As I embarked on my journey to find inner peace and balance, I stumbled upon a transformative practice that promised to combat stress, improve focus, enhance emotional well-being, and even boost immunity – guided meditation. Intrigued by its potential, I decided to dive in and experience the numerous benefits of guided meditation for myself. And let me tell you…the benefits have been nothing short of miraculous.
Discovering Guided Meditation
From the very beginning, guided meditation felt like a gentle embrace, guiding me towards a state of peaceful inner stillness and clarity. With the help of a soothing voice gently walking me through each step, I felt an immediate sense of relaxation during my guided meditation sessions. The practice incorporated various techniques like breathing exercises, body scanning, and visualization, which helped me cultivate focus and attention.
As a beginner, I found guided meditation to be incredibly accessible. I started by using a guided meditation app, which allowed me to explore different sessions suited to my needs and preferences. This ease and flexibility made it a perfect fit for my busy lifestyle. If you’re not too keen on using an app, you can simply look on Youtube for some guided mediation sessions. Here, you’ll find all sorts of voices, narratives, and background music. Take your pick!
Benefits of Guided Meditation
I started to incorporate guided meditation into my daily life well before I knew of its scientific benefits. It was cool, however, to find out that everything that I was experiencing was in fact backed by science (which to me meant that I wasn’t just imagining these benefits). Some of the benefits that I personally experienced include:
1. Reduced Stress
Stress had been a constant companion in my life, leaving me drained and overwhelmed. I have often struggled with burnout because I would get caught up in a frenzy of doing as much work as possible. I grew up in a household where you had to work your butt off 24/7, and your body can only handle so much.
Guided meditation became like a safe-space – where I could just forget about my worries – even just for a moment. If you’re a high achiever or are working long hours, I highly recommend you give this a go. Taking 10 minutes to practice mindfulness gives you so much more efficiency and focus later on.
2. Reduced Pain and Inflammation
I found that the more I practiced guided meditation, the more calm I became; and the more calm I became, the less pain and discomfort I was experiencing throughout my body. As a trauma-informed yoga teacher, I know that emotions and trauma can get locked inside the body – resulting in all sorts of aches, pains, and illnesses.
As I created a calm and peaceful environment for my body through guided meditation, my body naturally began to release built up emotions and trauma from years of suppression. After each session, I felt lighter.
During the guided mediations, you will perhaps recall some painful memories. Take note that this is a normal part of the process of releasing anything that no longer serves you. You need to remember what hurt you in order to let it go.
There were many times where I cried during my sessions, not understanding why. Try not to label your emotions and instead, just allow them to flow as they wish – whether that’s through tears, screams, laughs, or silence.
3. Controls Anxiety
I wouldn’t say that guided meditations specifically help to control anxiety, but instead that any meditation can help to control anxiety. It’s the time you set aside to silence your thoughts that allow anxiety to disappear.
You see, anxiety is often the result of being sucked into a mental black hole of “what if” thoughts. Practicing meditation has been a key component in helping me stop these intrusive thoughts in the moment. What sets guided meditation apart is the fact that it takes you to another world with spoken words.
Many of us struggle to quieten our minds by just sitting in silence. The spoken words serve as a distraction and is much easier than doing just a silent meditation.
4. Improved Immunity
Meditation is not easy. And so, the more you do it, the more resilient you become. If you put your body through healthy stressors, such as breathwork, cold exposure, fasting, or meditation, you force your body to adapt and become stronger.
This, over time, leads to a stronger immune system, since your body knows that in order to survive the daily stressors of life, it needs to be the healthiest and strongest it can be.
5. Improved Focus and Attention Span
I am the queen of self-sabotage and procrastination. Even though I thrive on routine and schedule, I find it very difficult to impose these limitations on myself – mostly because I get distracted and forget why I wanted to do certain things.
Meditation has been a game-changer in this regard. The practice of staying present gradually improved my focus and attention span, while allowing me to recentre my wandering mind. I found myself becoming more engaged in tasks and conversations, while being able to give my full and unbridled attention to whatever I was busy with. This, of course, does not happen overnight. But trust me, it’s worth putting in the effort.
6. Increased Self-Awareness
Guided meditation took me on a journey of self-discovery. With each session, I explored my thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations with newfound clarity and intensity. The practice offered a deeper understanding of myself, while revealing deep fears, desires, and insecurities.
Essentially, going into these meditative states gives you access to what’s happening in your subconscious mind. Once you become aware of all the thoughts and beliefs that you carry with you every day, you can begin to change them.
During some sessions, I didn’t want to look at my fears and doubts. It’s not fun. But, in the end, it always proved to be for my own benefit to look at all the ways that I was holding myself back. I had to be be open and honest about my own actions and choices.
7. Helps with Depression
Like many of us, Covid-19 pushed me into a deep depression. I lost sight of any pleasure or joy and had no excitement for life. Everything was just…meh. I started incorporating guided meditations, which gave me access to a world where I didn’t feel so alone.
This world felt peaceful and calm – like a place I could call home. For me, this was transformative and over time I began to believe that the peaceful world I go to during meditation could be my life in the real world. And so, I set out to create that, and am happy to say that I succeeded.
8. Increased Creativity
In the depths of meditation, I found a realm of creativity waiting to be explored. Guided meditation became a sanctuary for my imagination to roam freely. By silencing the noise of daily life, I tapped into a wellspring of ideas and inspiration. Whenever I reach a mental roadblock in my creative process, I simply meditate and find my answers nearly instantly.
9. Improved Memory
My memory has improved dramatically from meditation. When you go into a meditative state, you strengthen the area of your mind, called the hippocampus.
People who are diagnosed with mental disorders such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s, typically have some level of damage in the hippocampus, which leads to memory loss. Although my long-term memory is good, I often struggled to recall day-to-day activities and events. Meditation really helped in cantering my mind, which flowed into better memory retention and processing.
Why You Should Give it a Try
My journey with guided meditation has been truly transformative. It has become a powerful tool in navigating the ups and downs of life – fostering mental and physical well-being. If you’re looking for a way to find peace amidst chaos, but need a bit of support or guidance in centring your mind – give guided meditations a go!