The short answer to the question, what is the best time to meditate is—any time and as much as possible! However, this does not help us so much when we are trying to get used to meditation and to find a place for it in our lives. In this post we will take a look at three popular times for your meditation session that can work very well—as well as where they can be problematic.
First thing in the morning
In many ways this is the best time to meditate. Your day has not yet got going so there is some space. You can control when you set the alarm and what time you choose to get up. It’s always a good idea to get up a bit earlier than usual if you want to do a meditation session. Having some quiet, focused time is a great way to begin the day. It gives a flavour to everything that comes after and makes it easier to come back to meditation at odd moments throughout the day. It feels good to prioritise making this special time for yourself.
There can be drawbacks of course. Getting up earlier cuts down on how late you go to bed the night before, which is not always easy. You might not be a morning person at all. You need to consider whereabouts you will do your meditation session. If you live with other people, they are going to be affected by your decision to start with meditation. You might need to negotiate some quiet space for yourself.
During your lunch break
This can work for anyone, but it is particularly helpful if you go out to work. Creating a space to be quiet and present is a good way to cut through the busyness and stress of a working day. It also brings meditation directly into your work environment and makes it easier to take short meditation moments at any time.
There are two disadvantages. The first is that your lunch break is quite vulnerable to interruption. Things come up all the time and you could find yourself with only a moment to grab a sandwich. There is also the problem of where you do your session. Do you have a quiet place at work you could go to? One hint I picked up from a client of mine recently is to find a nearby church and go there for your meditation session. He said it worked brilliantly for him!
Before going to bed
This is popular with a lot of people who like the idea of having a peaceful finish to their day. It’s true that meditating in the evening can help you to sleep better. Some people do their session as soon as they get home. Others wait till they are going to bed and make it part of their usual routine.
The disadvantages are that by the end of the day we tend to be more tired and the temptation to skip our session and get straight to bed is very real. On the other hand, we might want to go out and have social plans for the evening, which makes fitting in a meditation session quite hard.
So, what do we do?
It is important to just play with which time works best for you. Take it lightly and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t stick to a routine that you’ve set up. It’s a good idea to experiment with all three times. You could set out to meditate every morning for a week. Next try lunchtimes for a week, and then the evenings. After an experiment like this, you can see what has worked best for you. No one method will be perfect—you will need to choose the one that has the least disadvantages for you. If you feel daring, you could try having your first choice for a meditation session, and if that does not work out you go to a fall-back position—your second choice. This would mean not meditating at the same time every day, but it would increase your confidence if you felt you could be flexible. That’s what we are aiming for long-term.
What other times of the day have your tried to have your meditation session? Let me know in the comments section.
Here is a simple checklist that shows the pros and cons of the three times we talked about in the post. You can download a PDF here Time to meditate
Some people use their commute as a time for their meditation session. Check out this free five-day e-course to see how that works HOW TO MAKE YOUR COMMUTE BENEFIT YOUR WORKING DAY