The beauty of meditation is that it can be practiced at any time of any day. But depending on your specific goals and needs, the benefits of guided meditation can be more profound during different day parts.
This is part three of a four-part series covering meditation’s advantages at different times throughout the day and week. We’ve covered the morning and mid-day so far, and today we’ll discuss the benefits of getting into a state of mindfulness in the early evening. More important than when is how often when committing to a meditation routine, so we hope you’ll discover your ideal time to make consistent practice part of your schedule.
Let The Day Go
Do you often feel like you take work home with you? If you’re a dweller on the day that’s just been, practicing meditation right after you clock out of the office can be a great way to draw a line between work and the rest of your life.
Since the mind has been awake and active for ten or so hours by the time you’re off work, it could use a reset. Guided meditation allows you to set your own goals and intentions, then give over to the simplicity of following your breath. After a full day of being asked to fulfill duties and obligations, putting yourself in an expectation-free environment is liberating.
The Antidote to Mindlessness
Most of us spend our evenings turning off our brains and turning on one of the seemingly infinite sources of entertainment available to us every night. And while there’s nothing wrong with a good show binge, it is very possible that our routine affords us zero time to be with our own thoughts and experience the present.
The ideal meditation environment, especially for a new meditator, is one that’s free of stimulation. Ironically, this setting helps the brain come alive – much like a physical workout. Television, YouTube rabbit holes or social media scroll sessions require so little brain activity that limiting your exposure to them, or giving them up entirely, can actually jolt your brain awake.
Since the goal of meditation is to produce mindfulness that carries over into every part of life, participating in evening activities that effectively switch the brain off put us at a deficit for attention, stress and ability to empathize with others.
Get Better Sleep
Not only do evening electronics effect our ability to stay present in every moment, they also emit light and waves that prevent us from experiencing healthy REM cycles when we sleep. Lack of quality sleep is an often-overlooked cause of stress, one that compounds if left untreated.
Meditation, on the other hand, has been shown to lead to more restful sleep. When we’re mindful, we’re more in tune with our body telling us we’re tired and more likely to get in a good habit of going to bed at the same time every night. Meditation also trains us to recognize what a relaxed state feels like so we can more easily enter one at night.
Watch The Clock
While there is nothing wrong with making evening meditation part of your daily routine, it’s important not to wait too late to get going. Meditation should not be used as a way to fall asleep – yes, it helps you fall asleep and be more rested, but performing the practice shouldn’t cause you to drift off. Treat meditation as its own separate activity and allow for its effects to work so you can get the most benefit from it.
Stick to an early-evening meditation schedule to find your cooling-down center and mindfully transition from work and errands to home, then back again the next morning.