How to start meditating, and some meditation recommendations

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I’ve been meditating for about two and a half years and it has absolutely changed my life. I do think that better things have come into my life since meditating, and that it’s helped me handle disappointments and stress. It’s also given me a different and more spiritual outlook. I only do it about 15 minutes every other day, and I use guided meditations off YouTube. Prior to this, I always found meditation intimidating because I thought I would have to sit still and either clear my mind or observe my thoughts. When I listen to guided meditations, it’s so much easier. I’m very suggestible and have always responded to hypnosis though.

One time I went to a group meditation by an organization called Heartfulness. I fully expected them to collect donations, to plug retreats or services and to sell materials. They didn’t do any of that and we just talked to each other afterwards, it was absolutely wonderful. I talked to a husband and wife who said they’d gone to Heartfulness group meditations in New Jersey and that they were the same: gentle, kind and not spammy or culty at all. It’s just a very decent organization. That was the only time I’ve done a meditation without music or someone talking to me and I was surprised at how deep I was able to go. Maybe I will try that again but usually I just fall asleep when I try it on my own. They have a youtube channel and website if you’re interested in silent meditation.

For those of you who are new to meditation or who are looking for new guided meditations to try, these are my favorites. I’ve done all of these at least once. Note that I do not cosign or believe everything that they say. Some people may find affirmation and manifestation-type messages annoying or even offensive and that’s completely understandable. There were parts of the book The Secret that I found so obnoxious, particularly that people are always responsible for their health problems and even for accidents. I don’t believe that. These meditations have helped me, and some of them are weird. Your results and beliefs may vary. I also do affirmation videos and try to listen to relaxing music so I’ve included some of those. Also, if meditations are not something you’re interested in, I would like to recommend naps. I take one every day.

Ten minute guidance abundance meditation, wakes you up

This is my favorite meditation. I don’t know if it’s the music, her soothing voice or the ideas, but I love it. It’s about abundance in money, friends, love and more. Another manifestation meditation I like from that YouTuber is this ten minute one which wakes you up. (She has a new meditation for corona anxiety which I plan to listen to before my nap this afternoon.) Here’s a 15 minute manifestation meditation from another youtuber which wakes you up. I’ve done that one a few times.

Ten minute guided meditation, wakes you up

If you’d just like to relax, this ten minute guided meditation is perfect. He just tells you to let go of everything and that you’re not trying to control anything. Here’s another relaxing ten minute meditation which also wakes you up.

Guided visualization meditations for stress and worry

The Honest Guys have vivid descriptive meditations for letting go of stress and anxiety and for falling asleep. If you’re just getting started meditating, I recommend their channel. One of my favorites is this 14 minute one that wakes you up. It sounds bizarre but you talk to a bird with a face like a human who takes away your anxiety. It works for me every time.

Meditations to help you sleep
This 20 minute meditation by The Honest Guys is so nice to fall asleep to. You walk next to a river, sit and have your worries taken away by a passing cloud. The Honest Guys have other meditations that are specifically designed as talkdowns to sleep. Also YouTube has so many long positive affirmation videos designed to listen to while you’re sleeping. I usually don’t bother with these as I prefer the shorter videos, but I’ve fallen asleep to this one a couple of times.

Healing meditations

Here’s a really gentle 15 minute healing meditation (wakes you up) which I’ve found helpful. This ten minute self healing mediation (wakes you up) helps you control your thoughts and mood. I’ve done this 11 minute healing meditation (does not wake you up) from The Honest Guys a few times. You imagine healing energy throughout your body and it feels incredible. This half hour healing meditation (does not wake you up) claims to influence your body’s cells. I’ve done it probably three times and liked it.

Affirmation videos

Sometimes I listen to this relaxing love affirmation video in my car when I’m feeling stressed. I can also listen to it when I’m working without getting too distracted. The affirmations fade and it’s just the vaporwave type music in the middle. Here’s an uplifting 11 minute general affirmation video meant to listen to in the morning. The Honest Guys have a seven hour positive affirmation video with upbeat music that can also improve my mood.

