If you had told me what I’m about to share 5 years ago (possibly even 1 year ago), I probably would’ve said you were nuts. If there’s one thing I can say with certainty, it’s that people can change a lot as they get older and experience things, and I am no exception to that rule.
Okay, here it is: I meditate now.
I never thought I’d said those words. Just the phrase “meditate” always sounded so hokey to me.
It still has a slightly uncomfortable connotation to me, but I think that’s just because I thought it was all a bunch of nonsense for such a long time. And that’s actually pretty ironic, I know. The Eastern cultures that are known for practicing meditation are, at least in my opinion, much more spiritually advanced (and, generally, smarter) than, well, me.
I’m not trying to get all God-sy or anything, but when I started really learning about meditation/ spirituality, I realized that cultures who practice meditation really know what they’re talking about; meditation is a thing for a reason. Out of body experiences are real. And yes, there are other planes and dimensions.
I guess you could say I was raised a Catholic, though if I’m being honest, religion and spirituality were not a major part of my life.
And, if I’m being honest, they still really aren’t.
I’m not anti-God, I’m just not that religious.
But I don’t want to go off on a tangent here.
My intention today is to talk about meditation. I’m kind of addicted!
I had tried writing this post once before, and I wasn’t crazy about the way my draft came out. So here I am, starting over.
I don’t want to bore you with too many details, but one thing I should mention is that I have anxiety. (There, I said it!)
And, as you may have guessed, my anxious tendencies are what turned me on to meditation in the first place.
Like I said, I always used to think meditating was kind of silly. But when you have anxiety, you have to learn how to deal with it, or it can quickly get out of control.
I still don’t know what the cause is, but I am a world-class worrier. I worry like it’s a competitive sport.
Half of the things I worry about don’t even make sense (though, in my defense, sometimes my worrying helps me be careful and plan ahead effectively, so I can’t say it’s a totally useless “gift”).
All that said, I knew my anxiety was getting out of control and, being strongly against going on medication, I wanted to try some natural methods to calm down. I decided to take my mom’s advice (something I’m learning to do more often!) and I looked up some guided meditations on YouTube.
Total. Game changer.
My Favorite YouTube Channels And Videos With Guided Meditations
When I first started getting into meditating, I was working SUPER long days. (For those who don’t know, I run my own business.) I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to things that weren’t work-related, so I wanted to find some nice, quick videos.
Shorter Meditations To Do During The Day
The Anxiety Guy
The Guided Meditation For Positive Energy from The Anxiety Guy on YouTube was the first meditation I tried. (Side note: the woman’s voice in the video reminds me of Joey Lauren Adams—remember her?—every time I hear it).
I listened to this meditation in the middle of a workday when I was feeling so overwhelmed that I could tell my productivity was starting to suffer.
I stopped what I was doing and put the video on. At the time, I didn’t even think to use headphones or shut the lights. I was feeling burnt out and just knew I needed some way to relax.
I made an effort to stop thinking about work and just focus on the voice in the video. I did as she instructed, slowed down my breathing, and pictured the imagery that she described.
Without even realizing it, I went into a trance and completely zoned out. At the end of the video, I came to again.
The entire experience felt AMAZING.
And while I was still left with stress afterwards, I was feeling much calmer, and able to work on a plan to tackle all the tasks that had been overwhelming me. I can’t say for sure that that would’ve happened had I not taken the time to meditate.
Longer Meditations I Listen To At Night
One of the meditations I listen to regularly is the Sleep Meditation from Jason Stephenson’s channel.
I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, so sometimes I have trouble falling asleep. Jason Stephenson’s Sleep Meditation usually helps me to calm down, relax, and drift off to sleep. I’d say most of the time that I listen to this, I fall asleep within 30-45 minutes (which is actually pretty good for me).
I’ve listened to some other videos from this channel but my watch history on YouTube is turned off and I can’t quite remember the other titles. What I can say for certain, though, is that I find the voiceovers soothing and the music in the background is just loud enough to help me relax and go into a trance.
This channel name is kind of funny; I hadn’t noticed it until I sat down to write this post. (I started a YouTube playlist with some of my favorite meditations, so that’s where I find all my favorites when I’m ready to listen.)
