Meditate On This

How are you doing these days? Compared to this time last year, we’re feeling pretty darn good. No, the pandemic has not gone away. Yes, we’re still not anywhere near achieving herd immunity.

The difference between last year and this year is we’ve come a long way in understanding the coronavirus and how to keep ourselves safe. Plus, we now have several vaccines and - equally important - a plan for rolling them out.

Many of us, however, are still dealing with stress and anxiety. The stressors might have evolved, but the effects remain. One of the easiest and most common methods for dealing with everyday stress is meditation.

According to the 47 studies analyzed in JAMA Internal Medicine, a variety of mindfulness and meditation practices can help manage both anxiety and depression. There are nine common types of meditation practices, but we’ll focus on the most popular: mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness is defined as a process encouraging nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment. During mindfulness meditation, it’s ok to pay attention to your thoughts, but don’t judge or react to them. Just observe and let go.

Meditation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There is no shortage of meditation apps, YouTube videos, and Spotify playlists designed to help you learn to meditate or keep up a meditation practice. Let's take a look at a few!

Calm

Calm has guided sessions ranging from 3 - 25 minutes, with topics including gratitude, mindfulness, and anxiety relief. It also offers breathing visualization, nature sounds, and an array of ambient music. Don’t forget to check out Sleep Stories for soothing bedtime stories read by celebrities like LeVar Burton, Harry Styles (OMG!), and Matthew McConaughey.

Calm offers a seven-day free trial and an annual membership for around $70.

Headspace

Headspace is one of the most well-known meditation apps available. It offers the widest variety of programming, including guided meditations, sleep sounds, and meditations for kids. Headspace also offers SOS meditations for emergencies or the occasional random quiet moment, and their animations help you get started and better understand the practice.

Headspace offers a two-week free trial. An annual subscription costs $70, and a monthly membership is $12.99.

Free Resources

If you're not sure meditation is really for you, or you don't want to commit to spending money just yet, you can find a wide variety of free resources in several different formats. Here are a few of the best ones out there:

    🎧  Spotify: The Guided Meditation playlist has sessions in
          varying lengths, as well as 21-day courses on meditation,
          relaxation, and stress relief.
    😊  Smiling Mind: This not-for-profit app features hundreds of
          meditations, most of which are in the 5 - 15 minute
          range. It also includes specialized programs for families,
          children, teens, healthcare workers, and educators.
    🧘  Saatva: This app is great for anyone who wants to inject their
          a little spiritual practice into their meditation. The short
          guided meditations include Vedic principles and feature
          sacred sounds, chants, and mantras.
    👩‍💻  YouTube: The sheer number of meditation videos on
          YouTube can be overwhelming if you don't know where to
          start. The health and wellness site, Goodful, has a
          meditation playlist with videos ranging from 5 - 15 minutes,
          and each focusing on different topics.

We Got Your Back

Whether you want to reduce stress or just find stillness, mindfulness meditation might be a great place to start. If you’re looking for a safe space to discuss mental health and share resources, check out the Visva Self Care Crew!

It is a judgement-free zone where you can share encouragement for body positivity, mental wellness, and just general love for yourself and others. We want our community feel supported and respected - and maybe we can work together to change the conversations around mental health.

Today, we'll leave you with a throwback to our Chill Vibes playlist filled with songs to soothe your soul.

Have a great weekend!