Young man in a coffee shop studying after meditation

How to Meditate Before Exams

If you meditate before exams, it can help clear your mind and create a more receptive state for learning. Just 10 minutes may be enough to boost your focus and concentration ahead of your study session. If your mind tends to race when you’re supposed to be studying or before you take an exam, you’re…

A man smiling happily outside in the sunshine with sunglasses on

How to Increase Your Happiness Set Point

The Happiness Set Point is a theory that says 50% (or more) of your happiness is determined by genetic factors. The rest of your happiness level is determined by where and how you live your life, and your mindset. Studies have shown the most powerful way to increase your happiness set point is to engage…

What to Do With Your Hands During Meditation

Meditation Hand Positions (A Short Beginner’s Guide)

When meditating, you should put your hands in the position that’s most comfortable for you. Common poses include one hand clasping the other, and each hand resting on one knee. There are also a number of ‘mudras’ you can try that carry meaning in some meditation traditions. Whether you’re just starting meditation or have been…

Group of people meditating in a park on World Meditation Day - May 21

World Meditation Day Is May 21

World Meditation Day happens every year on May 21. Let’s be honest: most of the “National this-and-that” days that show up on your social media feeds these days are marketing stunts. But World Meditation Day doesn’t have an agenda. It’s just a gentle reminder that if you’re looking for less stress and more calm, meditation…

How to Meditate In A Noisy Place

How to Meditate In A Noisy Place

Wondering how to meditate in a noisy place? Surprisingly, it’s possible, not only with noise-canceling headphones—but also by training your mind to observe noise differently. It’s hard enough meditating with all the thoughts your mind generates. Adding environmental noise on top of your normal mental chatter can create a distracting atmosphere where it feels almost…

Shaolin monk meditating while crossing hands in the lotus position

Shaolin Meditation Techniques (A Short Beginner’s Guide)

Shaolin meditation techniques originated hundreds of years ago in China, and they show up frequently in movies and popular culture. But what exactly is Shaolin meditation? And how is it different from other meditation techniques? Meditation never looks cooler than when it’s being done by Shaolin monks. If you’ve seen a martial arts movie, you’ve…

Man holding a raisin about to do the raisin mindfulness meditation exercise

The Raisin Exercise for Mindfulness

The raisin exercise for mindfulness, also known as the raisin meditation, is a way to practice staying present, even during activities that we normally do on autopilot. To do the exercise, you take a raisin and slowly observe it with all of your senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Then, you pay attention to…

Man meditating outside

How Long Does Meditation Take to Work?

The effects of meditation are most commonly seen within eight weeks of daily practice. However, it’s possible for meditation practitioners to notice small changes before that—even as soon as the first meditation session. It’s also possible to have difficulty noticing the changes brought on by meditation even after eight weeks of practice. The experience differs…

How to Know if Meditation is Working

5 Signs of Progress in Meditation

Signs of progress in meditation are subtle. If you’re not as bothered by what used to bother you, you’re more often in the present, or you’re having random “mindful moments,” you’re probably making progress in meditation. The only way to see how much progress you make over time is to pay attention to your daily…

How Long Should I Meditate In the Morning

How Long Should You Meditate?

How long should you meditate? Meditate for any amount of time that’s sustainable for you in the long term. If you have time, try and meditate for 20-30 minutes. This length of time gives you a chance to get past the “busy mind” stage of meditation, and settle into a more peaceful rhythm that leaves…

Does meditation make you happy

Does Meditation Make You Happier?

Yes, meditation makes you happier. Research shows that participants in meditation programs report feeling happier, less anxious, and less stressed. However, meditation can take a long time to feel like it’s “working”. Most people start meditating because they want to reduce stress and anxiety in their lives, and feel calmer throughout the day. In short,…

How to be more present featured

How to Be More Present (Starting Right Now)

If you’re wondering how to be more present, there’s no switch you can flip for instant results. Instead, being more present and mindful is a matter of improving a little every day. While imperceptible in the moment, this has enormous impact over time. Like going to the gym, learning to be more present and mindful…

Woman praying outdoors at sunset

Meditation vs Prayer (5 Ways They’re Different)

The main difference between meditation and prayer is that prayer involves belief in a deity and active communication, while meditation requires no beliefs and is an independent practice of nonjudgmental observation. Meditation and prayer have a close relationship. Both have been around for thousands of years, and to make matters more complex, there are forms…

Woman scratching an itch while meditating

Can You Scratch an Itch During Meditation?

We all know that feeling. You’re settling into your meditation, and then it happens—an itch. Your mind starts to focus on that one single area of annoyance on your body, and all of a sudden, it’s all you can think about. Sitting with an itchy sensation can benefit your meditation practice, but sometimes, there’s no…

Man meditating in a room with his eyes closed

Is Meditation A Hobby?

Yes, meditation is a hobby. Some people have a hard time conceptualizing meditation, which is defined by “being” rather than “doing,” as a hobby. However, if meditation is part of how you like to spend your free time, it’s a hobby (and you can put it on your resume or CV, too). Have you ever…

Man meditating outdoors with his eyes closed

Mantra Meditation (Benefits + How to Practice)

Mantra meditation occupies your mind, stopping your normal train of thought and clearing your mind. For the purposes of this article, I reviewed the history of mantra meditation and also tried it myself using a free app, so I could compare it against my experience with other forms of meditation. Mantra meditation is a form…

Group of people meditating

How Many People Meditate In The World?

Approximately 275 million people meditate around the world. The data behind this estimate is a combination of government surveys and Google Trends data across multiple languages. In this article, I’ll walk you through how I reached this estimate, and why I think it’s the most accurate answer to date. It’s harder to find an answer…

Woman stretching before running outside

Is It Better to Meditate Before Or After Working Out?

Is it better to meditate before or after working out? The short answer is that both options are totally fine. Preferably, you should do them in whichever order helps you keep both habits going long-term. Meditation and exercise in the morning is often seen as the ideal routine to prepare both your mind and body…

Woman meditating in a meditation studio with her eyes open

Can Meditation Be Bad For You?

Can meditation be bad for you? While some anecdotal reports of meditation have shown negative experiences, the National Institutes of Health has declared meditation safe for healthy people. Meditation has been shown to be an exceptionally low-risk activity with a wide range of benefits. While there have been some anecdotal reports of negative experiences with…

Woman playing chess

Does Meditation Make You Smarter?

Did you know that in addition to all the other benefits meditation has—an improved sense of calm, less stress, more emotional resilience—meditation may make you smarter, too? Based on a variety of studies in recent decades on both IQ and EQ, it looks likely that meditation has the capacity to increase both your intelligence and…