Relaxing music and scenery that may help you focus and calm your mind

My doctor recommended alpha wave music to me a while ago. Here are my two favorite background music videos to listen to, this “chakra healing” one by Jason Stephenson (I don’t think that’s a thing, I just like the music) and this alpha wave study music video. Jason Stephenson has so many meditation and music relaxation videos to choose from on his channel if you’d like to see more.

If you’re looking for relaxing music and/or beautiful scenery to play on your TV, there are videos with beautiful drone shot scenery with music and some with nature scenes and ambient natural sounds. If you’d like to find more, just search on whatever scenery you want with the words 4k and youtube like “fall 4k youtube,” “islands 4k youtube” or “aquarium 4k youtube.”

Finally, I don’t use apps but I’ve heard good things about Calm and Headspace. Hopefully these were helpful. Thanks for reading and please share your favorites and recommendations!

Photos credit: Suraphat Nuea-on, Marlin Martinez, pixabay and Lina Kivaka from Pexels

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29 Responses to “How to start meditating, and some meditation recommendations”

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  1. Insomniac says:

    Meditation has been keeping me from flying completely off the handle during all this. Tibet House US has been offering their lunchtime meditation sessions free online through Zoom from 1 to 1:45 PM EST; I highly recommend signing up for one of those if you’re interested. I don’t think I can post a URL here but if you Google “Tibet House Lunchtime Meditation,” you’ll find the info.

  2. Lily says:

    I need to change my cycle and start meditation. Maybe it’ll help me.

    I’ve gained weight and I feel like I’m out of control

  3. Swack says:

    I’ve used Do You Yoga for meditation. It has a 30 day plan. Each session is 5-10 minutes long. May need to get back to it.

  4. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Without a doubt, guided meditations have helped me. I listen, with headphones, at night as I’m lying down ready for sleep. I never knew quieting my brain could be so helpful. My brain’s a beast of burden, and it takes a while to shut it off. I’ve never been one to sleep easily, and when I am asleep, anything can startle me to full awake mode. Meditation is like a rocking chair and a lullaby lol.

  5. MellyMel says:

    Meditation is so good for you. I’ve used the Calm and Headspace apps off and on, but thank you for these recs!

    • Tosca says:

      The best app is Simple Habit. It beats Headspace and Calm hands-down. I was a user of both until they started changing the voices and options – the meditation leaders started to be too anxious and excited. (Which is ironic for an app named Calm!) Simple Habit has meditations for every possible need you may have. I went through a period of long chronic illness and the app was a lifesaver.

  6. Faithmobile says:

    My friend started a what’s App group for Depak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge-it has helped me stay on track. It’s nice to have a daily reminder to chill the F out. Anyway, thank you for this post, I can’t wait to try other guided meditations.

  7. pomoerium says:

    I just started meditating last week! Received an email from an app developer who’s giving a free year to everyone because end of the world and stuff. It’s really helping me fall asleep fast. They have stuff for waking up too, breaking habits, focusing etc. I’m hooked :-)

  8. K says:

    I teach meditation and just decided to throw some on a podcast and YouTube since I can’t teach classes right now. I won’t self plug here but def recommend guided meditations. There are so many options.

  9. Lightpurple says:

    I use both Calm and Headspace. I like the humor of Headspace. Calm has a breathing technique that is so simple but really works – you set it for however long you want to do it – 1 minute, 10 minutes, and it’s just a lighted circle with soft music telling you to inhale, hold, exhale. I find it really helps me to push back fear, relax, focus, and get on with whatever I need to do even if I only do it for 3 minutes.

    I also have panic attacks when I’m at the dentist and, in addition to the sedatives they give me, I would listen to Enya on my headphones. Now my dentist is hooked on playing Enya for anxious patients.

    • SomeChick says:

      Love the bit about Enya! I will have to try that next time I have to go the dentist.

