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3 Simple Guided Meditation Scripts for Improving Wellbeing

Guided meditation scriptsGuided meditation is a great starting point for those new to meditation and a great way to refresh your practice if you are a seasoned meditator facing inner obstacles to meditation.

Even the most experienced meditators experience obstacles, such as excessive internal chatter, dozing off, or restlessness, on occasion. All meditators benefit from fresh guidance now and then.

This article describes the differences between guided and silent meditation, introduces three types of guided meditation scripts, and offers tips on how to offer guided meditation online.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Mindfulness Exercises for free. These science-based, comprehensive exercises will help you cultivate a sense of inner peace throughout your daily life and give you the tools to enhance the mindfulness of your clients, students, or employees.

What Is Guided Meditation?

Guided meditation involves a relationship between a teacher, who guides the meditation using oral instructions, and the student, who is listening to learn meditation (Suzuki, 1970).

Typically, guided meditation is necessary for beginners, but seasoned meditators may also benefit from refreshing their practice by relaxing into a guided session with a beginner’s mind (Suzuki, 1970).

Guided meditation vs silent meditation

Guided meditation can be very useful for keeping meditators on track during meditation.

Guided meditations can include oral instructions about meditation posture, attention to the breath, body scanning techniques, and guided imagery or visualization. They can also include reciting mantras, expressing aspirations aloud, or chanting. They may include specific types of movements or activities conducted in a meditative way.

Meanwhile, silent meditation is generally recommended for seasoned meditators who have internalized previous meditation instructions and can now practice the techniques above without guidance.

Silent meditation can be practiced in groups and alone; guided meditation is always offered in the context of a relationship, even if that relationship is with an app or online audio or video.

How Can Guided Meditation Help Your Clients?

Guided MeditationGuided meditation can be a valuable adjunct to therapy and counseling by providing a client with a sense of containment between sessions.

Mindfulness meditation has positive effects on health and wellbeing in several areas, including stress management (Davis & Hayes, 2012) and preventing relapse in those with depression and anxiety (Keng et al., 2011).

Other guided meditations such as loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and self-compassion meditation are effective methods of emotional regulation (Feliu-Soler et al., 2017) that can also enhance prosocial feelings (Bankard, 2015) and improve a sense of connectedness (Fredrickson et al., 2008).

LKM is effective at countering harsh inner criticism (Shahar et al., 2015) and high expectations of others (Feliu-Soler et al., 2017). It is also effective for those experiencing PTSD symptoms (Kearney et al., 2013) and loss of meaningful connection, such as the bereaved and those recovering from addictions (Graser & Stangier, 2018; Hofmann et al., 2011).

Guided kindness-based meditations in general, including loving-kindness and compassion meditation, enhance empathy, perspective taking, and self–other discrimination (Mascaro et al., 2015). These skills are crucial for maintaining and developing relationships of all kinds.

How can meditation ease anxiety?

Guided mindfulness meditation can alleviate mild-to-moderate anxiety in people with generalized anxiety disorder (Hoge et al., 2013), is a useful intervention in anxiety in adolescents (Blum et al., 2019), and can ease anxiety symptoms associated with depression (Edenfield & Saeed, 2012; Hofmann et al., 2010; Takahashi et al., 2019).

It can also alleviate the anxiety caused by stress (Corliss, 2014; Goyal et al., 2014; Ratanasiripong et al., 2015; Zeidan et al., 2014).

Below is a short 10-minute mindfulness meditation for anxiety that you can offer your clients. Additional short scripts are offered in the script section.

Other forms of guided meditation can soothe anxiety and provide a sense of containment by using mantras, visualization, and sound (Chen et al., 2012). For example, transcendental meditation (TM) uses Sanskrit mantra recitation, and a large body of research has documented TM’s success in alleviating mild-to-moderate anxiety (Orme-Johnson & Barnes, 2014).

Below is a 15-minute guided mantra-based meditation for anxiety by Deepak Chopra.

Can it induce relaxation and sleep?

Guided mindfulness meditation can help practitioners relax and alleviate insomnia and other sleeping disorders (Neuendorf et al., 2015; Ong et al., 2014; Rusch et al., 2019), especially in older people (Perini et al., 2021).

Try this guided mindfulness meditation for relaxation and sleep offered by Mindful Peace.

Is guided meditation helpful for kids?

A recent systematic review of research conducted on the effects of guided mindfulness and affect-based meditations found that both types of guided meditation benefited kids (Filipe et al., 2021).

