Guided Meditation – How and Why To Get Started With Guided Meditation.
What is Guided Meditation?
Everyone has heard of meditation, but much of what is presented by pop culture gives the wrong idea. There is much more to meditation than sitting cross-legged and humming, it is comes in many varied forms. Perhaps the most easily accessible form of meditation for beginners is guided meditation. Guided meditation is where you sit, or lie down in a comfortable manner and have someone else guide you through what to think or what to imagine. The guide, whether there in person or, more commonly, as a recording, will calmly give you instructions, often building an imaginary world in your mind which allows you to release tension in your body and relax. Often in addition to the guide's voice there will also be calming music played, or perhaps sound effects related to the guide's scene.
Guided meditation is the easiest method for a beginner to experience the effects of meditation, since rather than trying to clear your mind of conscious thought, the guide actively gives you something to concentrate on. This takes the stress out of meditation for those not familiar with it, and of course the idea is that meditation be as stress-free as possible.
What are The Benefits of Guided Meditation?
Whilst meditation is often seen in the realms of spiritually, religion and alternative medicine, there are many benefits of regular meditation that have been shown my modern science. These benefits are real, and the effects are noticeable to those who regularly meditate, and without the aid of modern science it is easy to see why these effects might have been attributed to the effect of a higher power.
Have you tried meditating before?
The number one benefit of meditation is a reduction in stress. This reduction is not limited to during or directly following a meditation session either, the effects can be long lasting, and body and mind is shown to better cope with future stress it is exposed to. The same goes for anxiety and depression. You will find yourself feeling much calmer and life much easier once you begin to meditate.
Meditation forces us to focus on being mindful. Mindfulness is existing absolutely in the moment. It stops us from worrying about problems that might happen in the future, and let go of things that went wrong in the past. Concentrating simply on what is happening right now. The wonderful thing about mindfulness is that the more you practice it, the better you get at it. This improves your focus across all situations, giving you a boost in productivity in this world full of constant distraction.
Some studies have even shown a link between meditation and physical health, reducing the incidence of heart disease and all sorts of other conditions. The way meditation effects these parts of health are not as completely understood, but it is potentially a knock on effect of reduced stress.
Read more about the science of meditation at Psychology Today.
How Do I Get Started with Guided Meditation?
The easiest way to begin with guided meditation is to download some audio tracks. There are several sources of free guided meditation mp3s online, but for the best quality longer tracks you will need to purchase them. Two sites I would recommend are The Guided Meditation Site and Brain Sync. Both of these websites offer some free tracks that you can try out to see if you like their style. You can find plenty of other free guided meditation tracks online, however their quality can be highly variable.
Once you have some guided meditation mp3s lined up and your iPod or music player ready to go. Set aside some time dedicated for meditation. You might like to start with just ten or twenty minutes to begin with. It is important that you won't be distracted or interrupted during this time, so it is best to find a room where you can be alone, and make sure others know not to disturb you. I like to turn my lights off in my bedroom and lie on the bed. One common mistake people make is to try and meditate when they are too tired. Guided meditations can be a great way of relaxing so that you are able to fall asleep easily, but if you want to get the most out of your meditation sessions you'll need to be awake – since you won't be practicing mindfulness if you fall asleep in the middle of a session.
Many people like to include a short meditation in their morning ritual, since this is the part of the day you are generally most alert you can really focus. Meditating in the morning can really set the mood for your day too and protect you from stress before it even begins.
Wear headphones, many guided meditation tracks include stereo, or binaural, effects that you won't fully experience without headphones. A popular model for meditation are SleepPhones, since they are very comfortable (they're designed for sleeping in), and you can even pull them down and use them as an eye mask to block out any other distractions. Others like to use headphones with isolation, or noise cancelling, features. These are technologies that work to block out other background noise, things like traffic outside, or the television in the next room, that could easily distract you from you meditation.
It really is quite simple, and once you get into the habit of meditating it will only get easier. After you become used to guided meditation, you might like to look into meditating in other ways. Focusing on your breathing, or simply listening to meditation tracks that don't include a guide are other options to explore.
Further Meditation Resources
- Guided Meditation - The ASMR Lab
Information about guided meditation, as well as an introduction to the profoundly relaxing sensation of ASMR.
- The Guided Meditation Site
The world's most comprehensive guided meditation website, with free meditations, meditation music, meditation instructions and so much more to discover.