A few years ago, after many attempts at avoiding it, I finally started a daily meditation practice in hopes of finding a way to ease my everyday stress and worries. At first, sitting down trying to quiet my mind was an absolute nightmare. I felt frustrated and didn’t think I’d ever be able to check “learn how to meditate” off my to-do list. I turned to guided audio meditations, all of which I found free on YouTube, to get me going. This was the exact remedy I needed for my meditation struggles. By quieting my mind through visualizations and the guidance of someone else’s voice, I was able to shut off the noise inside my head and really tune in. When I started finding my meditation rhythm, I felt a little pressure to do it everyday. Of course, this is the ideal for anyone. During the weeks that I do sit down and meditate daily, I simply feel better. But if you’re not ready to make it a daily practice just yet, there are certain times when meditation can really be a tool of support and transformation.
Meditation, as with most things in life, has no one-size-fits-all formula that works for everyone. From apps to Zen methods, mindfulness to guided audios, there are so many ways to make meditation a part of your life in a way that works for you during the times when you might need it most. Here are four times when meditation really comes in handy:
Before a big event
Sometimes there are good stressors in our lives. Exciting things like a new job, a wedding, an interview, or the birth of a new baby are all moments that are filled with joy, but also can cause us to stress. In times like these, meditation is a great way to calm your nerves and bring you back to the present moment, so you can fully enjoy the excitement that lies ahead. One of my favorite go-to meditations for big day prep is this Open to Receive Love and Abundance meditation. It’s a good way to keep your focus on the positive, avoid feeling overwhelmed, and invite all the good and positive things you deserve into your day.
After a conflict
Have you ever walked into a place and just felt the tension in the air? Or had the same argument with the same co-worker over and over? Meditation is a great way to cope with any type of negativity in your life, whether it’s a fight with a loved one, a jam-packed commuter train ride home, or just any experience that leaves you feeling kinda icky inside. This How to Clear Negative Energy guided meditation is my go-to for letting go of negativity and getting back to a more positive state of mind. It’s not about pretending a negative thing didn’t happen, but it’s about taking care of yourself and not hanging on to bad feelings, which will ultimately only drag you down.
When dealing with loss
Whether it’s the death of a close family member or a difficult breakup, we all suffer loss in our lives from time to time. This is a natural part of the cycle of life, but it doesn’t make it any easier to know that. Loss and grief are heavy experiences, and we each face circumstances that make us feel the pain of separation. Meditation is a big comfort during times like these. By finding stillness in the midst of grief, you can lighten the load on your heart and feel a sense of relief from the sad thoughts that might be filling your mind. This guided meditation for inner peace is one of my favorites because it is centered around stress release. When we face loss, peace is really what feels absent from our life, so by consciously choosing to spend time focusing on staying calm and feeling relaxed, you can ease the pain and lighten the burden, even if you can’t eliminate your grief entirely.
When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed
We’ve all had those days. Your alarm doesn’t go off, your pet has an accident, your inbox is exploding with emails, and everything seems to be going wrong. Meditating in the morning, especially when you don’t feel quite yourself, is a good jumping off point to get a daily practice going, and a great way to get you re-centered. One of my favorite guided morning meditations is a five-minute one called Empower Your Day. When repeated every morning, it really helps to elevate your mood and productivity and set the tone for the hours to come. Morning meditation has been a total game-changer for me. It helps me get out of a frantic, must-get-everything-done mode and helps me stay in a more present and calm headspace. If you can spend even five minutes every morning slowing down and tuning in, you might feel better before you know it.
Originally published on May 16, 2017.