    • Pomoerium says:

      Haha, when I had all my wisdom teeth taken out at the hospital I was so stressed out about even having an IV put in I played a Sigur Ros song on loop on my mp3 player. It was still playing when I woke up a few hours later. 10/10 would recommend.
      By the way, my amazing dentist always has classical music playing in the background, it’s very soothing.

  10. IMUCU says:

    Thank you so much for this detailed list! I’ve been looking for some good meditation recommendations. I’m an RN and my stress level has been up, so I will definitely be trying some of these!

  11. lucy2 says:

    I’m going to come back to this later this evening. I’ve had a couple of days of high anxiety and a full on attack this morning (feeling better now). It’s so annoying, especially when I’m trying to work and get stuff done. I think some meditation much help ease it a bit.

  12. jugstorecowboy says:

    Thanks for the recs! I love the Ten Percent app, have found it much more accessible than calm or headspace, etc. I’m still struggling to get into a good routine, but am definitely yelling at my kids less!!

  13. Not This Body says:

    This is the most beautiful post ever to be on this site, hats off.

    However, I just wanted to warn people about this thing in meditation called ‘dark night of the soul’ which you can google. It’s about losing your sense of self and going into a major depression that can be permanently affecting. It affects a not insignificant portion of people, and I just want everyone to be aware going into it.

    I recently read a book that says meditation is used by political prisoners and others in extremely painful situations; the way it works is by dissociation; meditation is a form of dissociation, ‘I am not this body’ is dissociation. It is good for crisis situations you can’t escape. I don’t know if doing something you love would be better or not. I tend to side with staying in your body, even if its forgetting it by like, playing marbles or something.

    • Tosca says:

      Thanks for the warning – that’s super interesting. I think I’ve experienced that disassociation as a result of reading certain meditation books…

  14. JBones says:

    I F’n needed this right now. Going to put the kids in front of the TV, and try out the Honest Guys….THANK YOU.

  15. pamspam says:

    Lovely suggestions – thank you! Here’s my go-to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEl6_pRK4-w

  16. Hotsauceinmybag says:

    I started meditating in winter of 2017, after a lot of baggage I was dealing with came to the surface and made it very difficult for me to lead a “normal,” functional life. I used to cry every day because I felt so out of control of my own life.

    Meditation can be challenging and very intimidating but it is oh so worth it! Three years on I still prefer guided meditations – here’s the one that got me started (it’s a letting go meditation, also available on Spotify): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTNpEwEPS80.

    Now I use the women’s meditation network podcast, my therapist recommended it to me and it’s an absolute gem, they have different meditation themes (anxiety, stress over money, feeling safe, sleep, headaches, etc.; I listen on Spotify): https://womensmeditationnetwork.com/podcast/ I still find meditation to be challenging, especially when I’m stressed or anxious but it’s really nice to hear a calming voice that’s able to pinpoint how I’m feeling and help guide me to a more peaceful place, even if it’s for 10 minutes.

    To those getting started, do not get discouraged! Do not feel like you have to meditate for an hour twice a day. Do what feels right and good for you and you’ll start to form a habit that works for you. Enjoy the journey!

  17. Nicole Padilla says:

    Cosmic kids has mediation videos for kids. We gave it a shot today, my 5 year old was not impressed :D He asked what mediation was prior to starting and I told him it would calm the thoughts in his head. We did 10 minutes and when he was done he said “Mom, my head is still crazy.” Ha! We then switched to the kids yoga, which is a lot of fun.

  18. Jules says:

    I recommend the Headspace app. And vipassana meditation is the simplest, most pure form of going within. Supposed to be from the direct teachings of the Buddha.

  19. Enny says:

    There’s a sleep meditation on YouTube called Trance Is Inevitable. It works like a charm any time I can’t fall or stay asleep.

  20. Thank you ‘Celebitchy’ for the timely reminder that meditation will help stress levels. And thank you for the very thorough post on various possible aids. It’s easy to see a lot of effort and thought went into this one. Well done. 🙏 Namaste.