Guided Meditation: What it Is and How it Works

Are you looking for a change in your life? Maybe you want to have less stress, fall asleep quicker, or break a habit you have. With guided meditation, you are guided by a narrator to make a change in your life. 

Below, you will learn what guided meditation is, how it works, and the many benefits of doing it!

What is Guided Meditation? 

Guided meditation is when a narrator, or person guides you to elicit a specific change in your life whether it is breaking a habit or simply falling asleep. 

When you are guided, you are first guided to relax your body, mind and soul. This is to help you reach a deep meditative state. The reason you want to be in a meditative state is so that you can practice your journey in your mind before doing it in real life. 

You see, the brain does not know the difference between an imagined event and a real one. So, when you have a guided meditation experience, to your brain, it’s like a real experience. This means practicing something in your mind is just as good as practicing it in real life. 

Basically, guided meditation is a way for you to get into a deep meditative state so your body can be guided to make changes. 

How Does it Work?

In essence, guided meditation works by tricking your mind. When you experience something in real life, your brain changes its neural pathways and passes that information into your subconscious mind so you can use it later. Guided meditation bypasses that process. 

For example, say you wanted to learn a different language, your brain has already stored previous experiences of you trying to learn a new language. If that experience was good, then you will learn the language easier. However, if it is bad it will be difficult to learn a new language. Guided meditation can help with learning a new language because it directly accesses your subconscious mind to give you a new and better experience.

Because your brain cannot distinguish between a real event and an imagined one, guided meditation can create a new and better experience by having a narrator guide you through a scene in your mind. The scenes are always positive and will change the brain’s neural pathways to install a great experience for you.

What are the Benefits/Studies of Meditation?

Meditation has become ever more popular as people begin discovering its benefits. People are using it to develop beneficial habits and feelings, to have a positive mood, for self-discipline, healthy sleep partners, and even increased pain tolerance. 

Below, you will discover 5 science-backed health benefits of meditation. Each benefit is linked to a study. 

#1 Stress Reduction

One of the most common reasons people attempt meditation is to alleviate stress. Stress is hard on the body physically and emotionally. It increases the levels of a hormone called cortisol which can cause inflammation, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and disrupt sleep. 

There have been several studies done that show meditation actually decreases stress. 

  • A Mindful Meditation Study showed that meditation reduced inflammation response that was caused by stress. 
  • Another study of 1300 people showed that meditation decreases stress levels. 

#2 Reduces Anxiety

Obviously, if you are having a lot of stress, you will also have anxiety. Because meditation helps to alleviate stress, it also alleviates anxiety. 

In several studies, guided meditation reduced symptoms of various anxiety disorders. 

  • In one study, it reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and panic attacks. 
  • Another study followed people who had done an eight-week meditation program. Those people continued practicing meditation and maintained lower anxiety levels. 
  • In a larger study, we found that those who were exposed to a variety of meditation strategies had a reduction in anxiety levels. 

#3 Promotes Positive Emotional Health

Meditation has also been shown to help improve depression and create a better outlook on life. Additionally, research shows that maintaining meditation helps you to maintain these benefits long term. 

  • Two studies of 4,600 participants showed that meditation decreased depression. 
  • Another study followed participants for 3-years and found that participants experienced long-term decreases in depression. 

#4 Enhances Self Awareness

Some forms of meditation allow you to develop a stronger understanding of yourself. This ultimately helps you to grow into your best self. Here are some studies that have proven meditation helps to enhance self awareness.

  • According to NCBI, some forms of meditation teach you to recognize harmful or self-defeating thoughts. With that you can steer your mind toward more constructive patterns. 
  • A study of 21 women with breast cancer found that their self-esteem improved more after meditation. 
  • In another study of 40 people, participants had reduced feelings of loneliness compared to the control group. 

#5 Improves Sleep

Nearly half of the population will struggle with insomnia at some point in their lives. Meditation helps to focus your mind so it isn’t running away into your thoughts keeping you awake. 

In a study, two groups were compared. One group who meditated and a group that didn’t. The group that practiced meditation fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer than the group that didn’t do meditation. 

In addition to these science backed benefits, meditation has also been shown to help with addictions, control pain, lengthens attention span, and decrease blood pressure. If you haven’t tried guided meditation, this may be the way to feel better all around. 

Are There Any Side Effects

At this time, there still needs to be more research done, but we have found that there can be side effects in certain people. Some of these side effects include:

  • Increase in anxiety, stress, panic attacks
  • Seizures in those with epilepsy
  • Headaches when your brain resists meditation
  • Hypersensitivity to lights and sound

In addition to these side effects, it is important to note that guided meditation does not work for everyone. Before trying something new, it is always best to discuss it with your doctor. 

Zen Mode - Relaxation Elevated

Guided Meditation with Zen Mode

If you would like to alleviate stress, anxiety, or just simply sleep better, you can try guided meditation with Zen Mode. In addition to guided meditation, you can use binaural beats, sleep stories, and visual breathing techniques to achieve your desires. 

References

  1. Dahl, C. J., Lutz, A., & Davidson, R. J. (2015, September). Reconstructing and deconstructing the self: cognitive mechanisms in meditation practice. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2623176
  2. Chen, K. W., Berger, C. C., Manheimer, E., Forde, D., Magidson, J., Dachman, L., & Lejuez, C. W. (2012, June 14). MEDITATIVE THERAPIES FOR REDUCING ANXIETY: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META‐ANALYSIS OF RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIALS. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/da.21964
  3. How it Works. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.guidedmind.com/how-it-works
  4. Martires, J., & Zeidler, M. (2015, November). The value of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of insomnia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26390335
  5. Miller, J. J., Fletcher, K., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (1999, December 28). Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016383439500025M
  6. Rosenkranz, M. A., Davidson, R. J., MacCoon, D. G., Sheridan, J. F., Kalin, N. H., & Lutz, A. (2012, October 22). A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159112004758

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