Anxious thoughts can take up a lot of real estate in our brains. The most effective way of evicting that negativity is by promoting mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation for anxiety can help calm your racing mind, lower overall stress, and give you a sense of clarity. Here’s why guided meditation for stress and anxiety works and my three favorite YouTube guided meditation videos that make it easy to get started.
What is a Guided Meditation?
Guided meditation is exactly as it sounds. You listen to a voice who puts you in a relaxed state. The person conducting the guided meditation encourages you to implement deep breathing techniques.
Research shows that deep breathing can help with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Deep breaths hit our internal system’s reset button.
Many anxious people tend to clench their jaws and hold their breaths. Guided meditation uses deep breathing to break these harmful habits so that we are less rigid and more open to relaxation and healing.
From there, the mediator uses visualization techniques to promote a calm state. Whether it’s envisioning a sunset on a beach or climbing to a mountain summit, visualization takes your mind off other pressing matters. You’re concentrating on bringing an image to life, rather than your stress and anxiety.
Using your imagination allows your brain to create new brain pathways because you’re working hard to create an image in your mind.
That’s why many people who participate in guided meditations receive insights that might help your health, relationships, or career shortly after practicing.
How Does Guided Meditation for Anxiety Work vs. Hypnosis?
You may be thinking: “How can a guided meditation for anxiety and panic help me when the idea of it stresses me out in the first place?” Feeling this way is completely understandable.
When my friend suggested trying a YouTube guided meditation for anxiety video, I was also skeptical. My exact words were, “I’m not going to be walking around my house, clucking like a chicken!”
The imagery of a guided meditation conjured up visions of magicians or hypnotists, putting me under a spell. While there are parallels between hypnosis and guided meditation, they are two different tools for tapping into the subconscious.
Hypnosis therapy (hypnotherapy) targets specific events or conditions. Some get hypnotized to go back into a time where trauma may have happened. That way, they can confront this compartmentalized event and attempt to move forward. Others use hypnosis to combat addictions and phobias.
Guided meditation is far less invasive. While it might be useful for handling the symptoms of specific trauma, guided meditation is more generalized. It’s intended to be an outlet to release everyday stress and channel your uncertainty into positive and productive energy.
How Does Mindfulness and Meditation for Anxiety Work?
It’s easy to say that a guided meditation for anxiety 5 minutes per day can improve your mood, and take this assertion at face value. Most people are aware that meditation is good for your mental state. But the average person doesn’t know how and why it works.
Guided meditation for anxiety and panic isn’t psychobabble. There have been studies that show how mindfulness meditation for anxiety works. One study looked at brain images of people practicing mindful meditation for 20 minutes.
Scientists noted that the brain scans of anxious meditators saw activation in the following areas:
- Anterior Cingulate Cortex – Regulates Emotions and Thoughts
- Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex – Processes Risks and Fears
- Anterior Insula – Influences Signaling and Arousal
Of the three areas, the anterior cingulate cortex saw the most activity. These results only confirm that mindful meditation can soothe a racing mind. In fact, the average person who participated in this study saw their anxiety symptoms decrease by 39%.
Why Try Guided Meditation for Stress Anxiety vs. Regular Meditation?
Some people might be leery of having a stranger over the internet coax them into a subconscious state. I was one of those people. So, I tried mindful practices with and without assistance. Here’s why I prefer guided meditation for anxiety videos over meditating solo.
I’ve tried meditating for years. Unsuccessfully, I might as well add. Like many of you, I read numerous articles that meditation would help everything from depression to sleep problems to anxiety. So, I gave it a go.
Dare I say, is there anything worse than an anxious person sitting in silence? Being alone with my thoughts caused even more toxic thoughts. You’re the worst person to talk to yourself about your anxiety and depression. I was getting frustrated that my mind was drifting and was rocking back and forth in my seated position. Then, I couldn’t get my mind off the fact that my butt fell asleep!
All of these things happened less frequently when I tried a guided mindfulness meditation for anxiety. Listening to someone else’s voice quieted my own down. Don’t get me wrong; it didn’t shut my inner voice up at first. However, with practice, I’ve learned to tone down and even drown that nag out.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably put off meditation many times. Is it because you’re afraid of “not doing it right?” I was too.
Listen, there is no “right.” You just sit there as still as possible, breathing in as deep as you can. That’s all there is to it.
Going at it alone, I kept thinking to myself, “this isn’t working,” “I’m bored,” and “Am I doing this right?” Remember, I’m an anxious person. Of course, I overthought the most relaxing thing in the world!
A guided meditation makes it easier to feel like you’re “doing it right.” You follow their prompts. They illustrate visuals with words that you paint with your mind. It’s a collaborative effort that helps you feel supported while trying something new.
