How To Do Guided Meditation For Stress Relief

by Mary Lou | Last Updated: February 15, 2020 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Have you ever struggled with meditation? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Whenever I try to put myself in a meditative state, I end up getting lost in my worries or planning what to cook for dinner. It seems that the more stressed and anxious I am, the harder it is to empty my mind.

What’s helped me a lot is guided meditation. It’s helped to anchor my wandering wayward thoughts.

Finding Your Guide

guided meditation stress

The best guide is probably someone who can be there in the room with you. But there are several free online ways you can do guided meditation for stress and anxiety at home, solo.

1. Use YouTube Videos

YouTube has a host of great videos for beginners and experienced people in the field of meditation. They can guide you step by step through the meditation process, and you can get them in varying lengths ranging from a few minutes to a few hours.

Start yourself off with short guides like this 10 minute video. You can go on to longer sessions once your focus and concentration improves.

Let Go & Relax 10 Min Guided Meditation

Here is another short meditation video that may help bring more calm, mindfulness, and awareness to your day.

A Powerful 10 Minute Guided Meditation

I personally started with YouTube apps because as a beginner, I had a hard time calming my rampant thoughts. The calm and rather detached voice helped guide me through the experience until I got the hang of it.

2. Use Free Apps

At some point, YouTube videos weren’t enough for me and I started exploring for more tools to help me meditate. That’s when I discovered some great mobile phone apps.

Apps are a great way to meditate because you can take them anywhere you take your phone. The apps I chose for you range from a few minutes to a few hours, single and multi-day sessions, and they’re all completely free to use. They’re for both beginners and veterans.

I personally love Calm a lot. Sometimes, I don’t even start any session but just open the app so I can listen to the sounds of running water and bird calls.

3. Do It On Your Own

At some point, you’ll realize that you’re ready to do it on your own without any video or app. All you’ll need is a quiet space and a few moments to yourself.

The Guided Meditation Process

Here is a simple guide to follow if you are doing guided meditation on your own.

Step 1: Define Your Intention

Your intentions will directly define what is possible for you to achieve during your meditation session. It’ll also influence what benefits you take away and apply to your daily life. This intention will serve as an anchor to ground and guide you through the meditation process. Keep it simple.

Maybe you want to be more relaxed or more productive at work. Perhaps you want to show more compassion. Pick one and stick to it.

Step 2: Relax Your Body Stage by Stage

Start by trying to relax your body and let go of your stresses. Pay attention to your brows, chest, shoulders, neck, and abdomen. Consciously relax these areas one at a time while you inhale and exhale. Each time you exhale, let go and relax a little more. You can also start from your scalp and slowly move to your toes.

Step 3: Explore Your Senses

Start by sensing your body as a whole and slowly zero in on each of your senses individually. This can help ground you. Think about what you’re hearing, how the chair or floor feels below you, and whether or not you’re sensing vibrations, pulses, or your heartbeat.

Step 4: Investigate Your Feelings

This part of meditation is called noting. Let your mind wander and take note of where it goes. Are there are experiences that stick out? Maybe something is unpleasant or painful. This helps you discover your deeper beliefs, fears, emotions, and plans that you may not be aware of.

Step 5: Keep Circling Back to Your Body

Recognize that your thoughts are just thoughts and not the truth or reality. Try not to react to these thoughts because emotion makes them stronger. The entire point of meditating is learning that you don’t need to believe or act on every thought you have. You can learn to respond without reacting to whatever goes on around you.

Meditation vs Guided Meditation

Meditation is a natural practice of aligning body,  mind and spirit. You accomplish this by going deep within yourself to access your power of belief to help you achieve what you desire most.

You use concentrated focus on an object, sound, movement, the breath, visualization, or on attention itself to reduce your stress levels, increase your awareness of the present, enhance personal growth, enhance spiritual growth, and promote relaxation. (1)

guided meditation

Guided meditation is taking everything you do in regular meditation and doing it with a group of people in response to a trained teacher or practitioner. You can do guided meditation in person, over a sound recording, written text, audiovisual media using verbal instructions and music, video, sound, or a combination of both.

This guide will move you through the motions of traditional meditation to help reduce your stress levels and relax. This session can last anywhere from five minutes up to one hour. Generally, many guides suggest going at least 15 minutes or more to help you achieve those deep levels of relaxation that are common with this practice. (2)

7 Science-Backed Meditation Benefits

meditation benefits

Both normal meditation and guided meditation come with a host of exclusive benefits for both your physical and mental health. They include but are not limited to:

1. Reduces Stress

When you get stressed, your body releases cortisol. This stress hormone can cause inflammation. Several studies have showcased that meditation can reduce your body’s inflammatory response and reduce your overall stress levels. You’ll stop producing so much excess cortisol, and you’ll be able to relax. (3)(4)(5)

2. Promotes Emotional Health

Everyday stressors can wreak havoc on your emotional health and cause depression and anxiety. Meditation is a way to naturally promote emotional health because it helps you learn how to deal with everyday stress. Additionally, it also reduces cytokines, and these inflammatory markers can negatively impact your mood. (6)(7)(8)

