In our second of the Stress Awareness series this week, we will explore guided visualization and meditation. If you are new to meditation or just want a refresher on it’s benefits, this is the post for you!
Benefits of Using Guided Visualization
Meditation provides a lot of amazing benefits for your mind, attitude, and physical health. If you have been wanting to try meditation, but find it intimidating, you might want to start slow with guided visualization. Here is a quick rundown on how that works and what you need to get started.
Benefits of Guided Meditation on the Go
Guided meditation is a type of meditation where you listen to someone’s voice instructing you throughout the entire process. While you can definitely do this at home, you can also do some guided meditations while on the go. Here are some benefits to choosing this method.
You Can Get into a Different Headspace: Guided meditation, whether on the go or right at home, can instantly transform your mind and thought process. It is helping to clear your mind of worries and negative thoughts, and replacing it with images that bring you into an entirely new place. This alone causes a lot of relaxation that is wonderful for anxiety and self-care in general.
No Worries About Home Distractions: The reason you might want to try this on the go is because you won’t have to worry about home distractions. When you try to do any form of meditating at home, there tend to be a lot of noises and excitement around you that bring you out of it. From barking dogs to demanding kids or just a loud TV in the other room, it makes it really hard to focus.
Guided Meditation is Less Stressful for Beginners: Guided meditation is also perfect for anyone who is stressed by meditation. It does take practice to get used to it, but when you are using a guided meditation, you just imagine what the person on the recording is telling you.
Tips for Doing Guided Visualization
Guided visualization, or guided imagery, is a type of meditation where you don’t just clear your mind, but you enter a different place that is guided by your own imagination or an actual recorded voice that is encouraging your mind to go to a certain place. This can be just as therapeutic for you as traditional forms of meditation.
Try it with a Recorded Meditation First: Guided visualization or imagery is not something you can master immediately, though for some people it is actually easier than other forms of meditation. However, if you are having trouble really getting into that visualization you are hoping for, listening to a recorded meditation session that actually guides you through the imagery can help tremendously. Get into a comfortable place, close your eyes, and listen to the voice to imagine what they are describing.
You can find recordings in many places, both free and to pay for. If you want something free, either look online in places like YouTube, or go to your local library. A great place to start is an app called Insight Timer. You can download the free app in the Apple Store or on Google Play. There is huge variety of meditations available to choose from!
Experiment in Different Environments: Once you get used to guided visualizations, you can start doing them on your own, imagining anything and everything you want. You will be able to choose whatever relaxes you and helps you to clear your mind the best. This not only differs based on your personal preference, but also in different environments. Try heading to different places like the beach or park or hiking trail and see what visions come to you.
Practice Makes Perfect: The more you practice, the easier this type of meditation is going to be. Keep at it every day and soon you will be able to do the meditation exercise with ease.
More Styles of Meditation
When you are ready to get into different types of meditation, you can try the following:
Loving-Kindness: Do you feel that you should live everyone, even your enemies? Loving kindness meditation is a type of meditation used to create peace within a person. It does this by channeling the natural urge to avoid or dislike things into loving and cherishing energy. When you try to find the power to love something that is uncomfortable, you can grow an attitude of appreciation.
This can be done by repeating a love message that is directed towards a person or a thing that has negatively affected you. As you continue to think of the things that bother you, simply place your message of love over the object of focus. This helps you to fight off depression and many aspects of PTSD.
Progressive Relaxation: This type of meditation teaches you to be more aware by having you try to find any part of you that might have a lot of tension. Once the tension is found, then you focus on it until it releases. This can help people who suffer from anxiety, and has some effectiveness for chronic pain. This method relies heavily on visualization so that you can mentally interact with the areas.
Mindfulness: Sometimes it can be easy to attribute negative feelings toward certain environments and situations. In many of these cases, it will be suggested that you use Mindfulness as meditation. This attempts to get you to absorb the sights and sounds of the world around you without any kind of judgment. You stay focused on the day instead of worrying about the past or future.
Breath Awareness: Another great form of meditation is breath awareness, which is exactly what it sounds like. You simply focus on your breathing. This can be very helpful towards reducing stress and anxiety. In this technique, you will slowly focus on deliberate breathing for a period of time, and focus on the silence.
Zen: This is typically referring to a type of meditation found in Buddhism. Zen is generally taught by teachers who have studied the positions and breathing found in the Buddhist practices. It takes a bit more practice to utilize but can be rewarding for many people. It fosters peace because you attain through a comfortable position and non-judgmental feelings about your thoughts. This helps reduce stress and anxiety.