The results of meditation are not immediate, but there are some ways to tell if you’ve accomplished an elevated state of consciousness within one sitting. The results of other exercises are felt immediately in our muscles. The brain works differently. The signs that you are effectively practicing meditation are subtle. Pay close attention, your brain will be able to distinguish any changes if you start to look for them. These are some results that you can expect to feel within one session, but don’t feel bad if you can’t. Everyone works differently so keep at it and find your own signifiers of heightened brain activity.

Decreased Muscle Tension

The first and most obvious sign of effective meditation should be relaxation. As you breathe, you will find the tension in your shoulders, neck, and limbs decrease. Settling into a comfortable position is key to getting into your meditative state, so if you’re not feeling more relaxed, try a different position. If you don’t feel more relaxed, it may be that your expectations are keeping you from really allowing yourself to let go. It is not like a light switch turning on or off for everyone. Your muscles will gradually loosen.

Elevated Temperature

As you stimulate your brain, there will be increased blood flow through your spinal cord and into your head. Some people describe the experience as an increase in the feeling of blood to the head, with veins along the temples feeling more full and active. Others experience it as an elevated temperature. You may begin to produce sweat even though the temperature of the room around you has not changed. This is a sign that your circulation is changing and circulatory pathways are releasing more heat.

Heightened Sensation

With greater focus comes more powerful sensations. During your meditation, you may start to notice smaller changes in the environment around you. This can be distracting at first, but this is all part of the practice. Try not to focus on any one sound or sight in particular, but rather how they alter the total fabric of reality around you. Once you have completed your session, you can fully appreciate the clarity of your increased focus. You may begin to notice detail in sharper contrasts than before; sounds may be more easily perceived at a distance; tastes may be fuller and more satisfying. Through effective meditation, you are stepping back from reality and once you rejoin, the experience of reentering it will heighten the sensation of all stimuli.