What is Guided Meditation?

Meditation has long since been touted as the answer to many of our everyday problems. We’ve heard about the countless benefits of meditation that range from physical, mental, as well as behavioral. There are more types of meditation practiced in this world today than we can count. One of them is Guided Meditation. 

What is Guided Meditation?

As the name suggests, guided meditation, is a type of meditative practice that is guided or directed by an experienced mentor who aid an individual through the meditative journey to reach the deep state of thoughtful awareness that is only possible via meditation.

How does it Work?

Guided meditation is a form of relaxation that is mediated by the guidance of a trained professional. This guidance can be provided either in person through a visual or verbal instruction, or via any of the media modalities such as sound recordings, videos, written texts, or a combined mixture of all.

Normally people find it difficult to attain that perfect balance of thoughtless awareness that is necessary for meditation on their own. Guided meditation works by the meditator sitting or laying down in a comfortable position while they are lead through a series of different audios or visual directives that are designed to allow you conscious and subconscious mind to relax one step at a time. 

Guided meditation may be used for a variety of reasons such as personal growth and empowerment, emotional development or healing, for stress relief, improved sleep, decreasing anxiety and increased positivity, etc.  It is an aided method of achieving deepest levels of relaxation, to provide perspective along with the opportunity to rejuvenate yourself. A guided meditation session, depending on your needs and the method you choose, can range from as short as 10 minutes, to as long as an hour.

 As a Burbank therapist one of my favorite meditations to teach my clients is Body Scan by Jon Kabat-Zinn. You can download a Body Scan Meditation app in most phone app stores or find a Body Scan guided meditation on YouTube.

3 Tips to Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety disorders can be quite debilitating. They can be overwhelming, stressing, and can shatter your self-confidence to the point where they stop you from living a normal life. Therapy is an effective way to reduce anxiety.  There are also are some practical steps that can  help you reduce your anxiousness so that you may feel more in control.

 Here are the top three ways to tackle your anxiety:

Recognize Your Limitations

Anxiety is almost always triggered by something. To be able to reduce your anxiety you have to learn how to control it, and you can only do so if you know what, where and how it escalates. Focus on the feeling of anxiousness within yourself and recognize where it’s coming from. Often certain thoughts or feelings can be under the surface that trigger anxiety. Once you recognize these thoughts or feelings, you’ll be able to take responsibility for your emotions, know your limitations, and prevent things from deteriorating to their worst.

Take a Time Out

One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to find a way to take a step back from the circumstances that cause or heighten it. If you feel like your issues are threatening to overwhelm you, take a time out, a moment to yourself. It doesn’t matter whether it just ten minutes in the middle of a busy day to just breathe in and out, or to take up meditation, getting a massage, going for a run, or indulging in any other mindless activity or chore that separates and distracts you from the source of your problems.

Sleep Well

Mental health and wellbeing can be affected by a lack of sleep. It’s quite ironic actually because anxiety and lack of sleep seem to be caught in a vicious circle, in that when you’re anxious you cannot sleep, and your lack of sleep can increase your anxiety. Hence the reason why therapists, counselors, and mental health experts insists you double your efforts to ensure a good night’s rest. Go to bed early, use aromatherapy to induce sleep, reduce your caffeine in-take, and indulge in long hot baths or whatever else that aids your sleep for at least 8 hours. A well-rested mind is a less anxious, calm and controlled mind.

 A Burbank Therapist can help you learn more steps to reduce therapy.  Contact us today to learn more, 310-854-3638

Proven Ways to Manage Stress

Stress is more commonplace today than it’s ever been in the past. Our daily routines are so demanding that our minds are in constant state of fight or flight. We all have high levels of stress, and it won’t stop. There will always be more bills to pay, more deadlines to meet, more work to manage, and more relationships to maintain. It’s important to reduce and manage our levels of stress before they get too much to handle, and prevent our bodies from functioning the way they should.

Woman who is stressed out lays on the floor covering her eyes.

Understanding What Causes Stress

When we think of what really causes stress, we see traffic lights, messy houses, damaged plumbing, and piles of checks before our eyes; but those are just external triggers. To understand stress at a deeper level, we must look at it from a biological and evolutionary standpoint. In prehistoric times, human beings had to face life-threatening situations like encounters with wild animals almost regularly, generating large amounts of fear. When the brain picked up on these feelings of fear and anxiety, it knew that the body was in danger, and prepared it for either attack or defense, i.e. fight or flight.

Adrenaline was released, which affected almost every part of the body. Arteries constricted to provide more blood to the limbs; pupils dilated for better vision, blood was sent to the surface of the skin to let out the excessive heat from the body, metabolic processes sped up; the heart rate increased to aid in higher blood production, and so on. All this was to prepare the body for what it must do to fight off or escape its attacker.

Our society and surroundings may have evolved, but our brain still responds in the same way to fear and anxiety. So when we see exam schedules and rent notices, our brain treats them as wild animals charging at us, and we experience a rush of adrenaline. This adrenaline eventually takes a toll on the body, causing us to experience stress. 

Reducing Stress by Identifying Triggers

Now that we know what actually causes stress, we can learn to identify triggers, and alter our perspective on them. If there are certain things which are bound to stress us out, but we have no control over them; such as traffic jams on the way to work, or examinations in less than a week; we can learn to relax our minds and consciously not take on too much stress.

Identify what causes the stress, and then strategize. You need to plan out a strategy for overcoming this problem while taking on as little stress as possible. If there is an exam in a week, plan out what you will study on what days, instead of panicking and limiting your mind’s ability to retain information. Set your alarm for ten minutes earlier than usual so you can beat the traffic. Decide that one third of your salary is only for bills, and not to be touched for any other purpose. 

3 Tips to Reduce Stress

1) Alter the situation

2) Adapt to the situation

3) Accept the situation

Once you know that you are stressing out, breathe, releax and focuss all your energy on getting through it without any fear or anxiety. 

Effective Exercise to Reduce Stress

If you are experience extreme stress and anxiety that start to cause you to panic a simple grounding exercise can help the body and mind relax. When you “ground” yourself in the moment, the instinctual brain (reptile level brain) that wants to flight or flee the situation is shut down.

My favorite grounding exercise is “I Spy - Right Now, Right Here.” 

Here at the 5 simple steps:

1) Stop what you are doing

2) Looking in front of you and name the first object you see (spy)

3) Then move to the right and name of the next object

4) Proceed around the entire room naming off objects

5) Go around the room 3 times naming of the objects you see 

When you focus your mind on recalling names of objects you are activating a different part of the brain, this allows the instinctual brain that is reacting to stress to calm down. If no one is around say the name of the object out loud.  Try it, you will be amazed how this simple exercise can help you to feel calmer.

If you need more help managing your stress and reducing anxiety, CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) can help, contact Jennie Marie at www.Hope-Therapy-Center.com