Mindful

I meditate for 15 minutes every morning, and I’ve become pretty comfortable with that routine. Should I increase the length of my sessions?

If you’ve developed a solid routine like this, of sitting for any amount of meditation every day, the first thing you should do is to pause and take that in. That is an important and noteworthy accomplishment that many people only dream of. Great work!

There is some emerging evidence that more benefits may result from spending more time in mindfulness practice, but I would suggest letting your experience be your guide. What feels right to you? Do you notice the impact of your practice on the rest of your life? Would you appreciate more of whatever it is that you notice? That could be the answer to your question.

There is some emerging evidence that more benefits may result from spending more time in mindfulness practice, but I would suggest letting your experience be your guide.

But curiosity should really be your guide in this situation. See if you might look at extending your practice as a kind of experiment or adventure—try adding 5, 10, or 15 minutes—letting go of specific expectations about what that longer practice might yield, and simply show up and be curious. See what you notice, just like you always have. Some people find that when they practice for longer than 15 minutes, they face challenges that never arise in shorter practice sessions. That may or may not be your experience, but you’ll never know unless you try. And as far as science knows, you’re very unlikely to overdose on a little bit of regular meditation practice!

This article appeared in the June 2018 issue of Mindful magazine.

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Steve Hickman

Steve Hickman is founder and director of the University of California at San Diego Center for Mindfulness. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Psychiatry and Family & Preventive Medicine Departments.

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