3. Lengthens Your Attention Span

Meditation forces you to focus on one or two things for extended periods. It helps to increase your attention’s strength and endurance, and this helps you focus. Several studies showed that as few as four days of meditation could have positive results on your attention span. (9)(10)(11)

4. Improves Sleep Quality

Since meditation helps to relax your body and help you control your runaway thoughts, it can help you sleep. A study took people and split them into two groups. One group meditated, and the other didn’t. They found that the group that meditated fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer. (12)

5. Helps Control Pain Levels

Your pain perception is directly connected to your state of mind. When you’re stressed, your pain perception elevates. Meditation can stimulate the parts of your brain that control your pain perception. In turn, this can reduce your sensitivity levels to pain as a whole. (13)(14)(15)

6. Enhances Self Awareness

Meditation can help you develop a much greater awareness of yourself in relation to the world you live in. It can help you recognize any thoughts that may be self-deprecating or harmful. Once you learn how to identify them, you can start improving them to live your best life. (16)(17)(18)

7. Decreases Blood Pressure

Meditation can help to lower your blood pressure and take the strain off of your cardiovascular system. It helps to relax the nerve functions that coordinate the tension levels in your blood vessels, heart function, and stress hormone production. In turn, your blood pressure decreases. (19)(20)(21)

Final Thoughts

Guided meditation for stress is a natural way to improve both your physical and mental health. It’s so easy to think how busy we are and skip meditation in the morning. However, just a few minutes can bring amazing results to your day. Now that’s what we call a worthwhile investment.


  1. Meditation Definition;
  2. Guided Meditation; Good
  3. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., … & Ranasinghe, P. D. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine174(3), 357-368.
  4. Rosenkranz, M. A., Davidson, R. J., MacCoon, D. G., Sheridan, J. F., Kalin, N. H., & Lutz, A. (2013). A comparison of mindfulness-based stress reduction and an active control in modulation of neurogenic inflammation. Brain, behavior, and immunity27, 174-184.
  5. Orme-Johnson, D. W., & Barnes, V. A. (2014). Effects of the transcendental meditation technique on trait anxiety: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine20(5), 330-341.
  6. Miller, J. J., Fletcher, K., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (1995). Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. General hospital psychiatry17(3), 192-200.
  7. Kasala, E. R., Bodduluru, L. N., Maneti, Y., & Thipparaboina, R. (2014). Effect of meditation on neurophysiological changes in stress mediated depression. Complementary therapies in clinical practice20(1), 74-80.
  8. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., … & Ranasinghe, P. D. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine174(3), 357-368.
  9. Jha, A. P., Krompinger, J., & Baime, M. J. (2007). Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience7(2), 109-119.
  10. Levy, D. M., Wobbrock, J. O., Kaszniak, A. W., & Ostergren, M. (2011). Initial results from a study of the effects of meditation on multitasking performance. In CHI’11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2011-2016).
  11. Zeidan, F., Johnson, S. K., Diamond, B. J., David, Z., & Goolkasian, P. (2010). Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and cognition19(2), 597-605.
  12. Martires, J., & Zeidler, M. (2015). The value of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of insomnia. Current opinion in pulmonary medicine21(6), 547-552.
  13. Zeidan, F., Martucci, K. T., Kraft, R. A., Gordon, N. S., McHaffie, J. G., & Coghill, R. C. (2011). Brain mechanisms supporting the modulation of pain by mindfulness meditation. Journal of Neuroscience31(14), 5540-5548.
  14. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., … & Ranasinghe, P. D. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine174(3), 357-368.
  15. Ball, M. S., & Vernon, B. (2015). A review on how meditation could be used to comfort the terminally ill. Palliative & supportive care13(5), 1469-1472.
  16. Dahl, C. J., Lutz, A., & Davidson, R. J. (2015). Reconstructing and deconstructing the self: cognitive mechanisms in meditation practice. Trends in cognitive sciences19(9), 515-523.
  17. Singh, Y., Goel, A., Kathrotia, R., & Patil, P. M. (2014). Role of yoga and meditation in the context of dysfunctional self: a hypothetico-integrative approach. Advances in mind-body medicine28(3), 22-25.
  18. Mustian, K. M., Katula, J. A., Gill, D. L., Roscoe, J. A., Lang, D., & Murphy, K. (2004). Tai Chi Chuan, health-related quality of life and self-esteem: a randomized trial with breast cancer survivors. Supportive Care in Cancer12(12), 871-876.
  19. Bai, Z., Chang, J., Chen, C., Li, P., Yang, K., & Chi, I. (2015). Investigating the effect of transcendental meditation on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of human hypertension29(11), 653-662.
  20. Koike, M. K., & Cardoso, R. (2014). Meditation can produce beneficial effects to prevent cardiovascular disease. Hormone molecular biology and clinical investigation18(3), 137-143.
  21. Olex, S., Newberg, A., & Figueredo, V. M. (2013). Meditation: should a cardiologist care?. International journal of cardiology168(3), 1805-1810.

Author: Mary Lou
In the Before Times, Maru spent vacations traveling and making stops at showrooms to test the latest massage chair models. Nowadays, she’s hunkered down in her small sunlit home dotted with her ever-growing collection of fiddle fig trees, indoor plants, and Himalayan salt lamps. Find her at LinkedIn.