What is guided meditation and how is it used? Let’s see its different varieties and forms of use.
We live in a society in which we are forced to be in constant motion. Going to work, studying for final exams, providing for our family and other worries generate stress and negative feelings for us.
While we focus our action on others and we have to do what our day-to-day demands of us, we forget to take care of the most important people in our lives: ourselves.
Connecting with our interior becomes necessary in these situations and meditation is a good technique to achieve it. However, meditating is not an easy task and therefore it is necessary to turn to experts to guide us. In this article we are going to see what guided meditation is, what benefits it entails and we will talk about some types.
What is guided meditation?
Guided meditation is a tool that allows, through words and images, to put aside negative emotions such as pain, stress and day-to-day worries, helping us to connect with ourselves.
This technique has become increasingly popular. On the one hand, due to the need to manage the stress of today’s society and, on the other, due to the fact that it is an easily applicable tool on a day-to-day basis with the right help.
The way that guided meditation is done is quite simple. A person who acts as an expert in meditation, such as a guru or spiritual guide, is in charge of offering a series of instructions to help interested people reach a state of relaxation.
With his expert knowledge, the one who leads the meditation helps to focus towards the personal goals of the one who comes to him. These goals can be a better emotional state in general, the acceptance of a situation in which there is no control or psychological preparation towards a specific goal. It is for this reason that it is widely used in the training of elite athletes.
To carry it out, you can attend specialized workshops and gyms, but there is also the possibility of doing it from home, because you don’t need much space or too many resources to meditate. On the Internet you can find hundreds of videos in which different types of meditations are explained, in addition to selling very well detailed CDs, videos and books.
What are the benefits?
By using this technique, it is possible for the person to achieve well-being, thanks to the fact that it contributes to reaching a state of calm and gives mental and physical satisfaction. In addition, if used properly, it has a positive impact on both physical and psychological health.
Some of the benefits of meditations of this type are:
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Improvement of cognitive abilities: memory, concentration, attention …
- Greater resilience.
- Emotional stability.
- Improvement in diseases such as hypertension, cancer, fibromyalgia, asthma and cardiovascular problems.
Types of guided meditation
The reasons why a guided meditation is necessary can be several. That is why there are different types, used according to the type of problem of those who require it.
1. Traditional meditations
The spiritual guide or guru gives the instructions orally, guiding the listener to bring him into a meditative state. There are usually many pauses of silence, and it is not frequent to accompany them with music.
The purpose of this type of meditation can be very varied, but it is usually used to start or to maintain a state of calm.
2. Meditation with visualization
You are invited to imagine an object or scene with the intention of achieving greater relaxation. Very recurring resources are the rays of light of different colors, each of them representing an emotion with which one is going to work.
3. Relaxation and body scan
Its purpose is to achieve the maximum degree of relaxation at the body level. The person becomes aware of all parts of his body and even his body temperature.
They are usually accompanied by music or relaxing sounds of nature, managing to introduce those who are guided into a state of deep calm.
4. Binaural tones
According to physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, by presenting two sounds with different frequencies in each ear, the mind tries to reconcile the difference by creating a third wave. Headphones are put on and an audio is presented in which a different sound is presented on each side.
According to the followers of this type of guided meditation, using binaural tones stimulates alpha waves and connects with the interior.
Instead of thinking negatively, such as “I’m going to give up”, “I’m not good for this”, “it’s going to hurt”, she proposes to reformulate these thoughts in a more optimistic format: “I’m in good health”, “I’ve come very far “,” If I am here it is because of my effort and my determination.
6. Guided mindfulness meditation
We breathe all the time and yet we do not pay enough attention to this natural process.
The premise behind this type of guided meditation is that if you can control something as simple and fundamental as your breath, you can train your mind in almost any aspect.
In the West, a philosophical trend has emerged that is compatible with the fundamentals behind meditation: Mindfulness or Mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been gaining fame because it is not linked to a religion, unlike other meditations that speak of chakras and ideas drawn from Buddhism and Hinduism.
Another peculiarity of this type of meditation is the fact that it does not have to be done sitting still. You can enter a state of mindfulness either by going down the street, doing the dishes, or even in the shower.
The fundamental thing is to be able to concentrate on what you are doing and the sensations it produces.
8. Guided meditations for better sleep
They are one of the most used, especially due to the fact of living in a society in which schedules prevent us from having adequate sleep habits.
Many people have trouble sleeping and, when they go to bed, they calculate how much time they have before having to get up to go to work. The problem is that the more you want to sleep, the more difficult it is to achieve.
Guided meditations for better sleep offer a series of instructions that help to achieve sleep naturally and not forced.
While trying to sleep, you can review what has happened throughout the day, detecting those negative emotions to gradually put them aside.
- Hodgins, HS and Adair, KC (2010) Attentional processes and meditation. Consciousness and Cognition, 19 (4), 872-878.
- Kwekkeboom, KL and Bratzke, LC (2016) A Systematic Review of Relaxation, Meditation, and Guided Imagery Strategies for Symptom Management in Heart Failure. The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 31 (4), 457-468.