How To Use Guided Meditation To Improve Your Life
Get ready to learn all that guided meditation has to offer.
If we desire to learn to better manage our stress and take care of ourselves, we may find it beneficial to develop a meditation practice. So let’s break down what guided meditation is, specifically, and ways to incorporate the practice into our own lives. Keep reading for meditation videos and resources that can help you create a meditation practice or enrich your current practice.
Before we narrow down the specifics of guided meditation, let’s talk about the umbrella term, “Mindfulness Meditation.” Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of your thoughts, senses, and feelings in the present moment. Meditation is the art of achieving mental clarity, calmness, and stability. Combined, these allow us to mentally train our brains to become aware of ourselves in order to promote relaxation.
Meditation may often be a solo practice, but guided meditation gives us the leeway to be assisted (or guided) by someone else. While this form of meditation may be available in person, such as in therapy or yoga classes, guided meditations are more commonly found in the form of audio tapes and videos. Guided meditation is most often led by experienced practitioners who may use scripts, visualization techniques, imagery, or verbal guidance to engage the listener.
These types of meditations support our ability to feel our emotions, be honest with ourselves, focus on the present moment, instill calmness, reduce negative emotions, and gain concentration and perspective (Hanh, 2009). As you continue reading, you will encounter various types of guided meditations with several different benefits that target a variety of issues.
How To Practice Guided Meditation
Here is a brief step-by-step guide to help you get situated before beginning your guided meditation routine.
Step 1: Find the time. I know this sounds simple, but as we try to balance the many facets of our lives, it can be difficult to set aside time to practice guided meditation. Whether it’s a quick break at work, spending a few fewer minutes in front of the TV or scrolling through social media, or maybe even during a nice bath, taking just a few minutes out of your day is essential to developing a meditative routine.
Step 2: Locate a quiet place. This simple task can sometimes be difficult, especially if our work or home lives are surrounded by several coworkers or family members. Try finding a place where you have your own peaceful space for a few minutes before beginning your guided meditation.
Step 3: Identify the video (or podcast) you would like to use. Several examples of guided meditations can be found below, but I would also gently encourage you to look through the thousands (if not millions) of videos online to find a few that interest you the most.
Step 4: Sit in a comfortable position. Find a position where your body feels at ease so that your mind can settle into relaxation.
Step 5: Press play and follow along. Once you’ve set up your space, now your job is to play the guided meditation and follow your guide’s instructions. If this is your very first time listening to a guided meditation, don’t worry if you find your mind wandering or feel like you’re having a hard time focusing. Do your best and make a habit of practicing your meditation, and you will get better at this practice as time goes on.
Below you will find some videos that you can explore to find the one(s) that you like best. One that may work for you may not work for a loved one, and vice versa.
Guided Meditations With Affirmations
Psychological research tells us that affirmations can boost our self-confidence and self-esteem, allow us to focus on our goals, provide us the ability to change negative thoughts into positive ones, and elevate our mood and life outlook (Correll, Spencer, & Zanna, 2004).
What better way to practice meditation and tell ourselves positive affirmations other than by combining the two practices together?
Guided Meditations With Gratitude
Positive psychologists have found evidence that gratitude plays an important role in our well-being and a daily gratitude practice can be beneficial for several reasons. Gratitude may especially be helpful for experiencing happier and more positive emotions, dealing with life’s challenges, being more intentional with and appreciating our personal relationships, and improving illness (Emmons & Shelton, 2002). The extra good news is that cultivating gratitude can be combined with the benefits of meditation.
Guided Meditation For Nights
Maybe you’ve finished your nighttime routine but somehow you find yourself ruminating about your day and struggling to fall asleep. One potential solution for remedying sleep difficulties is meditating before bed. Meditation not only promotes calmness but has shown evidence of increasing melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep) and reducing your heart rate, which can put you more at ease before your slumber (Black et al., 2015).
Hopefully, you now know a new method of relaxation to practice. So what are you waiting for? Take a breath and try a guided meditation today.
You can read more on meditation on Strides To Solutions website
Black, D. S., O’Reilly, G. A., Olmstead, R., Breen, E. C., & Irwin, M. R. (2015). Mindfulness meditation and improvement in sleep quality and daytime impairment among older adults with sleep disturbances: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA internal medicine, 175(4), 494-501.
Correll, J., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2004). An affirmed self and an open mind: Self-affirmation and sensitivity to argument strength. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40(3), 350-356.
Emmons, R. A., & Shelton, C. M. (2002). Gratitude and the science of positive psychology. Handbook of positive psychology, 18, 459-471.
Hanh, T. N. (2009). The Blooming of a Lotus: Revised Edition of the Classic Guided Meditation for Achieving the Miracle of Mindfulness [Revised edition] (p. 152). Beacon Press.