How to Relax Your Mind to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

High-anxiety situations create racing thoughts that stick with you for hours or even days. If you don’t know how to relax your mind, your worries can make it difficult to enjoy what’s around you.

When you’re stressed out, you never really enjoy the present moment. Not to mention the physical harm that comes from stress — increased blood pressure, intense muscle tension and erratic heart rates. A chronically stressed out mind is not good for your overall wellbeing.

That’s why learning how to relax your mind is essential to stress reduction. Read more

The Best Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief

Breathing sustains life. It sends oxygen to your lungs and brain. It keeps the heart pumping. It’s essential to life. And, as a bonus for those living in today’s busy society, controlled and mindful breathing also helps you manage stress. Everyone who is subject to today’s busy and stressful way of life could benefit from learning breathing exercises for stress management.

By taking control of your breath, you can reset the stress response in your brain. Slow, deep breathing shifts the autonomic nervous system (which is in charge of the fight-or-flight response) back into rest mode and lowers blood pressure. For those who suffer from anxiety, deep breathing has been shown to provide relief by relaxing muscles. Read more

The Top Meditations for Relaxation

You have a lot of stress in your life. When you come home from work, you might change into something comfortable and spend the rest of the night watching Netflix. However, this doesn’t actually do much to help you deal with the levels of stress and frustration in your life.

Instead of spending hours zoning out and putting your stress on ice, there are actions you can take to deal with it in the long term. Meditation is one of the simplest and most beneficial ways to deal with stress. It is a great way to activate the relaxation response, and deal with many of the physical side effects of being stressed out. Read more

The Best Guided Meditations to Improve Sleep

Sleep affects your entire life. When you’re able to get a good night’s sleep, you feel refreshed during the day and can meet your responsibilities with ease. However, if you spend your nights tossing and turning, you’ll likely go through your day in a haze.

Thousands of people across the world use guided meditation to help them get to sleep at night. Read on to see why guided meditations help, and check out a small selection of the types of meditations you can expect to find.

How They Help

Mindfulness meditations are one of the best ways to fight insomnia and other sleep related issues. This type of meditation has been proven to combat depression, fatigue, and insomnia by promoting a relaxation response. Read more

How to Relax Your Body

Holidays are a time for you to connect with your family and share gifts with the people you love. However, the pressure of preparing for holiday parties and trying to get gifts that everyone will like can become stressful and create a lot of tension rather than joy.

As a result, many people end up getting tense and holding that stress in their bodies. If you find your skin breaking out more than usual, or feel tired and achey all the time around the holidays, it’s possible that you’re holding too much stress in your body.

When you get stressed, the fight or flight response activates in your body. Your brain floods various body systems with stress hormones to get ready for potential danger. Activating the relaxation response reverses that and brings the stress levels in your body down, slowing down your heart and helping your muscles ease up.

You don’t have to just deal with holding on to that added stress, even if you are short on time. There are many ways to relieve tension in your body so your holidays will be a little less stressful. Some of them only take a few minutes, and some of them take a little longer. Read more

Help Reduce Pain with These Meditations

The National Institute of Health reports that 25 million American adults suffer from pain daily. This pain can can range from brief to long lasting, and minor to severe. Additionally, some 40 million Americans suffer sever pain on a regular basis.

Pain not only hurts, but can also have a deep impact on your everyday life.

Severe pain, whether in the form of migraines or bodily pain, can cause you to miss work and other important events in your life. For those suffering with chronic pain, the impact is even worse. While aspirin and prescription medications are viable options to combat pain, many are turning to complementary health services like yoga, massages, and meditation to help manage their pain on a daily level.

Those who wonder if meditation for pain actually works are in for a pleasant surprise.

Meditation has been recommended as a way to manage pain for numerous ailments, such as migraines, back pain, and chronic pain.

Read more

Try These 7 Five-Minute Meditations For Inner Peace

Breathe in, breathe out. Meditation is really that simple. However, quieting your mind for a number of minutes can be daunting and challenging. We are so used to constant notifications and mental stimulation that any mental stillness can be near impossible to maintain, especially when first starting out with meditation.

Is it worth it? We think so. Meditation is a widespread practice which has been used for thousands of years to develop spiritually and calm the mind. The research on meditation is suggestive that it can help manage negative effects of stress, pain, addiction, and anxiety. Generally, there is something to gain for anyone in taking time for oneself, reconnecting with your inner being. A little bit of peace and quiet is good for everyone.

If you are looking to get into meditation, but can’t or don’t want to commit to a long and arduous session, there are plenty of short meditations available. Use these to get a taste of meditation to see if it’s for you, or, use them for a quick getaway during the working day.

Spire has a large collection of meditations lasting around 5 minutes or less. Get started with some of our short favorites listed below.