I mentioned a bit about out of body experiences before. This might sound kind of strange, but I’m sort of obsessed with them. And astral projecting, and lucid dreaming.
It’s funny because I didn’t know about these things until a few years ago.
I actually used to experience lucid dreaming on a fairly regular basis in my teens. I sort of “trained myself” to recognize when I was dreaming so that I could control the situation more. At the time, I didn’t know how powerful it is to be able to do that. So I didn’t really nurture that “skill,” and, lo and behold, I can’t do it anymore.
At least, not yet.
Since I’ve started this little meditation journey, though, I’ve found YouTube meditation videos for out of body experiences and astral projecting/ lucid dreaming.
I think a full-on OBE (out of body experience) requires a bit more familiarity with meditation than I currently possess, so I’m slowly working my way up to that.
In the meantime, though, I enjoy listening to Meditation Vacation’s video called guided meditation lucid dreaming. It’s too soon to say if it’s actually helped me start lucid dreaming again; I think most of the nights that I listen to this are followed by mornings where I can’t remember my dreams. What I can say, though, is this video helps me drift off and relax, so that’s a win in my book!
PowerThoughts Meditation Club
I found this channel when I was searching specifically for guided meditations to help with my anxiety, though the truth is, all of these channels have helped me combat my excessive worrying and fears.
One video in particular that I like to listen to from this channel is called LET GO of Anxiety, Fear & Worries. I only just realized it’s a fairly short video; under 23 minutes long. I don’t think there’s been a single time I listened to this one and didn’t drift off to sleep.
Like Jason Stephenson, this narrator has quite a soothing voice, and his tone, combined with the calming background music, help me quickly unwind and go into a trance.
That said, I’ll admit that there are parts of this meditation I find a bit silly; you’ll know what I mean if you listen to it.
But overall, I try not to be judgmental when I’m meditating. Instead, I focus on clearing my mind and just being calm, and so far that’s helped me overcome a great deal of anxiety just in the last couple of months.
Here’s another channel I found on my search for lucid dreaming videos.
Of all of the narrators I mentioned so far, Michael Sealey’s voice might just be my favorite. Just listening to the first 30 seconds of his Sleep Hypnosis for Lucid Dreaming Travels video already makes my shoulders feel less tense and my eyelids feel heavy. This is another great example of a video that helps me fall asleep quickly.
How Meditation Has Helped My Anxiety
As I mentioned, some of the videos and channels I mentioned above aren’t specifically geared towards people with anxiety, but I think just getting into the habit of clearing your mind and calming down makes a huge difference if you do suffer from some degree of anxiety.
Since I’ve started listening to meditation videos, I feel more optimistic, more confident in myself, and a little less overwhelmed (despite having a semi-new business!).
Like anything else, meditation is a skill that takes time to develop and the results will only improve as I continue making time for it.
I still have some days where I feel anxious, but honestly, I think most of us do; anxiety, to some degree, is just a part of life.
Overall, I think I’ve found a really great solution that’s already working wonders for me.
If you deal with a lot of anxiety yourself, I definitely recommend giving meditation a try. (And if you feel funny about it or don’t want anyone to know, just turn off your YouTube watch history and listen with headphones at night like I do!)
One More Thing Before You Go
If you’re also new to meditation, make sure you have a good pair of headphones!
I mentioned before that when I started, I was just using my computer speakers; that may work if you’ve got the privacy and just want to listen to something soothing, but if you really want to get the most out of meditating, you need to be able to block out noise.
I recently bought a pair of BlueAnt Pump Zone over the ear headphones and they have made SUCH a huge difference in my ability to zone out and meditate at night.
Normally, I’m not one to splurge on audio equipment, so this was a pretty big purchase for me (I’m even thinking of sharing a more detailed review about these headphones sometime soon). Compared to some of the more popular brands, though, these headphones are actually kind of a steal, and they’re SO COMFORTABLE.
I ordered mine off of Amazon, and unfortunately, they aren’t available right now. If I see them for sale again, I’ll update this post with a link, because they’re that good.
One way or another, though, make sure you’ve got some comfortable headphones when you meditate!
Do you meditate already?
Comment below and tell me what your favorite meditation resources are! Whether it’s books, audiobooks, or YouTube channels, I’d love to know!