A lot of new meditators commence their practice hoping that the holistic benefits of meditation will manifest themselves in a matter of days. They expect meditation to act like a quick fix – similar to how you’d swallow a pain relief tablet. However, this isn’t accurate. Experts say that it takes about 4 to 6 weeks of practicing regular meditation before you can feel or view the results. Newbies are encouraged to persist with their meditation regimen rather than throwing in the towel after only one week. There are very many benefits you can accrue from meditation, all of which you’ll achieve over time.
Short and long term benefits
In meditation, there are some positive effects that are exhibited after a short period (a couple of weeks). The most distinct and immediate effect you notice is a calmer, more stable mind. Because you continuously train your mind to focus on a particular object during meditation (your breath, for instance) you quickly learn how to focus effortlessly. Your jumpy mind and distracting thoughts become less frequent, paving way to a clear, uncluttered mind. You eventually stop wondering “how long does meditation take to work” by realizing this is the wrong question to ask. Meditation is about accepting who we are, not striving for an artificial goal of a contrived self-awareness.
Clarity and calmness are two short-term psychological effects of meditation. You’re also able to focus better and your problem solving skills improve significantly after a short period. However, there are several mental effects of meditation that occur over the long run. The long term meditation benefits include:
- Improved communication
- Enhanced memory and cognition
- Heightened motivation
Neuroscientists have been researching on how meditation affects the brain. According to the results thus far, consistent meditation rewires the brain by increasing the density of those regions responsible for concentration, self-awareness, compassion and memory. On the other hand, areas associated with anxiety and stress diminished in size.
When will meditation work?
The issue of how long meditation takes to work starts becoming insignificant after individuals comprehend that meditation is a life-long commitment. Admittedly, starting meditation from scratch is a tad frustrating – your mind flutters about, your wandering thoughts interrupt you frequently and any slight distraction throws you off. But with time, you stop struggling with these issues and even start looking forward to your daily meditations. According to Lama Jampa Thaye, an advanced meditation instructor on Mindworks, meditation offers us a refreshing sense of the present moment. Distractions fade away and we’re immersed in a moment of self-awareness, which is really where the joy in life comes from.
There are some obvious physical meditation benefits that show up in the short term. They include:
- Improved sense of wellbeing
- Enhanced relaxation
- Reduced levels of tension and stress
- Improved quality of sleep
- Increased energy and stamina
However, other physical benefits are enjoyed after years of practice. For instance, your overall health improves tremendously, your circulation gets better and your body heals quicker. This is why experts are continually encouraging people to start meditating. You could start with short 5-minute sessions then work your way up. It’ll make all the difference.
Meditation also has some short and long term emotional benefits. Some of the short-term benefits include:
- Improved wellbeing
It’s important to understand that even these short-term effects will take some time. After months of meditating, you’ll now start experiencing the long term benefits. For instance, your confidence and self-esteem will gradually increase. You’ll become more patient and feel empowered. You’ll also achieve a sense of self-awareness and contentment. And since you’ll be working on your entire essence (mind and body), you’ll soon experience a profound sense of wholeness that you never felt before.
Now that we’ve debunked how long meditation takes to work, it’s time you tried it yourself. There are numerous meditation techniques you could try. If you desire some help, try the Mindworks Meditation App. It is a guided meditation app that contains a wide array of helpful resources. You can download it freely on your device.