Guided meditation

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Guided meditation is a process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner or teacher,[1] either in person or via a written text, sound recording, video, or audiovisual media[2][3][4] comprising music or verbal instruction, or a combination of both.[5][6]

This process often leads to the participant engaging in visualization and generating mental imagery that may simulate or re-create the sensory perception[7] of sights,[8][9] sounds,[10] tastes,[11] smells,[12] movements,[13] and images associated with touch, such as texture, temperature, and pressure,[14] as well as imagined mental content that the participant experiences as defying conventional sensory categories.[15] The generating of such mental imagery can precipitate or accompany strong emotions or feelings.[16][17][18]

Practitioners or teachers facilitating guided meditation often encourage participants to document their experience, most commonly in the form of a self-reflective journal or diary.[citation needed] In addition to recording their experience of a guided meditation session, individuals may also document the occurrence of involuntary unwanted or intrusive negative imagery over time, which is a common occurrence among those with conditions including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety. They may also document positive imagery intentionally generated when practicing alone the techniques initially learned from the practitioner or teacher. Over time, this documentation can provide information and insight into the participant's physical and mental condition, contributing to the formulation of a therapeutic treatment plan.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][excessive citations]

The term "guided meditation" is most commonly used in clinical practice, scholarly research, and scientific investigation to signify an aggregate of integrated techniques. The most common and frequently used combination or synthesis comprises meditation music and receptive music therapy, guided imagery, relaxation, some form of meditative practice, and journaling. Hypnosis or hypnotherapeutic procedures may be included as part of an intervention.[31][32][33] Psychotherapist Michael D. Yapko has shown the remarkable similarity between hypnotic procedures and guided meditation procedures.[34]

Investigators, clinicians, and research authors frequently analyze and discuss the effects and efficacy of this intervention as a whole, with the result that it is often difficult to attribute positive or negative outcomes to any of the specific techniques that contribute to guided meditation. Furthermore, the term "guided meditation" is frequently used interchangeably with the terms "guided imagery" and sometimes with "creative visualization" in popular psychology and self-help literature, and to a lesser extent in scholarly and scientific publications. Consequently, understanding the nature, scope, application, and limitations of guided meditation requires it to be considered in context and relationship to the multiple techniques that are integral to its practice, allowing for variations in terminology.[35][36][37][38]

Guided meditation as an aggregate or synthesis of techniques including meditation music and receptive music therapy, guided imagery, relaxation, meditative praxis, and self-reflective diary-keeping or journaling has been shown to be effective in precipitating therapeutic, rehabilitative, and educational benefits when employed as an adjunct to primary clinical and instructional strategies, including as a means to lower levels of stress,[39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][excessive citations] minimize the frequency, duration, and intensity of asthmatic episodes,[50] control and manage pain,[51][52][53] develop coping skills,[54][55] improve ability to carry out demanding tasks in exacting situations,[56][57][58] decrease the incidence of insomnia,[59][60][61] abate feelings of anger,[62] reduce occurrences of negative or irrational thinking,[63][64][65] assuage anxiety,[66] raise levels of optimism,[67][68][69] enhance physical and mental aptitude,[70][71] and increase general feeling of well-being and self-reported quality of life.[72][73]

References[edit]

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