Mindfulness meditation improved cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes, whereas affect-based guided meditations like LKM improved social–emotional skills, including kindness, self-care, and perspective taking. Neither type of guided meditation impacted children’s academic outcomes.

You can read more about mindfulness for kids in our related article. Try playing this New Horizons 10-minute guided mindfulness meditation to your kids to see the results.

5 Best Guided Meditation Scripts

To share the benefits of guided meditation with your clients, try one of these meditation scripts in the links below.

1. Mindfulness of breathing meditations

Mindfulness meditation has a vast evidence base demonstrating its health benefits according to a recent meta-analysis of 55 years of research (Baminiwatta & Solangaarachchi, 2021).

Breath Awareness

Download our short, guided six-step mindfulness of the breath meditation.

Three Steps to Deep Breathing

Download our Three Steps to Deep Breathing meditation script.

Yogic Breathing

Access our Yogic Breathing mindfulness meditation script here.

2. Loving-kindness meditation

Below is a short script devised to deliver loving-kindness meditation in person and online. We suggest taking a three-second pause between each line if you use it with a client in a session. For an idea of pacing, play this guided 10-minute LKM video by Declutter the Mind.

Posture instructions:

Before beginning the practice, please find a comfortable posture that will help keep your spine straight, either seated or lying down, wherever is comfortable.

Next, notice where you place your hands. If seated, support them in your lap or by placing them gently palms down on your knees. If lying down, place them by your side in the yoga corpse pose.

Now, breathe naturally as we shall begin the meditation.

[bell/gong]

Practice script:

Imagine a dearly loved person sitting opposite you and that a white light connects you heart to heart. Connect with the feelings of affection and warmth you have for them.

Enjoy the feelings as they fill your body.

Next, slowly focus on the phrase, ‘May I be well, happy, and peaceful,’ feeling the warmth of loving-kindness filling your body…

And send these feelings to your friend. ‘May you be well, happy, and peaceful…’

Breathing naturally… As the light connects you, heart to heart.

‘May I be well, happy and peaceful…’

‘May you be well, happy, and peaceful…’

Feel yourselves bathed in the warmth and light of loving-kindness… while repeating these phrases, silently… (mentally recite for two minutes).

Remember to breathe naturally, as the white light connects you both, heart to heart, and continue. ‘May I be well, happy, and peaceful… May you be well, happy, and peaceful…’

Next, remembering to breathe naturally, imagine the white light between you becoming a circle of light around you both.

The light is bathing you in the warmth and peace of loving-kindness that you radiate out to your surroundings…

Including all beings, from the smallest insect to the largest animal… and out into the universe.

See yourself and your friend radiating the light of loving-kindness out into infinity… ‘May we be well, happy, and peaceful. May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful…’

Breathing naturally, repeat these phrases, silently. ‘May we be well, happy. and peaceful… May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful…’ (mentally recite this for two minutes).

Now, enjoy the feelings of warmth and expansion in your body… Recognize the feelings that flow from your heart out into the universe… and the universal friendliness reflected in your own heart…

‘May we be well, happy, and peaceful. May all beings be well, happy, and peaceful…’ (mentally recite this for one minute).

As you continue to bathe in the warmth of loving-kindness… turn your attention to your body and notice your feelings and sensations… Notice ‘what’ is observing your body… and recognize that awareness… a peaceful, still part of you, that witnesses everything, without judgment…

Breathe naturally…

And slowly open your eyes.

3. Compassion meditation

This is a script devised for in-person and online delivery, starting with the same posture guidelines as the above LKM. In addition, it uses the same template based on the four Buddhist Brahma Viharas, which consist of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity.

For an idea of how to pace this guided meditation, watch this 10-minute Growing Compassion Meditation by Dr. Elisha Goldstein.

Posture instructions:

Before beginning the practice, please find a comfortable posture that will help keep your spine straight, either seated or lying down, wherever is comfortable.

Next, notice where you place your hands. If seated, support them in your lap or by placing them gently palms down on your knees. If lying down, place them by your side in the yoga corpse pose.

Now, breathe naturally as we shall begin the meditation.

[bell/gong]

Practice script:

Breathing naturally… Imagine a dear friend or loved one you know to be suffering right now, perhaps a sick family member or a friend with problems, and imagine a light at your heart that connects with the heart of your friend.

Breathing naturally, as the white light connects you, heart to heart, send compassion to them, saying, ‘May you be free of suffering and its causes…’

Feel yourselves bathed in the gentle light of compassion… while repeating these phrases, silently…

‘May I be free of suffering and its causes. May you be free of suffering and its causes…’ (recite mentally for two minutes)

Remember to breathe naturally, as the white light connects you both, heart to heart, and continue.