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The Most Effective Meditations for Insomnia

Sleep is essential for a healthy life. Sadly, 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems that prevent them from getting a healthy number of Zs. Sleep loss and sleep disorders like sleep apnea are common health problems, yet 80 to 90 percent of adults with sleep disorders are undiagnosed.

Insomnia, or chronic sleeplessness, has huge, negative effects on health. Loss of sleep leads to poor memory, depressed mood, serious mental stress, and more.

How do we overcome sleeplessness?

A good way to start is by pinpointing the reason you can’t sleep. Most of the time, it’s because you’re extremely stressed and can’t let go of those feelings.

That’s where meditation comes in handy.

Meditation is the practice of finding inner calm and releasing negative feelings. Practicing meditation has been shown to help regulate emotional states, lower anxiety and stress, and decrease the symptoms of depression. (Study)

Meditation helps us regulate the stress in our lives and subsequently. helps us get to a better night of sleep.

How Meditation Helps With Sleep

Meditation not only helps you get more sleep, it also helps you get a deeper sleep with a higher intensity of REM waves.

One study have showed that people who practice mindfulness meditations experienced improved sleep quality and a decrease in the symptoms of insomnia.

Another study showed that meditation was a viable treatment for those who suffered from chronic insomnia, with practitioners experiencing fewer symptoms post-meditation, even months after their initial practice.

How does meditation help you get to dreamland?

One of the ways meditation helps you get to sleep is that it actually increases melatonin levels. Melatonin is an important hormone released by the pineal gland that regulates your sleeping cycle and wakefulness.

Another way that meditation gets you to sleep is by training your relaxation response to work a little faster. Meditation helps you stop let go of things you can’t control. By meditating during the day, you strengthen that response so you can call on it when you need it most.

Stop counting sheep and try meditation instead.

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Meditations for Sleep

Meditation may seem like a daunting task, but in practice, it’s relatively simple. The hardest part comes from trying to clear your mind.

A great meditation to start with is the world-renowned mindfulness leader and meditation guru Deepak Chopra. In the following boost, he leads you to sleep deeper with a simple 12 minute meditation.

For a deeper dive into restful meditations, try this “Rest” meditation series from Thich Nhat Hanh. These meditations will help you find compassion for your body, tune into being completely still, and relax your whole body.

YouTube has a good selection of guided meditations that can you help you sleep as well. Many of them come with calming visuals that gently guide your eyes to sleep. Try this popular meditation below.

If you need something more immediate, you can follow a simple two-step meditation to relax. Simply start by bringing your attention to your breath. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then breathe out. Do this a few times until you have a controlled, steady pattern of breathing.

When you’re ready, think of a small mantra that can help to ward off stressful thoughts. Repeat the mantra with each inhale and exhale, until you fall asleep.

As we mentioned earlier, meditation is a practice. To really train your relaxation response, try to meditate during the day and not just before sleep.

If you only have a few minutes to spare, this beginner’s meditation will only take 7 minutes of your day.

To reduce stress in your everyday life, and consequently reduce stress before bed, try this another meditation led by Deepak Chopra focusing on stress reduction.

For even better sleep, pair up your meditation practice with these foods or additional methods of falling asleep.

There are many reasons that babies sleep so well but one of the biggest might be because they don’t experience stress the way adults do.

Meditation can help us be kinder to ourselves by letting go of unwarranted, negative thoughts that follow us into the night.

It’s time to try meditation, let go of stress, and sleep like a baby.

A Beginner’s Tutorial for Using Guided-Meditation to Relax

The fast paced flow of the modern world makes it difficult to find peace of mind. Between work and home, there are plenty of excuses as to why you don’t have to time to relax.

It can be hard to switch your brain off, but making time to relax is important for both your physical and mental well-being.

For those struggling to find their zen moment, guided relaxation can be a good way to your train body and mind to discover calm.

What is guided relaxation? Simply put, it’s a form of meditation where an instructor gently guides you into a relaxed state.

Benefits of Guided Relaxation

Meditation is a simple way to calm your mind, but can seem difficult to incorporate and maintain in your everyday life.

However, once you add it into your daily routine, you can easily reap the benefits for years to come.

One study found that guided relaxation improves mood, reduces levels of clinical depression, and anxiety.

Combine the method with yoga and guided relaxation can even reduce activity in the sympathetic nervous system – the system in your body that is responsible for the fight or flight response.

Busy minds who struggle to relax will find that one of the biggest benefits of guided relaxation is that a calming voice is instructing you what to do. Following along with someone’s careful instructions means you can take the pressure off yourself.

With guided relaxation, there’s no need for previous training; all you need is a quiet place where you can listen carefully.

How Does Guided Meditation Work?

There are many types of guided relaxations you can follow along with. Most will use visualization techniques and deep breathing to effect positive changes.

