The question is: Are guided meditations safe and effective?
Yes, guided meditations are safe and effective. There really isn’t much basis for a guided meditation to be unsafe since the user can choose to disengage. There are a variety of benefits that prove guided meditations are effective, such as, (1) a better frame of mind, (2) improving sleep, and (3) promoting calmness and relaxedness.
How Are Guided Meditations Safe and Effective?
If you regularly engage in meditation you will likely discover a multitude of effects not only on your mental well being but also on your physical health.
Lets explore ways in which guided meditations prove to be effective:
Enhances Your State of Mind
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) regular meditation practice has shown benefits in reducing blood pressure and symptoms associated with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, sadness and insomnia.
In a study published in the Behavioral Brain Research journal in 2019 individuals, with no meditation experience participated in daily guided meditation sessions lasting thirteen minutes for eight weeks. The participants reported decreased anxiety levels, fewer negative emotions and reduced fatigue. Additionally their memory and focus exhibited improvements compared to those who listened to a podcast instead.
Promotes Healthy Sleep
If you struggle with falling asleep integrating mindfulness practices into your routine may help you achieve sleep quality and quicker sleep onset.
A study published in the PLOS One journal in January 2021 suggested that guided meditation could also enhance the quality of your sleep.According to a study, individuals who struggled with sleep problems experienced positive results after practicing guided mindfulness meditations using the Calm app for eight weeks. They reported difficulty in falling asleep at bedtime and decreased daytime fatigue compared to their counterparts who did not engage in meditation. Interestingly these improvements were observed even though participants still faced challenges in achieving a nights sleep overall.
One of the suggested benefits of guided meditation as mentioned by Kimberly Quinn, a professor of psychology at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont and the being/success program coordinator is its ability to cultivate a relaxed state of mind. Quinn explains that during guided meditation sessions participants are often encouraged to visualize themselves in settings. By engaging in this practice the brain becomes accustomed to these positive states eventually enabling individuals to naturally generate similar experiences on their own.
To elaborate on this perspective she emphasizes the importance of envisioning oneself in peaceful and joyful environments. Over time the brain becomes accustomed, to routines and starts autonomously generating these states.
The guides voice has a way of guiding your attention back, to the present moment whenever your mind inevitably drifts during meditation. This added benefit is often experienced during guided meditation.
While it is possible to learn this skill which you will likely do at some point beginners find it advantageous to have someone provide guidance and steer them in the right direction as they start their journey.
How To Safely Do A Guided Meditation For Beginners
Find an cozy spot. It’s ideal to minimize distractions like your pets, your phone or anything that may produce sounds and disturb your ability to find tranquility.
Next select a location where you can comfortably meditate. You have the freedom to choose whether to sit, stand or lie down based on what suits you. There are no restrictions or limits imposed.
Ensure that your posture isn’t excessively relaxed which could make you more prone to dozing off. Instead gently cover your eyes with your hands. Attentively listen to the instructions provided by the guide.
You don’t have to allocate chunks of time for meditation practice. Even dedicating a few minutes intermittently can be beneficial. For instance following the eight minute meditations can help alleviate anxiety and unease.
The duration of each meditation session is not as crucial, as the regularity with which you engage in the practice.
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