‘May I be free of suffering and its causes. May you be free of suffering and its causes…’

Next, remembering to breathe naturally, see the white light connecting your hearts becoming a circle of light around you both.

The light is bathing you in the gentle light of compassion that you radiate out to your surroundings…

See yourself and your friend radiating the light of compassion out into infinity… ‘May we be free of suffering and its causes. May all beings be free of suffering and its causes…’

Breathing naturally, repeat these phrases, silently. ‘May we be free of suffering and its causes. May all beings be free of suffering and its causes…’ (mentally recite this for two minutes).

Now, enjoy the soft gentle glow in your body… See compassion flowing from your heart out into the universe… and compassion reflected in your own heart…

‘May we be free of suffering and its causes. May all beings be free of suffering and its causes…’ (recite mentally for one minute).

As you continue to bathe in the soft glow of compassion… turn your attention to your body and notice your feelings and sensations… Notice the part of you that is observing your body… and recognize that awareness… a peaceful, still part of you, that witnesses everything, without judgment…

Breathe naturally…

And slowly open your eyes.

How-To Guide for Beginners: 5 Ideas

Meditation PosturesGuiding others in meditation can feel daunting at first, but it is just like taking a client through any other exercise. Here are five tips for guiding:

  1. Familiarize yourself with meditation postures (Shah, 2020), typically lying down or sitting. It is important to keep the spine straight, the hands supported, and the body relaxed.
  2. Ensure you know the practice yourself well before guiding others. Your degree of familiarity with the practice will be conveyed by the quiet confidence of your guidance.
  3. Pace your guidance properly. Ensure your delivery gives your client enough time to digest and practice your instructions as they unfold without too much repetition or silence, as both can lead to drowsiness or restlessness depending on a client’s temperament. Open and close your meditation session after checking posture with a soft bell or gong.
  4. Keep your tone of voice calm and measured. Some people are naturally endowed with a soothing voice, others can practice by recording themselves first.
  5. Consider recording your guided meditation and practicing with your client together. This will give you more control initially and help you build confidence to guide your clients in person in the future. You can also share your client’s experience more directly if you practice together.

A Look at Loving-Kindness Meditation

LKM has roots in the ancient Buddhist practice of the Brahma Viharas (Frondsal, n.d.), also called the four immeasurables. Loving-kindness is the English translation of the Pali term metta, the first of the four practices.

The Buddha is said to have taught metta to the monks who were afraid of sprites (malevolent spirits) when meditating in the forest (Trafford, 2020). Their fear undermined their ability to concentrate and practice.

The Buddha taught that the cultivation of metta attracted the outward protection of the devas, or benevolent divinities (Access to Insight, 2013), who repel negative spirits that disturb and distract the mind, protecting an inward practice.

LKM has since developed into a popular guided meditation practice and become the subject of a growing body of scientific research. Some findings have supported the Buddha’s original claims about the power of metta to positively transform a meditator’s perceptions of reality (Vieten et al., 2018).

For further information on recent research and clinical applications, take a look at our dedicated Loving-Kindness Meditation article.

5 Telehealth Tips for Meditation Through Zoom

Zoom meditationHere are five telehealth tips when guiding meditation via teleconference, paying special attention to the importance of modeling when guiding meditation.

  1. Ensure you can be fully viewed guiding and modeling a suitable meditation posture, rather than head and shoulders only. Try out the best position using your web camera or phone and the recording facility beforehand.
  2. Ensure your surroundings are calm, well lit, and free of visual distractions. Wear appropriate clothing for meditation and yoga practice that is loose, roomy, and plain to prevent distractions.
  3. Wear a Bluetooth wireless microphone clipped to your collar so that you can move freely without losing audio contact. Always ensure that you can be seen and heard properly before you begin.
  4. After checking on posture, begin and end your guided meditation using a traditional bell or gong.
  5. Ask for feedback about your videoconference session for ideas on how to improve the experience.

Resources From PositivePsychology.com

Our site has many resources on mindfulness meditation based on the latest scientific research in the field, including this collection of 17 Mindfulness & Meditation Exercises for professionals.

Containing the highest rated tools taken from the Positive Psychology Toolkit©, the tools are rooted in science, drawn from the latest research and insights from the field of positive psychology, and include references, practical advice, and detailed descriptions of how to use them.

