Meditating regularly was a transformational shift in my life. I offer with no hyperbole, meditation changed my life. I meditate for 18 minutes each day. My stress and anxiety just don’t get raised as easily or as often. It brings me mental focus and problem solving as well as emotional clarity and healing.
The science on meditation is staggering. The benefits are powerful and include mental, emotional, and physical improvements. If you pay attention to the science, meditation moves from the category of things that I should do to the category of things that I am an idiot if I am not doing.
Meditation is also one of the most common things I get asked about. When I do leadership keynotes and workshops on thriving, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence, the most common questions I get asked afterward are about meditation. Just about every coaching client I work with, at some point in their process wants to invest in either starting or improving their meditation practice.
Here are the 4 meditation tools, I recommend most often.
This is a free app with hundreds of free guided meditations from some of the best teachers out there. Guided meditations are great for beginners who can benefit from the structure and reminders. I recommended Insight Timer before they added all the guided meditations. I have no idea how they provide all this content from great folks and don’t charge anything.
Headspace has some great videos about meditation with simple metaphors and helpful ways of framing meditation for the beginner. Since it is a subscription service this is also a great choice for those who need a bit of accountability to meditate. I know several folks who like the subscription because since they’ve paid for it they feel like they need to use it. The meditations are simple, guided, and not goofy or ephemeral. They offer an enormous library for energy, stress, relaxation, sleep, performance, and more.
Calm is another subscription service like Headspace. They are essentially the same service for a similar price. Each offers a 7-day trial so give them a shot and choose the one you like best.
Toward Thriving Meditation
This is my own 6-part meditation. I get asked about it so often, that I recorded a version of it. This was previously an incentive to sign-up for my free monthly newsletter, Sharing Fire.
I use the Insight Timer app to move me from one phase to the next. I initially gave each phase 2 minutes but shifted to 3 minutes for each phase after a month-long experiment. I appreciate the increased dosage.
- Phase 1: Breathe and relaxing body scan
- Phase 2: Loving-kindness meditation – beginning with self and radiating out to eventually the whole world
- Phase 3: Gratitude – appreciating this moment and then going back with gratitude for each moment over the past 24 hours
- Phase 4: Moving forward – starting with this moment and envisioning how I want to move through the world with intention in the next 24 hours.
- Phase 5: Spirituality – This can vary depending on your spirituality. I envision our vast interconnectedness.
- Phase 6: Clear – Sitting with clear-headedness and letting any thought that enter my head simply pass by.
This envisioning meditation is much more active than many other meditations, which is a good fit for me. I used this and then adapted it to meet my focus even more in the Toward Thriving meditation above.