Meditation is a practice that can feel wildly counterintuitive. One morning you're floating in a blissful paradise, and the next your mind is busier than Times Square on New Year's Eve. It's sometimes impossible to know whether or not your meditation is actually working.
The mistake new meditators often make is to look for signs of success within the meditation itself. But success in meditation should not be measured by the frequency or content of your thoughts during the practice. True success can only be determined by what happens outside of your daily practice.
Below are 30 less obvious but more accurate ways of gauging success in meditation. In other words, if you're new to meditation and you begin noticing any of the following changes, rest assured your meditation is working in spite of how busy your mind may seem during the practice:
- Your body prompts you when it's time to meditate.
- You feel energized.
- You're sleeping better at night.
- You're less needy.
- You're less controlling.
- You're able to see the silver lining in seemingly bad situations.
- Your cup is half full more often than not.
- You're more fearless in life.
- You worry less about things you can't control.
- You're more adaptable to change.
- You stop identifying with your ego as much.
- You take rejection a lot better.
- You get sick less often, even when you're around others who are sick.
- You enjoy your own company a lot more.
- You're more daring in life.
- You prioritize your self-care routine.
- You're more decisive.
- You're more present.
- You feel like a time billionaire.
- You're more compassionate.
- You have a stronger sex drive.
- You're more interested in others.
- You're more creative.
- You're less reactive.
- You have more regular bowel movements.
- You take things less personally.
- You're less likely to engage in codependent relationships.
- You feel more youthful.
- You don't require as much outside validation.
- You no longer care about the content of your thoughts during meditation.
Light Watkins is a Santa Monica–based Vedic Meditation teacher, mindbodygreen class instructor, TEDx speaker, and author of Bliss More, How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying. He grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and graduated from Howard University with a bachelor's in communications. Watkins recognized his passion for teaching meditation after meeting his Guru in 2002. Following years of daily meditation, Vedic studies, and apprenticeship, he traveled to India to be trained in the ancient ways of teaching meditation. His students have used meditation to treat symptoms of PTSD, hypertension, sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, and cancer.