Mind | Written by: Katelyn Son

Can You Meditate Too Much?

Meditation can be a helpful tool to balance your body and mind. The practice of regular meditation can help ease stress, anxiety, and in some cases even chronic pain. In a busy world, meditation has a calming effect to clear your brain of clutter.

Meditation helps train your brain to be more mindful – giving you the ability to be present and fully engaged so you can analyze your feelings and observe them without judgment. It's a technique that gives you a heightened state of awareness, allowing you to focus and ultimately, learn more about yourself. Many people use meditation as a way to clear their mind and calm their stress and anxiety.

Research shows the practice of meditation is a powerful thing, and there have been many studies that show meditation can keep us healthy.

It’s been shown that meditation is good for our hearts, and can help people at risk for heart disease by bringing blood pressure down. Meditation also may decrease cognitive decline from Alzheimer’s disease. In another study, using meditation helped people cope with pain from illnesses or chronic conditions.

While its clear meditation is an amazing practice that has plenty of benefits, there are potential downsides that come with it. You can have too much of a good thing, and instead of meditation being a positive outlet, it can become harmful to your health. In fact, in some extreme cases, you can meditate too much, and here are the potential downsides.

Meditation Can Become an Addiction

Meditation can start as a healthy habit, but can morph into an addiction when you become too dependent on it. Like an addiction, it can become all you think about and if you miss a meditation session you can become emotionally distraught. Over-meditation can affect your mental and physical health, leaving you in emotional distress.

Withdrawal From Family and Friends

By relying on meditation, you may go to drastic lengths so that you don't miss a session. This can cause you to become withdrawn from outside activities, family, and friends. You may shut yourself out, missing social and family events so that you can focus on your meditation and not risk missing it.

Alienating those close to you can also put you at losing close relationships. By missing social events and avoiding social interaction, you can also lose friends over an addiction to meditation.

Becoming Unattached From Reality

Because of this disassociation with family and friends, it can cause you to become unattached to reality. In addition, you may also lose interest in media like TV and internet – eventually losing your tie to the outside world.

You may even become irritable when friends try to reach out or encroach on your meditation time. Eventually, it might be difficult to relate to anyone and with no social connection or information on what's going on in the world, you can feel lonely and isolated.

Loss of Appetite

When you meditate you may experience a euphoric feeling that can lead to an addiction. Because you become so consumed by this feeling that you crave, you can start to forget your basic needs. You may change your eating habits or even forget to eat at times.

This may contribute to an unhealthy weight loss and your body can become nutrient deficient if you are not getting the food you need. Because of this, you may start to feel dizzy or weak and you can also become dehydrated.

Loss of Sleep

You may stay up late hours to meditate alone or be unable to sleep if you can't meditate. On the other hand, you may also be getting up earlier to meditate before work, cutting into your time to sleep.

By cutting into your sleep, you may start nodding off during the day. This can cause drowsiness and potentially impact your ability to function, putting you at risk when you drive or do simple tasks.

Hiding from Your Problems

When you rely on meditation as an escape, you’re only masking your issues instead of facing them. It can be helpful to use meditation for clarity, but it can also be a distraction from actually dealing with your issues.

It's easy to use something like meditation to hide behind your problems, because it's easier than confronting them head-on and finding the source of the issue.

By using meditation as a mask, you may actually develop feelings of depression because you’re not actually dealing with your issues. If you're not careful, meditation can cause more problems than it actually fixes.

Meditation in Moderation

Although these scenarios may seem extreme, and some of them even silly, they can become a real problem. Ultimately, meditation is a healthy habit that can be used to assist in relieving stress and anxiety, but like any good thing, you need to use it in moderation.

Make sure to use meditation as needed and don't rely on it as your escape from reality. To prevent this from happening, set guidelines for yourself right away so you don't get too carried away with your meditation practice. Try reserving just five minutes right when you wake up, and five more before bed. This will provide you with much needed mental clarity as you start and end your day.
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