When it comes to mindfulness meditation there is no right or wrong. Meditation is a very deep, personal journey. No one person is the same and each of us is on a different journey, so there is no “right” time to meditate. There’s only what’s right for you.
That being said, most of us lead busy lives and without planning ahead, it may be difficult at times to figure out where we’re supposed to fit in our daily meditation. So, here are few suggestions that can help us to discover what might be “right time” for each of us.
The way we start our morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. We’ve all had those hectic, rushed and stressful mornings where we feel exhausted, and completely over the day before it’s even really started—the days when our mornings start off like this hardly ever inspire greatness in us. Now, to those of you who covet those extra 15 minutes the snooze button gives you—bare with me. Giving yourself an extra 15 minutes to meditate before you start your day can help you recenter, find that inner calm, and manage all of the ups and downs the day will bring with more perspective and patience. It may seem difficult at first to wake up a little bit earlier, but you may find that these 15 minutes become as crucial to your morning routine as your coffee or tea. Remember though, that meditation in the morning may not be for everyone and meditation requires us to be alert and fully awake. So for some of us non-morning people (me pointing to myself), we may find that we can’t stay fully alert and awake while meditating in the morning. If this is the case, you may want to consider another time during the day. Let’s have a look at the other most common options.
Meditation isn’t only for set times of the day though. Many times throughout our meditations, as we end the practice we note that these practices can help you especially when you’re confronted with a stressful, anxiety-ridden experience. The beauty of meditation is that with practice, we’re able to learn the skills to reconnect with the present moment, view our emotions and thoughts with renewed perspective, and calm our nervous system. So during the day, whenever you’re sensing your body and thoughts spiraling into a stress-trap, you can take a break and through meditation, hit the figurative reset button. Whether it’s rushing to meet a work deadline, stressing out about what to do in our relationship, worrying about a test we recently took… Whatever the scenario, taking the time to reorient ourselves in such moments can be incredibly beneficial to our frame of mind and the health of our bodies.
Since this is the most common pause in our day, and if trying to meditate in the morning just leaves you feeling sleepy and drowsy, lunchtime may be a great opportunity to fit in some meditation. All you need is 15-20 minutes at the beginning or end of your lunch hour, and you’ll be giving yourself a well-deserved break that resets your mind, calms your nervous system and lets you continue your day with a sense of calm and poise. What’s more, this could be an excellent way of boosting our focus, creativity and productivity, particularly if we have to get back to work or class once lunchtime is over.
Making meditation as part of your bedtime routine can be perfect for winding down and setting yourself up for a deep, restful sleep. It can give us the space we need to process the days events, our emotions and reactions. It can help us observe and better understand our behaviors, actions and feelings throughout the day on a much more intimate level. Though if we’re going to meditate before we go to bed, it’s important to put at least an hour between our meditation and bedtime. This way you can avoid falling asleep or getting drowsy during your meditation.
It may take a bit of experimentation during the first few weeks, trying to meditate at different times of the day, though the important point is that you find a 15+ minute time slot when you’re alert and awake. You can try each of these time periods, each for a few days in a row and then best decide which time seems to feel the best for you. While some people alternate and meditate at different times of the day depending on their schedules, we’ve found that picking one consistent time everyday encourages you to follow through with beginning your practice. Like all things, routine facilitates consistency and persistence.
Tell us in the comment section below your favorite time to meditate!