Often times, the guide will ask you to visualize your stress and anxiety as an object that you can see yourself pushing away. After pushing away the object, they will guide you into a meditation that enhances feelings of positivity and calm.

More often, guided relaxations will ask you to participate in mindful breathing. Taking a breath is a fast and easy way to regain calm. In a guided meditation, you deepen or slow the breath so you can stay in that calm moment for longer.

Where to Find Guided Meditations for Relaxation

A quick search on Google will turn up plenty of guided meditations for relaxation. Each guide will have a different style and technique for leading you into relaxation, so don’t feel like you have to commit to one guide every day.

A great place to start is with guided meditation from the Plum Village monastery, trained by prominent mindfulness leader Thich Nhat Hanh.

Follow along with their full-body relaxation guide here:

In this guided meditation, the Plum Village monastery leads you to find compassion for your body, discover more calm and fall into a deeper sleep.

For a simpler guided relaxation that focuses more on your breath, follow along with Spire co-founder Neema to develop clinical-strength calm.

To find more guided meditations, check out Spire’s Boosts where you can listen to guides for mindfulness, focus, and rest too.

Additionally, Spotify has a few good playlists of guided meditations for relaxation. The following playlist has over 100 tracks of calming meditations.

If you are more visually inclined, YouTube has a great selection of guided relaxation videos as well. This particular guided meditation video uses sounds and images of a peaceful beach to guide you into blissful, deep relaxation.

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Guided meditation can help you develop a healthy relaxation habit that you deserve. Your brain needs to take a break just as much as your body does. Yet, so many of us often forget that.

With guided meditation, it becomes a little simpler to clear your mind and take that break. All you need to do is find a quiet place or plug in a pair of earphones to start relaxing.

If you still need a gentle nudge to take a break, Spire can help by sending you a notification when your breathing gets tense.

Refresh your energy, find some peace of mind, and discover calm with guided relaxations.

A Short Guide to Mindfulness Meditations

Meditating on your own can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out. Maybe you’ve done a few meditations with the help of someone else, but trying to do them on your own seems impossible. If you’re not familiar with meditation techniques, you might find yourself stressing about remembering what comes next, or you might have simply no idea what to do when it comes time to meditate.

Using guided mindfulness meditations can help you take advantage of the benefits of meditation without having to know what to do on your own. Letting someone else guide you through a meditative process can help you reach goals you might struggle to achieve on your own. There are many different types of guided meditations out there, so you’re sure to find some that are uniquely suited to what you need.

What are Guided Mindfulness Meditations

Guided mindfulness meditations are meditations led by someone else with the intent of helping you be more mindful. Using a premade meditation can help you set and reach your intentions, put aside stress about getting the practice right, and will guide you to states of mind that you might not be able to find on your own. If you get distracted easily, guided meditations are perfect to help you bring your mind back when it starts to wander.

Here are some of the common formats guided meditations take:

Podcasts:  There are thousands of podcasts focused on meditation. If you are picky about the voice of the person guiding you to a state of relaxation, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Most podcasts are available on iTunes, but you can find others on Soundcloud and on company websites.

YouTube:  YouTube is another great place for finding guided meditations. Some of them include visuals to aid your meditation if you have a hard time closing your eyes. As with podcasts, if you don’t like the voice of one person, you don’t have to stick with them! The best part about YouTube videos is that they are all free to use, so you can find guidance for free!

Attending Meditation Classes:  If you’re willing to pay for meditation, there are likely some incredibly knowledgeable meditation teachers in studios nearby. You’ll want to look for someone who has been meditating and teaching meditation for years, as their experience will benefit your search for peace.

Finding and Using a Meditation Script:  Knowledgeable meditation experts have created scripts for those who want to carry out and alter a practice. Many yoga studios and mindfulness experts have created scripts that are available on their websites, or you can search Google for a guided meditation script on a specific topic you want help with.

Benefits of Guided Mindfulness Meditations

A Complete Guide to Mindfulness Meditations 2

Meditation is a great way to deal with the anxiety and stress that comes from everyday life. Trying to balance work, family, friendships, and money can be exhausting, especially when it feels like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Going through guided mindfulness meditations on a regular basis can help you find a moment of peace in an otherwise rushed life.

There are many benefits you can reap from practicing guided meditation on a regular basis.

All You Need to Do is Listen

Many people hesitate to start learning meditation because they feel like they’ll need to work on a specific skill to receive the benefits from it. Guided meditations take away all of that pressure, because someone else is leading you through the practice. All you need to do is listen to their voice and do your best to follow what they are saying. It might seem weird at first, especially if it’s something you haven’t done before, but do your best to trust the person guiding you. They know what they are doing and they have had success in guiding other people through this meditation.

