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One Of The Most Effective Things I've Done For My Mental Health

If meditation is a struggle for you, try this.

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illustration of woman meditating in nature
Monica Garwood
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I’ve been meditating off and on for a few years now. I can’t deny the benefits. I feel less anxious, have more energy and am more positive when I take the time to do it. I notice the difference when I stop, too. I don’t sleep as well and I’m more on edge.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports, “Meditation and mindfulness practices may have a variety of health benefits and may help people improve the quality of their lives.”

Meditation is growing in popularity. According to Mindfulness Box, the United States has 37.9 million meditators, the second-highest population of meditators in the world.

It wasn’t until I tried guided meditation that I became diligent about doing it every day. If you are anything like me, and you struggle to clear your mind or focus on one thing but want to stick to a meditation practice, you’ve got to try a guided meditation.

Guided meditation is led by a teacher. You can do it in person, via video, or audio. You listen to a teacher’s voice as they instruct you to relax and help you focus on visualizations. These can be as long as a few minutes or up to a few hours. The best news is that there are a lot of guided meditations out there for you to choose from, so take your time deciding on one you love.

Like everything else in life, you are more likely to stick with it if you enjoy the process and get something out of it.

There are several apps out there, so shop around to find one that fits your lifestyle. Mindvalley and Calm are two popular ones that offer a variety of meditations depending on your needs.

Mindvalley has a lot of free guided meditations. I’ve been doing the 6-Phase Meditation every day (which only takes 18 minutes for those who don’t think they have the time to meditate), and it’s changing my life. It takes you through phases where you focus on different things, like manifesting your future, forgiveness, gratitude and compassion. Since starting, I feel calmer and more relaxed. I also realize how many negative thoughts come into my head each day, and I’ve been able to change my mindset.

I wake up every morning and look forward to the day, regardless of my plans. I look around, and I’m so thankful for everything I have. Instead of getting agitated when I’m behind a slow driver or have to wait in line, I now know I have no control over the situation and that getting impatient won’t make things any different.

I used to get so stressed when I had a lot to do in one day. I’d rush around, tense and angry, feeling like no one helped me enough, and I’d have a short fuse. Now, because I meditate on gratitude and visualize the day ahead, I have a sense of calm and know I will do my best to get things done. Whatever doesn’t get tackled can wait, it’s nothing to get anxious over. I start each day writing down everything I want to accomplish, even if I think it’s a long shot. I use my energy to get everything done instead of spending precious headspace worrying that I won’t.

Because guided meditation gives you instructions and leads you through the practice, your mind is less likely to wander off. You can stay focused in the moment and zero in on things. It may take some practice, and your mind will probably still wander, especially at first, but for me, guided meditation has been much more productive than any other kind I’ve ever tried.

I look forward to it each day, and because it’s under 20 minutes, it doesn't feel like a huge task.

Whether you’ve been meditating for a while now but don’t love it and feel like it’s a struggle, or you’ve wanted to try it but haven’t yet, you must try guided meditation. It truly has been one of the most nourishing and effective things I’ve done for my mental health.

Do any of you meditate? What do you like about it? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Health