Mantras Are Game Changers
When we reach a relaxed state, it’s easier to rewire the brain. During a guided meditation for anxiety and panic, you are in what Stanford calls “relaxed alertness.”
You are aware of your surroundings while simultaneously focusing on the visual you’ve created in your head.
At the same time, you are entirely relaxed. Your brain waves aren’t all over the place. It’s multitasking at the highest level.
All of this happening while you actively listen to your guide and the little chatter of your own inner voice.
During this relaxed state, your guide might have you repeat a set of mantras along the lines of:
- I am strong.
- I am beautiful.
- I will achieve greatness.
- Life is wonderful.
- Goodbye stress.
Mantras work because perception is reality. When we say things are horrible, things tend to be awful. Hearing and verbalizing positive thoughts can help us transform our perception.
Repetition is critical for learning new concepts. For those of us trying to biohack our anxious minds, learning to love ourselves is a novel idea.
Different Videos for Different Goals
Anxiety impacts our lives in different ways. Some of us become depressed, while others might become obsessive-compulsive. There are different visual techniques or mantras that might be more effective in combating these unwanted symptoms of anxiety.
Go on YouTube and treat it like a search engine. Check out a mindfulness meditation for sleep and anxiety or for low energy and lack of creativity. You’ll be amazed by what you find!
Top 3 YouTube Guided Meditation for Anxiety Videos
Mindfulness meditation for anxiety and depression takes time. It’s difficult to jump right in. That’s why I’m sharing my top 3 YouTube guided meditation for anxiety videos. They will help you build up your practice, so you rent out less headspace to your negative thoughts.
5 Minute Meditation for Anxiety by Brandon Epstein
Hey! You’ve gotta start somewhere. It takes a lot of patience and dedication to sit still for 5 minutes, let alone 20.
Treat your brain like a muscle. You wouldn’t start weightlifting with 100 pounds off the bat.
Start off with a guided meditation for anxiety 5 minutes long and work your way up. Get a solid foundation with this 5 Minute Meditation for Anxiety by Brandon Epstein.
20 Minute Guided Meditation for Reducing Anxiety and Stress by The Mindful Movement
Some people feel more comfortable listening to a female voice. I highly recommend 20 Minute Guided Meditation for Reducing Anxiety and Stress by The Mindful Movement.
I love the visuals presented by the guide. They are very descriptive and interactive, creating an all-immersive experience. You’re going to enjoy the elevator ride she takes you on as you start your journey to declutter your mind.
Guided Meditation For Anxiety & Stress, Beginning Meditation, Guided Imagery Visualization by Jason Stephenson
You’ve now graduated to a half-hour guided meditation for stress and anxiety session. Congratulations. You’re probably already feeling the benefits.
I chose Guided Meditation For Anxiety & Stress by Jason Stephenson because he has a big following on YouTube. With good reason.
Jason makes his own beats and practices binaural healing, which helps with the relaxation. Be sure to check out his page for other guided meditations for sleep and anxiety. You’ll be dreaming in no time!
Tips for Guided Meditation for Anxiety
I had trouble getting into guided meditation for anxiety and panic. However, I stuck with it, and I am glad that I did. It’s been a game-changer for my headspace, and I’m sure it can be for yours, too. Here are some tips to help with that transition.
Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
Anxious people take life too seriously. Guided meditation is designed to break those walls down. Don’t worry about doing it right.
Just be in the moment. Listen to your guide and follow their instructions. Stop overthinking this!
Work on Deep Breathing
Breath is key to a successful guided meditation for anxiety. It creates a rhythmic flow of energy that causes your relaxed state.
Active breathing is also responsible for the activation of the regions in the brain associated with emotions and thoughts. Also, deep breathing stimulates your vagus nerve, which helps improve your anxiety.
I opted for guided meditations because I needed help meditating in the first place. However, I needed something to get me in the right mindset to do a guided meditation. I found that assistance with Tranquility Lab’s Tranquilene.
Tranquilene is fortified with all-natural ingredients that help curb anxiety. It has all-natural botanicals, like ashwagandha, Brahmi, and passionflower. These herbs are known to lower stress and improve focus so that you can stop overthinking your meditation and concentrate on visualization.
It’s also enriched with B-Vitamins. These essential vitamins are crucial for making connections in the brain. Their presence in the Tranquilene formula really helped me see the visuals my guide was trying to have me focus on.
- Guided meditation for anxiety activates regions of the brain associated with emotions and thoughts.
- A guided mindfulness meditation for anxiety is perfect for beginners to meditation.
- Work your way from a guided meditation for anxiety 5 minutes long to 30.
- Don’t overthink things, practice deep breathing, and use Tranquilene to improve your guided meditation for anxiety.