The best way to cut through the stress of the holidays and keep your mood up through January? Making meditation a part of your daily routine. Research has shown that just 10 minutes of mindfulness practice such as meditation each day can alter our brain. This is because mindfulness decreases activity in the parts of the brain responsible for our fight-or-flight response.
So, if anxiety tends to find you around this time of year, making meditation a regular habit could be a game-changer. And meditation paired with the right strain of cannabis can help you unwind even more so.
Cannabis has also proven effective when it comes to reducing stress on both a physical and emotional level. Research shows that when people medicate with cannabis, their subjective experience of stress as well as the biological symptoms of anxiety, like raised cortisol levels, decrease. Integrating both meditation and cannabis into a daily ritual can help keep you feeling mentally and physically well.
If you’re new to meditation, or could use some guidance in your practice, listening to a guided audio meditation can be incredibly helpful. Here are five free resources online to pair with the relaxing marijuana strain of your choice.
1. Tara Brach’s Beyond the Veil of Thinking
Tara Brach is a psychologist, a Western teacher of Buddhism, and the founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. Her work, which combines mindful attention to our inner life and compassionate engagement with the outer world, is suitable for both meditation newbies and advanced practitioners.
Check out the extensive library of free meditations on her website for audio files divided into:
- Basic meditations
- Heart meditations
- Open awareness meditations
Of particular note is Tara’s Beyond the Veil of Thinking, a 21-minute guided meditation all about being wakeful in between thoughts. It’s a great way to turn inward and start the new year off on the right foot.
2. Sonia Choquette’s Gentle Release Guided Meditation
When you want to escape the daily grind and feel far, far away from it all, let Sonia Choquette’s soothing voice allow you to drift into another space and time.
Sonia is an intuitive teacher and storyteller who believes that “we are divine beings endowed with six senses to guide us through life.” Her guided meditations available on Hay House’s Youtube channel range from lengthy, sensory guided visualizations to brief spoken reflections that can connect you to your intuition.
This 19-minute guided meditation is all about calm and peace, a perfect antidote to the sometimes-stressful holiday season.
3. Lina Grace’s Guided Meditation for a Deep Sleep
There’s no healer quite like a good night’s rest. If you struggle with insomnia or restless nights, Lina Grace’s Youtube channel has a variety of hypnosis, guided meditation and affirmation videos that can help you de-stress, get a better sleep and affirm a better inner dialogue.
If you like the idea of adding a guided meditation to your pre-bedtime ritual, head over to Lina’s Youtube channel, and put together a playlist.
But if you’re currently struggling with insomnia, try out Lina’s beach vacation guided meditation for sleep. Her calm, soothing voice will guide you through a 48-minute beach scene complete with tropical fish and other ocean scenery to lull you into a deep sleep.
4. Michael Sealy’s Guided Meditation for Detachment From Over-Thinking
Over-thinkers, this one’s for you. Michael Sealy’s guided meditations have a deeply calming effect that will stop an overactive mind in its tracks.
As part of a ritual to unwind from work for the evening, or even as a way to start the day with a clear head, this 42-minute meditation and the others on his channel will help you find more space in your mind.
5. Linda Hall’s Extended Body Scan Meditation
A simple guided body scan is a fantastic daily practice for a new or seasoned meditation practitioner. Allow your mind to catch up with itself after a hectic day or a period of heightened stress.
Linda Hall is a meditation coach and teacher whose approach to meditation combines mind-body awareness and psychology with spirituality and doesn’t align with any specific belief system. Use her resources to get back into your body and feel centered again. Start with this 41-minute body scan to check in with yourself, thereby promoting feelings of relaxation and positive thoughts.
Photo credit: Simon Rae