Too much of a good thing can be bad. This is also true of meditation. While the benefits of meditation are frequently extolled, not many people know that meditating too much can be bad for some. Meditation is an exercise for the mind, but it is no different from physical activities like running or lifting weights.
A 30-minute run every day or lifting weights thrice a week can work wonders for your physical health, weight, and fitness. But when you overdo these activities, you can end up with runner’s knee, sore muscles, or more serious injuries. Similarly, meditating too much has been known to induce fatigue, depression, fear and, confusion in some people.
Kundalini Syndrome: A Negative Side Effect of Meditating Too Much
There are many different types of meditation. The primary goal of every kind of meditative practice is to reveal your inner world of consciousness to help you decipher your motivations and feelings and make peace with unresolved issues. But the journeys into the depths of your psyche can also bring to the surface many buried and long-forgotten emotions and traumatic feelings. This can be a daunting and emotionally draining experience.
If you cannot deal with these negative emotions, they can overwhelm you and even cause distressful physical symptoms like shaking and pain. This is the Kundalini Syndrome, and many people make the mistake of continuing to meditate hoping to bury these uncomfortable feelings. This worsens the symptoms.
The best way to deal with Kundalini Syndrome is to reduce the duration of the meditation sessions or stop them altogether. Talking to a counselor or a trusted acquaintance can also help you understand and deal better with the negative feelings.
Feelings of Frustration: The Pitfalls of Meditating Too Much
Meditation increases self-awareness, enhances your ability to focus on the task at hand, increases self-control, and induces calmness. But these benefits are not achieved overnight. It takes months and years of practice to increase the powers of the mind, and some people become frustrated and feel disheartened when they do not see instantaneous results.
These feelings may then lead to depression in some people while others feel stressed out trying to figure out what they are doing wrong. So in the quest to attain peace of mind, meditating too much can end up increasing stress and frustration levels.
Dissociation from the External World: The Result of Misinterpreting Meditation
The practice of meditation has stemmed from Eastern philosophy that propounds themes like renunciation, detachment, and celibacy. So the principal techniques of meditation are suited to someone who is living the life of a monk in a monastery. But the average Westerner with a family to take care of, a job to hold on to, and retirement plans to make cannot just “let go” and retreat into his mind. So when he tries to practice detachment and celibacy in his daily life, the common man with responsibilities either finds the situation conflicting and stressful or goes overboard, shirks his personal and professional responsibilities, and ends up dissociating himself from the world around him.
So how much meditation is too much? Most practitioners agree that two 20-minute sessions daily are adequate. A single 40-minute session may be too intense and tiring for most beginners. What is more, meditating for 40 minutes at a stretch has not been shown to bring about added benefits. But remember to stop meditating whenever you notice any mental discomfort. Meditation is a powerful self-healing process that taps into an individual’s inner reserves of strength and adaptability. Considering its potency, the side effects of meditation are remarkably few. Now it is up to you to be sensible while practicing it.