When we start to meditate, we often want to give it everything we have. We jump into meditation head first, spending an incredible amount of time learning more about ourselves at the beginning. But what happens when your motivation is gone and you can’t see the results yet?
Meditating too much can be as harmful as meditating too little. But what exactly is too much meditation? Do you really need to meditate every day, or would it be better to do it only three-four times a week?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to meditating every day. You might feel overwhelmed by the fact you have to do it even if you don’t feel like it, because you made a promise to yourself and you don’t want to feel like a failure. But, on the other hand, if you do manage to meditate every day, the results could show up faster in your life.
The thing is that everyone is different, and this is especially true in the case of meditation. For some people, results will only happen if they meditate every day, while for others, constant commitment is only a setback, it doesn’t propel them forward. In other words, whether you need to meditate every day or a certain number of days a week to get real results depends on your individual circumstances and what works for you.
For example, if you suffer from depression and anxiety, then a daily meditation can uplift your mood because you will have something to look forward to. However, it can also feel overwhelming, because you inevitably put too much pressure on the fact that you have to do it to feel better, and if it fails to give you instant results, it can send you further down the rabbit hole.
But this is a tricky question even if you don’t have any mental health conditions. We are all so proud of our busy lives that we don’t really want to admit that we need to slow down, even if it is only for a little bit a day. Our ego plays a massive part in whether we can meditate every day or not.
And even if we understand all the positive effects meditation will have on our lives, and we need to establish a constant routine where we meditate regularly to see those results, we can’t deny the fact that both meditating every day and meditating three-four times a week have their own downside. Let’s now look at some of the possible issues you might face in both scenarios.
Negative aspects of meditating every day:
Apart from the positive effects that are promised at the end of the road, meditating every day has a few hidden pitfalls that you can easily fall into, if you aren’t careful enough. Having to do something every day, even if we know that it will help us in the long run, isn’t easy. It can soon become a chore, and as such, a hindrance. Let’s look at a few aspects of why:
You have to do it even if you don’t feel like it
Let’s face it: there will be days when all you want to do is curl up with a nice book and read, or watch a movie and forget about all your commitments. But because you made meditation your daily commitment, it will play at the back of your mind.
You will still have to do it, because you made a promise. If you do end up convincing yourself that this is how it has to be, and there is no other way, you will still feel awful about it. Meditation will quickly become the task that prevented you from doing what you really wanted.
And if you don’t meditate, that will play at the back of your mind, too. You will feel guilty for not fulfilling your promise to yourself. Depending on your circumstances, this can escalate and you can feel like you failed even before you truly began.
Try meditating first thing in the morning, so you can tick it off your list straight away. This way you won’t have much time worrying about it. Do it while you are still in bed for the first few weeks, while listening to positive, encouraging videos. Your whole day will feel different, and you will no longer feel like you have a chore to do at the end of the day.
You don’t see the results straight away
Meditation is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Results won’t come straight away, and although you knew that the moment you signed up for it, knowing it and seeing it in practice are two different things.
Because you made a decision to meditate every day, regardless of the results, you will still have to be committed. And on a bad day, motivation will be hard to come by, especially if you are new to meditation.
When we decide to do something every day, we need to have at least a little incentive before we get to the big prize.
Try to reward yourself after meditating, especially on a bad day. This could be anything from a nice bath to your favourite coffee. Just make sure you leave room for the big results, too.
You feel like you have other stuff to do
When you meditate every day, you won’t always be able to forget about everything that’s going on in your life. How could you? You did this less than 24 hours ago, and now you are obliged to do it again.
This makes meditating especially hard when you have a deadline the next day. Taking time out of your busy schedule is hard enough already, so doing it this time will be even harder.
If you can’t decrease the number of times you meditate, try to decrease the time. Everyone has at least 10 minutes a day they can spare. If you think about it, you might have to give something up to make it happen (i.e. your daily Facebook timeline scroll or the crosswords), but it will be worth it in the end, because all you are ‘wasting’ is your downtime that you were ‘wasting’ already anyway.
