Release the Mental Struggle with Guided Meditation

Meditation isn’t necessarily about not thinking; it’s about guided thinking.

Just a few months ago, I would have found it completely impossible to meditate for even 5 minutes, but these days it’s a different story.

I now regularly do at least 10 minutes a day, but it’s usually more like 15–20 and sometimes twice a day.

In such a short time, meditation has become a cornerstone activity of my everyday life. I feel incomplete without it. The sense of mental calm and even physical relaxation I am able to reach is addicting and fascinating.

But I was only able to reach this point of ease with meditation by changing my perspective on what it means to meditate in the first place.

My original conception of meditation was sitting in a room, by myself, eyes closed, focusing on my breathing and nothing else. I found this nearly impossible, and if you’re still reading, I’m guessing you have too.

Fortunately, this idea changed when I was introduced to the concept of guided meditation. Guided meditation emphasizes the direction of your thoughts to a positive source of energy, like gratitude or self-confidence, rather than the absence of thought altogether.

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

A much easier task for the monkey mind

One of my holistic medicine practitioners recommended guided meditation, and it was huge for my monkey mind to be able to settle down and achieve a state of calm focus for more than two minutes. It’s the difference between giving the monkey a task it wants to accomplish versus telling it to stay still and sit quietly doing nothing. Guess which one is easier.

When I decided to give guided meditation a shot, I started with simple 10 minute free meditations from the Calm app on YouTube, but quickly got bored with them.

But I stuck with it, and through the magic of the YouTube algorithm found other meditations centering around gratitude, health, and this thing called “abundance.”

This brings me to the second phase of my meditation journey, discovering manifestation, law of attraction, abundance, and all the “woo woo” stuff.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Meditation and manifestation

I don’t fully recall exactly how I fell into this quasi-spiritual world of manifestation, but I pretty quickly started drinking it in and putting the concepts into practice.

I found podcasts, YouTube channels, and books about manifestation and learned about the power of scripting, actively practicing gratitude, and holding the vibrational energy of the life you want to live (and letting go of the negative vibrational energy you don’t want).

This blew my mind because I have first hand experience of negative thoughts and anxiety producing negative physical outcomes, mostly with my health, but I never thought about the possibility of it working the other way around: positive thoughts creating positive physical outcomes.

If it works one way, why shouldn’t it work the other, right?

Meditation is a key component in the law of attraction and manifestation, so I only loved it more once I found meditations that focused on abundance, gratitude, health, money, and more concepts that would raise my vibrational energy.

I also came to know and expect the physical feeling that this kind of meditation gave me — a light tingling sensation in my limbs, especially my hands and feet. There are some times where I am so relaxed that I can barely feel my hands, which seems like it should freak me out, but for some reason it doesn’t. I’ve also noticed that I am sometimes able to warm up my hands and feet, which are almost always cold, even in the summertime.

So even without consulting any scientific research, (which I know exists), I can feel guided meditation physically changing my body, improving my circulation, relaxing my nervous system, and releasing feel-good oxytocin.

It’s crazy to me to think that I couldn’t — or thought I couldn’t — do this before, and now it’s an absolutely critical piece to my mental health and probably my physical health too.

Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

Meditation tips for the anxious and impatient

If you give guided meditation a shot, it can be a total game changer in your mental and even physical health. Don’t count yourself out because you have persistent anxious thoughts or find it difficult to sit still for very long.

These are exactly the things that guided meditation helps you improve, with practice over time. As with any habit, you can’t expect a massive immediate change, but you might be surprised at how good you feel even after one short session.

  1. Use guided meditations with repeated mantras. There are many guided meditations that use repeated phrases to get your brain to internalize positive thoughts and emotions. YouTube meditation creator Mary Kate (one of my favs) often uses these repeated phrases in her meditations, and she has dozens of them posted on YouTube.
  2. Embrace the practice. Incorporate guided meditation into your daily routine. I like meditating in the morning to kick off a positive start to my day, but you could also try meditating in the afternoon or evening as a break in your work day or to relax before bed.
  3. Change it up. There are so many free guided meditations on YouTube on a multitude of topics and feelings. A few suggestions include meditations on healing, relief from stress and anxiety, acceptance, peace, love, money, abundance, and positivity. Feel free to switch it up based on how you’re feeling each day. Just search (feeling you want to focus on) + guided meditation.
  4. Go easy on yourself. If you still find it difficult to focus or direct your thoughts after a few sessions, don’t worry too much. The important thing is to continue the practice. Even if your thoughts wander during the meditation, your subconscious mind is still hearing the positive affirmations and you’ll be able to bring your mind back to the present moment more and more quickly with practice. I definitely still struggle with my wandering attention some days more than others, but I still find benefit in the practice.

A short list of meditations to get you started

Here is a short list of guided meditations that I have enjoyed, in a variety of different lengths and topics. Pick one and get started!

Go out and be calm and abundant!

Truly, guided meditation has been a game changer for me in my mental and physical health, and I hope it helps you find some peace in a crazy world too.

If you give it a shot and find it helpful, I’d love to hear from you in the responses!

Writing and reading to get better — in health, in life, and with quality dance moves. Holistic Health Copywriter/Editor. She/her.

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