The Compound Effect of Meditation

I experienced the compound effect of meditation a couple months ago. Once in a while, this type of experience will creep up on me.

I was driving, on my way to visit family out of state. For whatever reason, this is a situation that normally triggers some anxious feelings. It has taken me years to recognize and understand this. To be clear, these feelings aren’t associated with visiting relatives (I’m not worried about what my uncle will say at Thanksgiving dinner). These are deeper feelings that go back to childhood, and ones that I’ve identified as the source of impulsive or addictive behaviors in the past.

Anyways, what happened was………. *drumroll please*……… I didn’t have those feelings! AT ALL. It came as a sudden realization. There was a feeling of emptiness. I felt lighter. There was a sense of peace. I can’t help but attribute this experience to the practice of consistently letting go, through hundreds of hours of meditation over many years.

What is the compound effect?

Compound interest explains how you can make a massive amount of money by investing a very small amount of money consistently over a long period of time.

The compound effect is what happens when you apply the process to any small decision in your life. Whether it’s cooking one more healthy meal per week, or meditating for five minutes per day, the effect of this action applied over a long period of time will produce RADICAL results. I’m not talking about 10 years, either. Seemingly insignificant decisions made every day over the course of a year are almost guaranteed to have a massive impact. Up the ante and you could see similar results in 3-6 months.

Unfortunately, it’s very easy for us to forget about the power of the compound effect.

The 3 most important things to remember about the compound effect

When you think about starting a meditation practice or creating any new habit, it’s important to remember how the compound effect works. This will enable you to stick with anything, even if it feels utterly useless. Here is what you need to remember…

You won’t know it’s working.

Until it already has. Chances are you won’t see the effects right away, or even for some time. If you can remain patient (especially in the very beginning), you will eventually experience the positive benefits along with a boost of motivation! You will start to understand how that one little commitment was changing you all along.

Applied to meditation: If you are brand new to meditation, the chances are great that you will experience immediate and recognizable benefits. However, chances are you will soon run into a period or phase where it becomes harder to sit, your mind races faster, and you begin to really question why you’re carving out all this time to sit still. It won’t feel like it’s working. More and more thoughts will come up that tell you what you should be doing, what you shouldn’t be doing, why this is a waste of time, and what you need to change. Letting these thoughts SURFACE is the work of meditation!

Less effort is better.

The compound effect doesn’t care how complex your system is for achieving your goals. All it cares about is that you do something on a consistent basis. Don’t sabotage yourself by attempting something you don’t even want to do. Start with an action that is SO easy you think to yourself, “How could I NOT do this every day?”

Applied to meditation: It’s easy to believe that 5 minutes of meditation won’t make a difference. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Something as simple as taking 3 deep breaths multiple times per day can have profound effects. In the end, the most important factor is consistency.

Narrow your focus.

One small change in habits will carry over into everything you do. You might not have any idea how, but it will. Trust that you don’t need 10 different strategies. You need a commitment to yourself, that you keep.

Applied to meditation: This is where the practice of mindfulness and meditation shines. Increasing your awareness of thoughts and feelings will have a direct impact on everything you do. As you become more conscious of the decisions you make, you automatically start to make better decisions in every area of your life.


When you make a commitment to a consistent meditation practice you are literally restoring your mental and physical health. The beautiful part about it is, there is no requirement to DO anything. You can just relax. You don’t have to change anything because your mind tells you that you should. When the time comes to change, you will just change – as long as you commit to giving yourself the time and space to let change happen.

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