You don’t need to be an experienced (or even a regular) meditator in order to reap the benefits of a well-timed guided meditation. It’s just a matter of finding the right one for the occasion. Guided meditations are a great way for new meditators to get acquainted with the practice, but they can also act as an invaluable mental health tool. The below list of video and audio guides are especially effective at helping to address difficult emotions in the moment, or to aid you in exploring your own psyche.
The meditations on this list are all free, no app required. It’s meant to be an easy resource to get exactly what you need depending on your emotional state or current situation. I’ve broken the list down into 3 sections: SOS meditations, practical meditations, and self growth meditations.
As you explore these and other guided meditations, you’ll undoubtedly begin to discover your own favorites. I highly suggest making a your own list of links for easy access.
The best guided meditations for any mood or situation
Daily Practical Meditations
These meditations are solid functional guides to help you integrate mindfulness into your everyday life.
For when you need to de-stress | Sara Anderson
This meditation walks us through releasing any thoughts or worries from the day and guides us into the present moment. It’s a great one to use after work or any time you need some help transitioning between activities.
For taking a walk | Headspace
Mindful walk (4:01)
This is a short meditation to guide you through a mindful walk. The meditation encourages you to be mindful of your surroundings as you move through the world. Use this one when you have just a short break and feel like a change of scenery.
For your kids | Headspace
It’s never to early to start teaching your kids mindfulness. Headspace provides this cute and short Sesame Street themed introduction to meditation.
For Sleep | Deepak Chopra
Sleep meditations really deserve their own list – there are so many good ones out there. This meditation guides you through mindful relaxation to help you drift off into a peaceful night’s sleep. I like that it’s long, because it gives you a chance to fall asleep before it’s finished.
Tip: Go into your settings and turn off the “autoplay the next video” feature, so that your sleep isn’t interrupted by the next video.
For Mindful eating | Headspace
Most of us eat our meals on auto-pilot. This state of disconnect leads us to eat faster, in higher volume, or less healthily than we would like to. Taking a pause before your meal, is a powerful tool to bring awareness to how you are feeding your body. It also can be a way to better get to know your relationship with food.
Morning meditation | Deepak Chopra
Mornings are one of the best times to meditate. By starting our day with a short meditation, we are able to bring out and release any lingering thoughts or worries, and start our day with a clean calm slate.
Meditations for self growth
These meditations are an excellent way to get to know yourself better and practice self-care.
For inner wisdom (visualization) | Jack Kornfield
For inner wisdom (visualization) | Jack Kornfield
Temple of healing(19:37)
This is by far my favorite guided meditation right now. Visualizations don’t work for everyone, so if you find that it’s not doing anything for you, don’t worry. Just let it go. For those of you who do like visualizations, this one really takes us on a journey. Mindful states in meditation are a powerful tool that help you discover stuck areas in your life, by tapping into your subconscious. Whenever I do this meditation, I always get some interesting insights.
For self-love | Adriene Mischler
Meditation for self love (12:54)
Adriene Mischler (known as Yoga With Adriene on YouTube) is an incredibly soothing meditation guide. In this meditation she gently helps us to cultivate our own sense of self-love.
For self-compassion | Holistic Psychologist
Inner child meditation (visualization)(10:04)
Inner child/reparenting work is an impactful way to heal our trauma. If you are new to this sort of work (or even if you are experienced) this meditation offers a gentle way to foster connection and compassion with the young you.
For perspective | Tara Brach
Calling on your future self (visualization)(12:10)
This meditation guides us to visit our future (or higher) selves. Envisioning the future you, is a helpful way to gain perspective and give your current situation some space. It’s a great exercise to do when you feel a little lost or like you could use some guidance.
For inner peace | Tara Brach
A calm refuge(26:50)
This slow and indulgent meditation brings us through a body scan and guides us to stay centered as we settle into a longer meditation.
We all need a little help sometimes. Use these meditations when you are experiencing a difficult emotion.
For difficult emotions | Tara Brach
This meditation is amazing! So good for cultivating compassion. RAIN is a mindfulness practice designed to help us address uncomfortable or even painful emotions. The acronym stands for: Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, Non-Identification. The meditation guides us through each of these steps and is a great resource for when we are feeling stuck in an uncomfortable place, emotionally.
For anger | Tara Brach
Meeting anger with awareness(15:16)
This meditation also uses the RAIN (Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, Non-Identification) technique but with a specific focus on anger. It’s really powerful for uncovering some of the deeper feelings that reside underneath our anger and bringing in a sense of self-compassion.
For anxiety | Adriene Mischler
Meditation for anxiety(14:13)
This is another solid meditation from Adriene, of Yoga with Adriene. If you are feeling anxious, take a moment to sit with this meditation. You’ll be amazed what 15 minutes can do.
For weight/burden (visualization) | Chel Hamilton
This visualization meditation is perfect for releasing a sense of heaviness. Whether it’s from responsibility, worry, or something else, this meditation guides us to shed the weight and emerge refreshed.
For worry (visualization) | Chel Hamilton
Buffalow in the storm (6:26)
This is a unique visualization exercise that takes us through the experience of weathering a storm. It’s a very centering and calming meditation and a good choice for any time we might be feeling worry, fear, or anxious anticipation of future events.
Meditation can be daunting, especially if you are new to the practice, or returning after some time off. There are many different approaches, apps to use, and opinions on what’s “right”. Don’t buy into the pressure of having to incorporate meditation into your life in any particular way. Just like anything else, it’s important to explore and find out what works best for you.
These are just a handful of the many great guided meditations that are available online. I specifically chose ones that don’t require any downloads for this list, but there are many more free (and paid) meditations on apps like Calm, Headspace, or Waking Up App. If you do decide that you want to start a regular practice, these apps can be particularly helpful in making the new habit stick.
The incredible thing about meditation is that there is no threshold for you to cross before you realize the benefits. Even if you have never meditated before, you can sit down with any of these guided practices right now, and finish feeling a bit better.