Stressed? Try Guided Meditation!

So I have an awesome free app/website to recommend.  It is called Insight Timer (offered through both Android and for IPhone) and it allows you to access as many as 5440 free guided meditations, or up to 2,000,000 meditations in total.   (I will digress and postulate that about 100 free guided meditations, assuming they were high quality, would be plenty and even exceptional, and allow for calmer and more focused browsing.  But we live in a time where we associate large numbers and greater choice with "better", which, if you are like me, basically means being frozen, inert, and having no idea what I actually want.  Have you tried buying shampoo lately?  Yikes.) 

Anyway...if you don't know what a guided meditation is, I can sum it up by saying it is the best thing in the world for those of us who fully agree that meditating sounds like a great idea and yet after two minutes of trying it get bored and decide to read a book.  Guided meditations, in this context, are typically recordings of individuals (for example therapists or maybe yoga teachers) who have soothing voices and who talk to you while you meditate.    It is (at least for some of us) MUCH better meditating with a guide, and can be extremely relaxing, soothing, and grounding. 

Guided meditations often have themes, or topics, and can help with/address issues such as sleep, anxiety, grounding, relaxation, gratitude, acceptance, forgiveness, self acceptance, weight loss, or probably anything else you might think of.  Back to Insight Timer, you can sort the meditation by popularity, rating, theme, length, and even language, which is an especially neat feature.  I typed in "safety" with a client in mind, and found a nice meditation I would recommend, called "Feeling Safe in this Moment" by Andrea Wachter.  Very nice, simple, and a good length of time at 12:00 minutes.   

Some of the meditations, by the way, are very short, and some are quite long.  If you are new to meditation, I would start shorter, so you can have some success.  If you like it, then try something a little longer next time.  Don't worry too much if you aren't doing it "exactly right".  I listened two nights in a row while I was walking the dog, so I was obviously not sitting and I didn't have my eyes shut, but I still found I was able to adapt and get a lot of out of the meditations.  Also, if you start something, and find the person's voice annoying, or in anyway dislike the meditation, just try something else.  I probably stopped and started about four or five meditations before I found one I liked.

Part of practicing mindfulness, which is a whole other blogI plan to write some day soon, is learning to be compassionate with oneself.  In essence, for me this means "don't sweat the small stuff"--but I know a lot of people put a ton of pressure on themselves.  Meditation is a way to take the pressure off, and engage in essential self care.  It is a simple, easy, and cost free thing you can do, right now, for yourself.   What are you waiting for?

Warmly,  Laurie

Disclaimer: I am NOT a paid endorser of the Insight Timer app.  In case you are wondering.