Meditation Improves Your Body’s Hormonal Balance

Meditation isn’t just for your mind, it has many benefits for your body as well. Practicing mindfulness helps keep stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in balance, which when left unchecked, can lead to anxiety and weight gain. It’s also a great way to increase your level of human growth hormone, which reduces stored fat, helps regulate your metabolism, and assists in regulating your blood sugar.

Physical Pain Becomes Easier to Bear

Along with helping your hormones, guided meditations are a great way to reduce chronic pain. Sometimes the pain in our bodies can come from long term stress and trauma. Being guided through meditations can help us to reduce that emotional stress, which then lessens the source of our chronic pain. Meditating mindfully can help pain sufferers lessen their pain by increasing their mental control and will help improve their overall quality of life.

Mental Goals Become Easier to Attain

There are many reasons people turn to meditation. Most of the time, they are searching for a specific outcome or have several different reasons for turning to this practice. Here are a few outcomes people have been able to achieve through practicing guided mindfulness meditations.

  • Improving mental focus and memory
  • Healing from past trauma and pain
  • Enhancing creativity and imagination
  • Relaxing and reducing stress
  • Boosting confidence and self esteem levels
  • Reducing or removing prominent negative thoughts

Mental Health Concerns Are Easier to Address

Because guided meditation works on improving the power of the mind, it makes sense that it would improve some mental illnesses. Many therapists use guided meditations in their treatment of patients. This practice is successful in modifying behaviors and destructive thinking patterns that therapists work to help their patients address in psychotherapy sessions.

Meditation Can Help Process Difficult Emotions

Even the most well adjusted people can have a hard time processing difficult emotions. Feelings like guilt, sadness, depression, and anger can be difficult to get a handle on. However, instead of pushing down your emotions only to have them resurface with a vengeance later, meditation helps you process and grapple with them in a healthy way.  Guided meditations give you a safe space to examine your emotions and help you understand where they are coming from.

Reduce Your Anxiety With This Guided Meditation Script

A Complete Guide to Mindfulness Meditations

We’ve created a guided meditation script to help you out during times of anxiety. Feel free to use this when your Spire tells you that you are feeling a bit tense, or when you can feel the tension in your body.

If scripts aren’t really your thing, you can access dozens of Spire’s Guided Mindfulness Meditations on Soundcloud.

Guided Meditation for Anxiety

Set aside a few minutes of your day where you won’t be disturbed. This could be during your lunch, after work, or right before bed.

Get into a position you will be comfortable for an extended period of time. This may be sitting down on a couch with your feet touching the floor, sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, or laying down with your head propped up. Do whatever feels most comfortable to you.

Close your eyes.

Notice your chest rising as you take in a breath, and feel the air enter your lungs. Then notice as your chest falls and the air exits your lungs. Take some time to feel this process happening. Feel the breath go in, and then go out.

Count ten breaths.

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Now you are tuned in to your breath.

As you breathe in, visualize the air you breath in as a white vapor. This vapor is full of energy and calm.

As you breathe out, visualize the air you push out of your lungs as a black fog. This fog is full of the stress, panic, and tension that has filled your body over time.

Breathe in to fill your lungs and your body with the white vapor. Feel the energy course through you as you breathe it in.

And as you breathe out, feel your stress and worries leave your body with the black fog. The tension in your body leaves with each exhale.

Breathe in and feel lighter, full of positive energy. Breathe out, feeling the stress exit through your nostrils.

Envision the white vapor coming from above. It drifts in from the sky into your nose as you inhale. This positive energy will revitalize you and give you the strength you need to face your day. Feel the vapor come into your body as you breathe in.

And as you breathe out, feel your exhale pull pain and stress from all over your body and push it out through your nose. Imagine the black fog going downwards and sinking into the ground. With each breath out, you exhale more and more stress and worry.

Repeat the inhale and the exhale as many times as you need. Don’t feel like you have to rush through this exercise. You can breathe in as much white vapor as you need, and breathe out as much black fog as you feel like is in your body.

Once you are ready, focus on different parts of your body. Take note of how they feel. Do you notice any places that have less tension than before? You might not be completely free of stress and worries, but that’s okay. You’ve still decreased the amount in your body, and that is something to be proud of.

Bring awareness to your body by moving bits at a time. Start with your toes, then your feet. Continue to your legs, then to your pelvis. Continue to your stomach, then your arms and shoulders.

When you feel like you have brought enough awareness to your body, open your eyes. Take your time to adjust to the world around you. It is common to feel somewhat disoriented after a meditation. There is no need to rush out of this state. Once you are ready, you can continue through your day, or relax into sleep.

End Meditation

Guided meditations can help all kinds of people in all sorts of situations. Whether your mind is prone to wandering or you don’t think you are able to meditate on your own, guided meditations are perfect for you. If you want to improve your mental or physical health, there are specific meditations you can try out to achieve your goals. There are hundreds of options for you to choose from, so don’t stop looking until you find what works for you.