5 surprising benefits of guided meditation

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5 Surprising Benefits of Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is an excellent tool for relaxation. This mindfulness practice can help you reach a calmer state faster, connect you with your body, and tap into your inner self.

If you’re interested in learning more about meditation, check out these additional blog posts:

Let’s take a closer look at this practice, its benefits, and tips for getting the most out of it. Then hit play on the video and relax with 12-minute guided meditation on stress management I recorded for you.

what is Guided meditation

Guided meditation (also called guided imagery, guided relaxation, or guided visualization) is a type of meditation where a “guide” helps direct your mind and create a meditative state.

The use of images including sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch provide the focal point. Some guided meditations have specific purposes such as healing or self-improvement. Others are designed to evoke higher states of consciousness.

In a guided meditation practice, the “guide” takes listeners through various scenarios such as the forest 🌳, a beach 😎, or up a mountain 🗻.

Because of the use of imagery, many people find guided meditation less challenging to practice than other forms. When you focus on what your guide is instructing you to do, your mind is less likely to wander.

5 surprising benefits of Guided meditation

Research shows practicing for as little as twenty minutes a day improves health, alleviates symptoms of serious illnesses, promotes psychological well-being, and enhances mental performance.

Let’s look at five benefits that might surprise you. (I’ve included links to several of the research studies.)

#1 Improved heart health

Stress can increase the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other heart issues because your body has to work harder in heightened states.

Meditation helps your body relax and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.

When you’re in “rest and digest” mode, your body eliminates harmful stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and your body’s functions return to normal such as your heartrate slowing and blood pressure decreasing.

In a HealthLine article, they cited a study of nearly 1000 participants and found meditation helped reduce blood pressure.

#2 Improved sleep quality

Sleep is an important component of maintaining your health. Without adequate sleep, your brain can’t function properly and you increase your risk for certain diseases and health problems.

Through the relaxation process, your body releases tension both physically and mentally. Meditation eases tight muscles and teaches you how to control racing thoughts that often leads to sleeplessness.

👉 When your mind is in a more peaceful state, you’re more likely to fall asleep.

In a study on chronic insomnia, people who meditated stayed asleep longer and the severity of their insomnia lessened.

#3 Improved immunity

Your immune system protects you from organisms and pathogens that cause diseases.

Yet chronic stress impedes your body’s ability to fight off illnesses. When your stress hormones increase, the number of white blood cells (those responsible for killing harmful viruses and bacteria) decreases.

In one study, a guided meditation practice was found “to increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, right anterior insula, and the right hippocampus, the areas of the brain acting as our immune system’s command center. When these parts are stimulated through mindfulness, the immune system functions more effectively.”

#4 Enhanced mood

Chronic stress and tension breeds negative thoughts and emotions. Unchecked stress can often lead to depression and anxiety.

A mindfulness practice like guided meditation creates more awareness and understanding. Awareness teaches you to observe your moods without judgement which leads to an understanding that feelings are temporary.

Research has shown that a regular meditation practice can help increase happiness and decrease irritability.

A study in Belgium noted when adolescent students participated in mindful meditation programs they had a reduction in negative thinking for six months after the program ended (Ramel, Goldin, Carmona, and McQuaid, 2004).

👉 If you’ve been dealing with long-term sadness, or believe you’re suffering from depression, please seek the help and guidance of a mental health professional.

#5 Improved memory

When you’re stressed out, you’re less likely to remember certain things and have more trouble concentrating. Short-term memory is particularly impaired if you’re suffering from chronic stress.

Many studies have been conducted on meditation and how it affects your brain. A Harvard study found after eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) there was an increase in cortical thickness in the hippocampus which governs learning and memory.

Need some improved sleep, mood, memory, or immunity? Find a cozy spot and enjoy this 12 minute guided meditation.

5 tips for practicing Guided meditation

Now that you’ve decided to give guided meditation a try, let’s look at some tips and tricks to help you feel more successful in your practice.

#1 Find a quiet setting

Try to find somewhere that is calm and quiet, one that allows you to unwind and relax. When you find a location, make it yours. Create a special place just for you.

Make it cozy and comfortable so you’re inspired to use it, not only for guided meditation, but where you can also decompress, read, or relax after a busy and stressful day.

#2 Limit distractions

You’ll want your meditation area to be clutter free, worry free, and distraction free. Nothing spoils a meditation session faster than interruptions.

Limit technology by keeping it in another room. Cell phone alerts and emails from work only add to your stress. If you need your phone or iPad for meditation apps, put it on airplane or do not disturb mode.

#3 Set aside time

One of the hardest parts about setting a new healthy habit for yourself is keeping the habit going. A great way to ensure you’ll stick with it is to set aside a specific block of time to do it.

Verywell Mind suggests choosing a time early in your day or in the evening before you end your day. These times are often quieter, more private parts of the day where you can practice guided meditation with little to no interruption.

When guided meditation practice is built into a regular part of your schedule, you’re more likely to continue practicing.

#4 Try different positions

Maybe you tried meditating lying down and didn’t like it. Maybe you tried it sitting cross legged and it wasn’t for you. Whatever positions you’ve tried, if you didn’t like them, try another.

Although some people will try and tell you that you have to meditate a certain way, remember, this isn’t true. If you find a position which is comfortable for you, you will be much more likely to keep up with your guided meditation goals.

#5 Practice, practice, practice

Some people feel discouraged when they first begin guided meditation. Even with a knowledgeable guide to help you get started, you may find you mind wandering.

If this happens, remember that it’s natural to experience wandering thoughts when you first start a meditation practice. Acknowledge that you had an intrusive thought and then turn your attention back to your guide.

After more practice, this will happen less and less–it’s totally normal for this to happen, and you will get better with more practice.

When guided meditation practice is built into a regular part of your schedule, you’re more likely to continue practicing.

final tips on Guided meditation

  • Even if you’re not sure what you’re doing when it comes to guided meditation, just remember to breathe deeply through the entire process. This will help you stay engaged and relax your body whether you know what you are doing when it comes to guided meditation or not.
  • Start your guided meditation slowly by taking deep breaths and settling into your environment. When you’re done, end the session by also taking some more deep breaths and slowly bringing yourself back to your present space.
  • The longer you stick with it, the better you’ll become, and the more positive changes you’ll start to notice. So, if you aren’t very good at guided meditation right away, that’s okay, just stick with it and eventually it will become like second nature to you!
  • Guided meditation (and meditation in general) looks different for everyone. What works for someone else may not work for you. Trial and error until you find what is more comfortable for you.

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5 benefits of guided meditation
5 guided meditation benefits that will surprise you

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Shannon with Purple Lotus Yoga
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For 20 years, I’ve helped women of all ages and sizes to realize their dreams of becoming inspiring yoga teachers. 

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