You end up distracting yourself
You have a lot on your mind, and you went through the same meditation techniques yesterday and the day before that as well. You feel like there is nothing new meditation can give you for the day, but you still need to go through with it, because it will get you results in the end, right?
The problem is that because you don’t see the point in meditating, you won’t do it the right way. Your mind will automatically wander, and this way you will waste that time you considered so precious in the first place.
Try mixing up your meditation routine, to make it more interesting. Create a schedule if you like. Day 1: Guided meditation to heal. Day 2: Relaxing music for a peace of mind. Day 3: Yoga. Day 4: Chakra meditation. Day 5: Nature sounds for deep sleep.
Whatever your routine might be, it’s important to make it varied, otherwise, you will end up getting bored with it. Even though meditation is good for you, it will only be beneficial if you do it with an open mind and an open heart.
Negative aspects of meditating three times a week:
For some, meditating every day isn’t an option, but doing it regularly provides similar results. The positive effects of both are pretty much the same, but let’s look at some of the negative aspects of meditating three-four times a week in order to be able to decide which method works better than the other.
You might skip too many sessions
If you have the option to be flexible and skip a day or two, you might end up skipping a whole week without even realizing it. If you don’t have a set routine, it will be much harder to keep track of how many times you did it.
Write a journal and have sets days in the week when you plan to meditate. Having a day or two off in-between can help ease the tension, but it can also ensure that you have a clear routine and you don’t skip too many days.
On non-meditation days you might feel worse
Meditation can easily become a habit you get used to, and as such, you might miss it on the days when you don’t have it. There is nothing wrong with that! But if you can’t commit to meditating every day, and still you miss it on the days you are off, you are in a catch-22 situation.
In this case, not meditating that day can actually make you feel worse, even though you aren’t letting yourself down. You can still feel disheartened and lost.
Try embracing other aspects of meditation on your days off, like calming music, walks in nature, or just simply listening to the birds singing. Just because you don’t meditate every day, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use what you have learnt and implement it into your daily routine. Take a few minutes to reflect on your day to make you feel better.
You might not get into the mindset
When you meditate every day, it becomes part of your routine, and with enough practice, you will get better at concentrating. However, when you only meditate a few times in the week, that focus could shift back to where it was.
In our hectic lives, if something provides a temporary escape, sometimes we don’t look at the big picture and where it could lead us in the long run. Instead we deem it unworthy of our attention, because it doesn’t provide us with immediate results.
On the days when you don’t meditate, still, try to get into the same mindset you would if you did have a meditation scheduled in. Draw a relaxing bath, read a chapter of your favorite book, listen to calming music. During your usual time of meditating, supplement it with something equally relaxing. This way, you won’t fall out of practice.
You might feel it’s not enough
If you have it in your mind that you should be meditating every day, but you only do it three times a week, after a while this could make you feel like you aren’t doing enough for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Instead of the positive effects, this will result in disappointment and a notion that you have to second-guess yourself.
Instead of looking at what else could you do to meditate in a better way, focus on what you are already doing. Meditating three times a week is way more than what you did for your health when you didn’t meditate at all.
Give yourself some time and try to be easy on yourself. Meditating every day doesn’t work for everyone, and the same goes for meditating three times a week. But don’t stop just because you feel like you aren’t doing enough, and don’t overstrain yourself, either.
The key here is to know your own limits and work around them. And the main point of meditation is to shift your focus towards all the good things.
Meditating every day vs three days a week: conclusion
Both meditating every day and meditating on a regular basis, but without too much pressure put on it, provides us with similar results. However, there is no size fits all, so everyone needs to find what works for them best. And it is always easier to increase the frequency then go back to less days.
All in all, starting your meditation journey three times a week to begin with might be the best option, with a potential increase to every day if you feel like you can handle it. But don’t forget: you can always switch between the two methods if they don’t work out for you, or find something completely different.
The key is to learn more about yourself in the process and figure out what works for you. Consistency is key either way for long term results, but how consistent you will be will be up to you.