Meditation has been around for centuries, and only recently have its benefits become widely known. From reducing stress to improving health, it has been shown time and again as a way of living better. This article will teach you everything about guided meditations so that you can find one suited just for yourself!
What is a Guided Meditation?
Meditation is a great way to relax and focus your thoughts. In guided meditation, the guide leads you through the session with voice instructions. The most common form of this type of meditation uses recordings found on apps or podcasts.
In guided meditations, our practice is shaped by another person’s voice because the mind usually wanders on its own. We find it easier to focus when our minds are not left entirely up for grabs.
There may be guidance from someone live in group settings, but these sessions often take place as audio files recorded earlier. This allows for all-around access no matter what platform works best for you.
Guided Meditation Types
This type intends to promote compassion and kindness. It may help those dealing with feelings of anger or resentment.
Loving-kindness meditation typically involves opening the mind to receive love from others and sending a series of loving thoughts towards loved ones, friends, and all living beings. This practice can strengthen your love for yourself and other people by teaching you compassion during difficult times.
This is a type of meditation that focuses on expressing gratitude for the things in your life.
Gratitude can be practiced anywhere and at any time, whether you’re waiting by the coffee machine or listening to an upbeat tune while driving home after work.
To truly practice it well, one must appreciate not only what they already enjoy but also those parts that are less desirable. Not just because bad times pass eventually, but because we learn something new from them every day.
Recognizing these blessings in everything is what gratitude is all about.
The body scan is a mindfulness practice created to help people become more aware of their physical selves.
It starts by tuning in and noticing the sensations you feel without judgment, which usually leads to relaxation for many people who practice it regularly.
The goal isn’t really about just being relaxed, though- instead, it is about acceptance and feeling what you feel without judgment.
Emotional-Release encourages us to sit with discomfort without experiencing impatience. It helps us work with complex and challenging emotions and allow ourselves to let them go with love. This helps us to come to know these aspects of ourselves, developing patience as a result.
We gain tolerance for feelings like anger or sadness while still being able to experience them fully. This leads to self-acceptance.
Focused Attention Guided Meditation
Focused Attention is when you use any of the five senses to focus your attention on. For example, a common way would be focusing on your breath or bringing in external influences like counting mala beads while listening to gongs or staring at a candle flame.
It might be difficult for beginners to focus on one thing for too long, and their thoughts wander. The name suggests this practice is ideal for people who need more concentration in their day-to-day lives.
Benefits of Practicing Guided Meditation
Consistent practice has many benefits for your physical and emotional body.
Meditation changes how you respond to stress and helps you recover from stressful situations and experience less stress in your everyday life.
Overall well-being and happiness considerably increase in those who practice meditation often.
Sleep problems, such as insomnia, considerably reduce in people who practice meditation.
Improved Memory and Concentration
Studies have shown that even a meditation practice of as short as two weeks can increase concentration and memory in people.
Inflammatory reactions, such as acne, stomach problems, and skin reactions lessen with the practice of meditation. This reaction is because of the decrease in cortisol which causes inflammation in the body.
People who practice meditation tend to accept other perspectives, have reduced judgment towards others and themselves, and recognize that suffering is a common trait that everyone has to go through.
Changes in the brain
The parts of the brain related to attention, memory, emotions, and fear have shown positive changes in people who practice meditation regularly.
- A study conducted by a team of neuroscientists in UCLA in 2016 showed that a three-month course of yoga and meditation helped minimize the cognitive and emotional problems faced by people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. It proved to be more effective than the memory enhancement exercises that are the standard for these patients. (See Article)
- Benjamin Shapero, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study with Gaëlle Desbordes, a neuroscientist at Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, in 2012 to demonstrate how meditation changes brain activity. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), she recorded brain activity with people who have a consistent meditation practice. This study proved that the brains of people who practice meditation show changes even when they’re not meditating. They took pictures of the brains before the meditation practice and two months after the meditation practice for comparison. The amygdala showed considerable changes between the two images. (See Article)
Best Guided Meditation Apps to Get You Started
Meditation may sound very difficult when you are just starting. Using these apps can make your experience more accessible:
- Insight Timer
- Ten Percent Happier Meditation
It’s common for your mind to wander during meditation, but no matter how long you’ve been practicing it, if attention wanders, slowly return to the object. Experiment with different types of meditations and find out what works best for you. Adapt something that will help reduce stress as well as make life better overall.
Try out this guided meditation and leave a comment below to share your experience with meditations!