr Skillicorn says you may find yourself too tired to meditate after staying up late to complete a project, hang out with friends, or take care of a child.
4. Meditate when you’re stressed or anxious
What about meditation when you feel stressed, anxious, or frustrated? Because, let’s be honest, we all encounter moments like this every day.
Dr. Skillicorn said: “Often people will use meditation to deal with the cause of stress or problems.
However, “if you don’t make time for meditation on a regular basis, it becomes one of the many plans that most of us set out without ever really coming true — immediately by exercising every day,” she says.
Moreover, meditation to calm a bad mood ignores the point of mindfulness practice.
“The goal of meditation is not to get rid of emotions and thoughts, but to be curious about them,” says Dr. Skillicorn. “Using meditation to beat unpleasant emotions is just another form of resisting the experience and will often lead to increased stress and frustration, which makes us think, ‘It doesn’t work.'”
All of this to say, meditation to control stressors in the present moment should not be a substitute for regular practice. Always aim to sit in a daily session (no matter what your mood is) and use those mood-boosting improvisational meditations to complement your regular mindfulness routine.
Mediation and Exercise
Meditation and exercise can go hand in hand: Both can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, according to the University of Washington.
But is meditation best before or after exercise? While that ultimately depends on your schedule and what works best for you, meditating before a workout or during an activity can help you focus on your body and hold yourself up for the time being.
How to Make Meditation a Daily Practice
No matter what time you spend during the day meditating, here are Dr. Skillicorn’s tips to help you make a habit and stick to your daily practice:
1. Set realistic goals
If you can only spend a few minutes of mindfulness, that’s okay. “It’s better to meditate every day for three minutes than once a month for an hour,” Says Dr. Skillicorn. Even though I said that an hour is better every month than not at all!”
2. Take small (but consistent) steps
Even if meditating for three minutes in a row may seem daunting, Dr. Skillicorn says you can still find small ways to program mindfulness practice during your day. Try the following strategies:
Set an alarm on your phone and check certain times of the day (in just one minute) to notice what’s going on in your mind and body.
While driving set the intention that you will pause and only pay attention to your breathing at each red light.
Pause before getting out of the car to work or when sitting in front of a computer at the beginning of the new day.
“There’s always time [to meditate] if we set our intentions and prioritize it,” says Dr Skillicorn.
3. Try an app
It can be difficult to get started and stick with a mindfulness practice. So why not enlist the help of a meditation app? Depending on the app you choose, you can choose guided meditations and even personalized programs to help you accomplish your mindfulness goals.