Interesting examples include the Cooking Mindfully exercise, which helps your clients develop mindfulness and savoring skills with cooking, eating, and beyond, as well as a selection of helpful audio scripts.

Another highly recommended resource is the Mindfulness X© bundle. It offers a complete eight-session training program in mindfulness-based interventions that include meditations and simple awareness exercises. It is the go-to tool if you are dedicated to improving the mindfulness of others.

A Take-Home Message

Guided meditations of all kinds are rooted in ancient contemplative practices of increasing interest to researchers in the fields of medicine, psychology, and neuroscience.

Guided meditation includes a range of approaches, such as mindfulness, affect-based meditations like LKM, and mantra-based meditation like TM.

Short, guided meditations can provide useful support to clients between therapy and counseling sessions by helping them to manage stress, anxiety, sleeping problems, and difficult emotions.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Mindfulness Exercises for free.

References

  • Access to Insight. (2013, November 2) Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s words on loving-kindness (Sn. 1.8). Translated from the Pali by The Amaravati Sangha. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.amar.html
  • Baminiwatta, A., & Solangaarachchi, I. (2021). Trends and developments in mindfulness research over 55 years: A bibliometric analysis of publications indexed in Web of Science. Mindfulness 12, 2099–2116.
  • Bankard, J. (2015). Training emotion cultivates morality: How loving-kindness meditation hones compassion and increases prosocial behavior. Journal of Religion and Health 54(6), 2324–2343.
  • Blum, H., Rutt, C., Nash, C., Joyce, V., & Buonopane, R. (2019). Mindfulness meditation and anxiety in adolescents on an inpatient psychiatric unit. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 27(2), 65–83.
  • Chen, K. W., Berger, C. C., Manheimer, E., Forde, D., Magidson, J., Dachman, L., & Lejuez, C. W. (2012). Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety, 29(7), 545–562.
  • Corliss, J. (2014, January 8). Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress. Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967
  • Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2012). What are the benefits of mindfulness? Monitor on Psychology, 43(7), 64.
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  • Frondsal, G. (n.d.). The four faces of love: The Brahma Viharas. Insight Meditation Center. Retrieved January 3, 2022, from https://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/the-four-faces-of-love-the-brahma-viharas/
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  • Kearney, D. J., Malte, C. A., McManus, C., Martinez, M. E., Felleman, B., & Simpson, T. L. (2013). Loving-kindness meditation for posttraumatic stress disorder: A pilot study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 426–434.
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  • Ong, J. C., Manber, R., Segal, Z., Xia, Y., Shapiro, S., & Wyatt, J. K. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for chronic insomnia, Sleep, 37(9), 1553–1563.
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  • Perini, F., Wong, K. F., Lin, J., Hassirim, Z., Ong, J. L., Lo, J., Ong, J. C., Doshi, K., & Lim, J. (2021). Mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia for older adults with sleep difficulties: A randomized clinical trial. Psychological Medicine, 1–11.
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  • Rusch, H. L., Rosario, M., Levison, L. M., Olivera, A., Livingston, W. S., Wu, T., & Gill, J. M. (2019). The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1445(1), 5–16.
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  • Shahar, B., Szepsenwol, O., Zilcha-Mano, S., Haim, N., Zamir, O., Levi-Yeshuvi, S., & Levit-Binnun, N. (2015). A wait-list randomized controlled trial of loving-kindness meditation programme for self-criticism. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 22, 346–356.
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  • Takahashi, T., Sugiyama, F., Kikai, T., Kawashima, I., Guan, S., Oguchi, M., Uchida, T., & Kumano, H. (2019). Changes in depression and anxiety through mindfulness group therapy in Japan: The role of mindfulness and self-compassion as possible mediators. BioPsychoSocial Medicine13, 4.
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  • Vieten, C., Wahbeh, H., Cahn, B. R., MacLean, K., Estrada, M., Mills, P., Murphy, M., Shapiro, S., Radin, D., Josipovic, Z., Presti, D. E., Sapiro, M., Bays, J. C., Russell, P., Vago, D., Travis, F., Walsh, R., & Delorme, A. (2018). Future directions in meditation research: Recommendations for expanding the field of contemplative science. PLoS One, 13(11), e0205740.
  • Zeidan, F., Martucci, K. T., Kraft, R. A., McHaffie, J. G., & Coghill, R. C. (2014). Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation-related anxiety relief. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(6), 751–759.

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  1. Jamie Perez-Galvan

    Jo this was such an inspirational post! Really helped me understand the importance of mediation. Thank you!

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