Adults are meditating more. In fact, a 2017 survey found that the number of adults that meditated in a previous 12-month period rose from 4.1% in 2012 to over 14.2% in 2017. If you want to start on your own path to mindful living but can’t seem to find the motivation, the benefits of group meditation may help.
The science behind meditation is promising and you don’t need to spend a dime. You can meditate with friends, family or, if you wish, you can also go to an official meditation group in your area that will cost money.
But today, we’ll outline why group meditation may be good for you (it’s definitely not for everyone). However, if the practice of meditation is something you’re interested in but you can’t seem to fit it into your daily rituals, regular practice in a group setting will definitely help.
7 Benefits of Group Meditation
1. Group Meditation Keeps You Motivated
A lot of people practice mindfulness and meditation on their own. For me, personally, I prefer to meditate outside of a group setting. I find groups make me feel self-conscious, and then I rely too much on the group.
However, studies on doing activities in groups indicate that a group setting can lead to:
- Intrinsic motivation
- Greater consistency
- Enhanced social skills
- Boosted engagement
Note: Group meditation may or may not be for you. If you find that you’re 100% reliant on the group and if the group disbanded you wouldn’t meditate on your own, this can be detrimental to your practice. For example, many people do this with the gym. They’ll find a partner, stay motivated and never go when their partner isn’t there. Don’t become too reliant on one person as the reason for attending a mindfulness meditation group.
2. Meet Like-minded Friends
Socialization is another reason to join in group activities. If you want to expand your friend circle or get to know like-minded people in your area, group meditation may be a good option for you.
However, there are a few points to remember here:
- Don’t try talking to anyone in the middle of the class
- Get to the meditation early if you want to mingle
- Be mindful that some people may not be there to socialize
Finally, we’re going to go deeper into the benefits of group meditation to see how meditation can help your emotional and physical health.
3. Reduce Stress Levels
Stress is a part of life. Right? If you’re alive, there’s always some sort of stress each week. Perhaps you’re stressed about work, money, relationships, or someone being sick – there are many reasons to be stressed.
However, did you know that meditation reduces stress?
In fact, a mindfulness-based meta-analysis of 209 studies found that meditation can help improve quality of life by significantly reducing:
With that said, don’t expect to experience this benefit immediately during your first group session unless you know how to meditate properly. Often, you’ll meditate for the first time and fall asleep, or you may start worrying about your focus, which is jumping to everything from what you’re going to eat for dinner to work.
If you want to reduce your stress by meditating, be sure to give it multiple sessions.
You won’t instantly feel the weight of the world lift off of your shoulders after a single group meditation. But, over time and with weekly or daily meditation practice, your stress levels will eventually fall.
4. Lower Your Blood Pressure
One of the main benefits of meditation is reducing blood pressure. You can achieve this through multiple meditation styles, but mindfulness meditation works exceptionally well for lowering blood pressure.
- 2012 review found that in people with high blood pressure, meditation could reduce both SBP and DBP.
- 2019 study involving 2 hours of meditation each week for eight weeks found that participants who meditated had lower DBP, resting BP and SBP levels.
We’re not saying that you’ll avoid heart disease or a heart attack by meditating, but you can reduce your blood pressure and stress.
In fact, if you read through the studies linked above (please do, they’re great resources), you’ll find that there are small or modest reductions that researchers state are meaningful.
5. Learn How to Meditate With a Leader
If you’re just learning, join a class that is being taught by a meditation expert. Many classes are thrown together by friends or someone that likes the aspects of meditation but isn’t an expert.
And there is nothing wrong with these classes and they are many people’s first meditation experience.
However, if you’ve never taken meditation courses before or need a little extra guidance, a group meditation class guided by an expert is ideal.
These professionals can:
- Answer questions about meditation
- Make the experience better
- Act as guides for enhancing your practice
6. Boost Your Productivity
If you have trouble staying focused at work or in your general life, meditation can help. Oftentimes, people meditate to:
- Relieve stress
- Blast away anxiety
- Clear their mind
And when you’re not stressed or anxious, you’ll be more productive. However, you may want to try transcendental meditation if you want to be more productive. Studies show that this form of meditation works well for productivity and also helps people relieve job tension and anxiety.
One thing to note is that regular meditation is key to enhancing your productivity.
Don’t expect your productivity to soar after one or two meditation sessions.
7. Blast Away Anxiety
Do you have anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. 40 million people in the US alone have anxiety. Meditation has been thoroughly studied for its impact on anxiety.
A 2010 meta-analysis of 39 studies found that mindfulness meditation provided moderate anxiety relief in people that didn’t have mood disorders. However, individuals who entered the studies with mood or anxiety disorders experienced a much higher rate of anxiety reduction.
If you have general anxiety disorder (GAD), this 2013 study is what you want to read. Researchers found that in people with GAD, anxiety levels fell after meditating. Stress levels also fell after meditating for this group.
What About Online Group Meditation Benefits?
Online group meditation also offers the same benefits. In fact, if you can’t find the time to join a group near you, don’t want to deal with the traffic or simply rather try meditating online, you should.
A few of the great benefits of an online meditation group are:
- Many groups are free
- Join groups from leaders worldwide
- Classes at varying times of the day and night
- No need to drive or deal with traffic
And, you’ll also experience the same great group meditation benefits listed above from the comfort of your own home. That’s the magic of meditation: you can meditate wherever you are in the world.
If you want to experience the benefits of group meditation, join a local class, lead a group meditation class yourself or attend one online. And if you have friends interested in joining a meditation session, start your own group among friends.
Together, you’ll experience the effects of meditation while strengthening your friend circle in the process.
PS: Group meditation is just one method of meditation. You can find dozens of different forms to practice, including two which we recently wrote about: mantra meditation and candle meditation.