• Overwhelmed by the Thought of Meditating?
    Let a Guide Show You the Way

    If you meditate, you know that the practice can transform your mood and improve your overall mental health and wellbeing. Many scientists are now quantifying the benefits of meditation on your physical health too. These benefits range from reducing blood sugar levels in diabetics to lowering blood pressure, chronic pain, anxiety and depression. For me, meditation is all about maintaining my sanity. It enables me to quiet my mind after a long day of work, refocus my energy and get in a better headspace.

    But for many (myself included), meditation can seem like an overwhelming process. I have heard many people say they can’t possibly sit still, or that they don’t have the time to meditate. I’d say these are two reasons to start meditating. There is beauty in stillness, in quieting the mind. And, here’s a secret: there’s no one “right” way to meditate. There are days I meditate that I can’t stop my mind from racing, but that’s ok. As a beginner, I find that guided meditations are easiest for me - I need someone telling me exactly what I should be doing, thinking, experiencing...then it all falls into place and I can take it from there.

    So if you’re curious about meditation, but don’t know where to start, here are a few guided meditations that have worked for me:

    Headspace: This is my go-to meditation app for beginners because it teaches you how to meditate. You can try the 10-day guided meditation for free, but if you want access to more, you’ll have to try the monthly or annual subscription. I was so hooked on the free “Take10” portion, I went all in with the annual subscription. What I love about this app is how little time it takes - just 10 minutes a day for the first 10 days. Think of it as a personal trainer for your mind. There’s even a new meditation feature with shorter sessions designed for kids!
    Calm: I recently discovered Calm and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. The feature I like most within this app is the ability to choose your background wallpaper and noise (I alternate between “Foggy Stream” and “Rain on Leaves” - obsessed). This is the background noise you’ll hear if you choose to do a timed, unguided meditation. There is a new meditation each day, or you can choose a series, such as “7 Days of Calm.” For those who have trouble sleeping, you may want to try one of the many “Deep Sleep” meditations.
    H*nest: I first learned about this app through an article on one of my go-to sites, MindBodyGreen. It was positioned as the “meditation app for people who love to swear,” so I naturally had to give it a try. I like listening to this on those really tough days when you don’t think you can possibly get through a serious meditation. The guide’s voice is peaceful, then he drops an f-bomb and you just can’t help but laugh a little. Not for the serious meditator, but fun nonetheless.
    Full Moon Meditations: I receive monthly guided meditations in an email newsletter during each full moon phase as part of my subscription to Gaia Collective’s Full Moon Rituals in a Box. You can play the guided meditation right on your smartphone and each one is customized for the exact planetary alignment for that day’s moon. I look forward to these meditations as a special “treat” each month, especially since Gaia also includes all the crystals and other materials (e.g. essential oils) you’ll need for that specific meditation. You don’t need to be a subscriber to enjoy these monthly meditations - you can find them on SoundCloud by searching “Gaia Collective.”
    Guided Meditation at a Local Center: One of the most powerful meditation experiences I’ve had was at the Cape Cod Center for Whole Health. During one of my healing training weekends, the instructor took the group through a guided meditation with the goal of connecting with our spirit animal. I was skeptical that I could get so deep into a meditation that a vision of an animal would appear. Between the crystal and Tibetan bowls and the soothing sound of our instructor’s voice (it helps that she is also trained in hypnotherapy!), off I went. I’m not even sure how long we were all in this trance-like state, but my spirit animal did appear! It was far different than any app’s guided meditation - much more deep and powerful. I encourage you to look into group meditations in your area.

    Crystals, like the tumbled stones found in our Crystal Kits, can be great aids in meditation. Use them to set and connect with a goal or intention. They can also help you slip into a deep meditative state.

    Overall, meditation doesn’t have to be intimidating or even perfect. If you are just getting started, check out some guided meditations online or in the App Store. There are plenty of resources to help you get started on a path to mindful living with meditation!

    Have a favorite meditation app or practice? Tell us in the comments below.
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