Life can get very stressful, and we all need ways to cope. Today I want to share with my mamis one of my favorite ways to cope when I’m a minute from a nervous breakdown: guided meditation.
I used to get very edgy during the day and start panicking when many tasks were coming up at the same time, meditation really changed this for me.
It all started only few months ago, when I was having the hardest time trying to be a wife, an entrepreneur and a mom at the same time, when all these roles were requiring an extreme attention.
One morning when I met a friend for a coffee, she told me -not so diplomatically- how unpleasant I became. She told me that I should really work on mood and asked if I’ve ever tried mediation. That was an eye opener.
It was time to do something about it, and since the idea of just taking a vacation wasn’t a long term solution, I listened to my friend’s advice and decided to try meditation.
Only 2 weeks after I was a brand new me! I had much more strength to push all the stress and the frustration away.
Now it’s been 4 months since I started and I’m much more in power over my own mental state, it quickly helped me to control my frustration with people and especially with myself.
Now just five minutes after I wake up, I fire up my phone to find my saved meditations, lie back down in bed, close my eyes, and meditate before I start my day.
I think of it as a mini-nap immediately after I wake up. But it’s so much more than that. It clears my head, preps me for the day ahead, and boosts my self-esteem and confidence so that I’m ready for whatever situation I get myself into that day.
I’m gonna share with you the basics to what will become your new favorite morning activity.
The easiest way to meditate by yourself is to close your eyes and breathe naturally. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
Taking just a few breaths when you catch yourself in a rut is proven to lower your heart rate and keep you calm.
Guided Meditation 101
Guided meditation is exactly what it sounds like: You meditate, but with the guidance of a practitioner. In today’s fast-paced world, that practitioner is a recorded voice through an app, video, or podcast. A typical session lasts anywhere from 3 to 30 minutes. It gives the user a healthy visualization of positive thought, and is often accompanied by soothing meditation music in the background. Guided meditation is proven to reduce the negative thoughts and imagery that is common with mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and social anxiety. It’s also proven to help with sleeping problems and insomnia. Many of these apps practice what’s called “mindfulness,” or the practice of being aware of the present moment and not worrying about the future.
Guided meditation apps
Some of my favorite apps for guided meditation are Headspace and Calm. I use both of these regularly and they have great options for me since I’m always on the go. Not only can you choose the length of your session (3-15 minutes, generally), but also what part of your life you want to focus on. If you’re feeling angry at someone, then they have a loving-kindness meditation that explores your frustration toward others. If you’re feeling anxious (as I do sometimes), they have breathing exercises that help you get through your panic attack. The only downside to these apps is that they’re based on a paying scale: To unlock multi-part meditations that you do over a week, you’ll have to pay a small fee. That isn’t for everyone (certainly not for me), so if you want a bigger variety, you’ll either have to pay up or go somewhere else.
If you’re not willing to spend money on a subscription on one of the apps, there’s always ways to get them for free. YouTube is a great way to get guided meditation videos that cater to your needs. Type in “guided meditation” and then maybe something you’re feeling, such as “anxious,” “angry,” or “sleep” and watch the results come in. Since these are videos, they won’t run too long. But since it’s YouTube, there are also options for more in-depth and longer meditations that go on for over an hour. Here’s a list of some of the best guided meditations on YouTube.
Your favorite music app isn’t just for background music! Streaming services such as Spotify have many playlists for guided meditation. And just like any other playlist, your streaming service will give you some recommendations for any other relative playlists.
How do you stay mindful? Leave a comment below!