Guest contribution by Wendy Quan
If you have wondered whether the time of day matters for your meditation practice, the answer is “Yes, it matters, but…”
It is definitely worth trying meditation first thing in the morning soon after you get out of bed. This is the time of day when your brain is already calmer, so it is much easier to get into a nice meditative state. If you think, “But I don’t have time in the morning to meditate”, know that all it really takes is five minutes of meditation per day to make a noticeable impact on your life. I have heard countless stories from people who have greatly benefited from just five meditative minutes per day: decreased anxiety, decreased depression, more focus and intention for the day, and more joy in life. If you need to set the alarm five minutes earlier, that’s a small lifestyle change for a potentially big benefit.
Some people prefer to meditate in the evening, after dinner and after the kids have gone to bed. This is their “me” time and they enjoy settling into meditation to calm their minds after a busy day. Instead of being on the computer, checking cell phones or watching TV, this meditation time creates a nice transition to bedtime. Many people report much better sleep once they make meditation a habit in their lives.
So the answer to, “When is the best time to meditate?” really is a personal choice. It is best from a brain-state perspective to meditate in the morning, but I often suggest to new meditators to try different times of the day and decide for themselves what feels best and fits best into their lifestyle. After all, doing meditation when it feels right for you is better than not doing meditation at all.
No time to meditate? Sometimes, this is a matter of what priorities we set for ourselves in life, and sometimes we truly do not have five minutes to spare. Remembering that being mindful during the day has much of the same benefits as seated meditation.
Try this several times throughout your day: pause and take three deep, intentional breaths. Focus completely on the sensations of your body breathing. This simple, mindful practice can bring some calm and peace into your life. It’s easy to fit this into your busy day: while you are typing on your computer, waiting for an elevator, or doing everyday tasks like washing your hands.
Wendy Quan is an industry leader in helping organizations implement self-sustaining mindfulness meditation programs to create change resiliency. She is the founder of The Calm Monkey, the first and only online and in-person training and certification of its kind, which turns experienced meditators into Mindfulness Meditation Facilitators in the workplace and community.
Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley and the global Association of Change Management Professionals. Her client list includes individuals from around the world and organizations such as Google and the government of Dubai. Her life’s purpose is to help people create a better experience of life.