“Guided Meditation”, “Self-care” and “treating yourself” are the buzzwords for today’s busy millennial goddess. Giving yourself care and compassion before whisking it off to others is the new unicorn acai bowl. For your inner toddler. The one who screams internally when something is not perfectly right.
The replenishment you get from treating yourself actually helps you to conquer tasks and challenges in your daily life that normally take all your energy just thinking about them. Especially if you have anxiety or depression. Sometimes just getting through a day can make you feel like “my bed is my one true love”.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t engage in a love relationship with our bed and still be seen as mentally healthy.
That’s where meditation comes in.
You must be wondering, what TF does meditation have to do with treating myself?
I mean, meditation is great and all but sipping on a luscious caramel latte while luxuriating with a sensuous message by a strong-handed hottie named Chi is really treating myself.
Splurging on the extra-large tub of popcorn with candy on the side is treating myself.
Spending more than I thought I would on a pair of heels that make my ass say “hi there” while also feeling like a sex queen with comfortable toes is treating myself.
But meditation? Meditation might be a good way to unwind and get closer to your inner Avengers.
But how can meditation possibly mean treating yourself?
And that’s where things get interesting.
You’ve probably heard of them. Guided meditation apps that let you choose a meditation voice, timing and the mood you want after your mental pilgrimage to Lovelyland and had a sip of Pleasantpunch.
They offer quick and dirty pathways to a lighter mood, better sleep, and mind-blowing sex. Okay, maybe they can’t promise that but it’s definitely a goal worth putting on your vision board. When you listen to a short meditation, you usually feel a bit better and maybe those anxiety goblins aren’t going to eat you alive.
The messages are endless but some of the greatest hits are: slow down, get calm, just breathe, and put your rumination monkey back in her cage before she ruins you.
You can use them to unwind, get organized, get into a better state of mind or be encouraged and motivated to have a good day. They are really handy to listen to throughout the day or to begin and end the day by helping your mind become more focused. The best part is the total lack of effort on your part.
The vocalist is taking you through the meditation. All you have to do is plug in your headphones and allow the sounds, the tones, the music and the intonation let you discover your inner journey of freedom.
But it gets better.
You can’t be outshone by some app, you’re a spirit nymph who knows no bounds or limits when it comes to inner journeys to destinations unknown. You deserve a meditation practice that reflects that.
Enter sensory guided meditation.
Its meditation where you don’t just sit there and let nice things happen to your mind, you sit there and let nice things happen to your entire body!
How does this work?
If traditional meditation means being aware and present with your breath, then sensory meditation means the fulfillment of your soul’s spirit cry while being transported to a warm campground fire fueled by rainbows.
What that really means.
Sensory guided meditation is a cost-effective alternative to popular but expensive forms of self-care. It can be as simple as going through an imagery-filled guided meditation or as complex as using aromatherapy diffuser along with meditation bowls while resting upon beautiful pillows and fabrics.
It can help to banish your stress in a more luxurious way than traditional meditation. By using your senses, without overloading them, you can get a fuller and more lavish experience. It also helps to lower anxiety using a more fragrant and inviting experience.
Sensory guided meditation can be enjoyed with a unique flavor experience that highlights the senses making one more open, aware and mindful to pleasant sensations.
Most importantly, sensory guided meditation is great because it helps you to use at least one of the five senses to meditate. (And sometimes all five!)
Here’s how to do it yourself…
- Mindful chocolate.
Is it ethical to eat chocolate while meditating? Is it legal?
The answers to those questions, is yes. Chocolate is a delicious part of a balanced mindful eating plan.
Maybe you’ve heard about the raisin mindfulness experiment. How looking at, smelling, tasting, touching, licking and finally chewing the raisin leads to a more enhanced awareness of your eating and enjoyment pleasure.
Chocolate is one of the best ways to enjoy this guided meditation. It’s tastier, arguably healthier and overall more fun to eat.
The video below is a chocolate guided meditation to relax, luxuriate and enjoy the sensuous delicacy of chocolate in a mindful way.
2. Aromatherapy Fragrance Around the Room
Aromatherapy is like the chocolate syrup drizzle atop a caramel Frappuccino. It adds “joojsh”(sp?) to your meditation practice. Aromatherapy bottles look pretty but their contents can push you towards a new mindset.
Scent is important to making life feel like a cozy, comforting little nest because our olfactory bulbs are part of the limbic system and have an intimate link with our emotional processing structure (amygdala) and associative learning structure (hippocampus). The main takeaway is: Scents trigger emotions. So use them to your luxury-seeking benefit.
A nice, strong, rich scent of cacao or just a hint of vanilla fragrance might trigger memories of a quaint Parisian café you visited or one of those awesome scented markers you used in your 4th grade science project. Your unique scent blend is based on how you want to feel, your tolerance for scents and how deep you want to go.
3. Aromatherapy diffusers are even better
Aromatherapy is fine as a spray but using a diffuser will change your life. It will clear up your acne, do your taxes, nurse your hangover and have you singing with the choir on Sunday morning. Don’t underestimate the power of the diffuser.
My favorite is the which sends me to bed every night on a cloud of fairy dust containing the laughter of newborn kittens and the hugs of a Golden Retriever. It’s my intimate partner for the time being as I take a break from relationships right now, thank you for asking. She whispers me to sleep and wakes me up in the morning with the smell of a pot of hot, impassioned cup of coffee.
Several studies have shown that the scents people enjoy smelling lift people’s mood which raises their ability to creatively solve problems. And if that’s not treating yourself, then I don’t know what is.
A diffuser is a crucial part of your self-care arsenal and should be used in full glow-up glory.
4. Heat up a pot of spices on the stove
I know. Using a stove is so 1870’s but cooking up a steamy pot of flavorful spices might just save your sanity on a day when you get home and can’t find your cat, your roommate just ate your last chocolate cherry Greek yogurt and your social media feed is rife with weddings and babies. And wedded babies.
When that’s happening you don’t necessarily want to de-stress by burying your face in a bag of Doritos. Unless you’re having one of those face-in-chips kinds of days, then I’ll allow it. But stovetop spices are a more organically scented, less neon-cheese flavored, and arguably healthier option for chronic stress (this post is not sponsored by Doritos).
5. Calmly sip a mug of warm lavender tea.
As you know, lavender is the worst-kept secret of millennial-era sleepy time teas. Lavender is everywhere nowadays, lavender ice cream, lavender cake, lavender acai bowls, lavender green eggs and ham.
One study on the benefits of lavender showed individuals who received lavender for 3 minutes felt more relaxed, had less anxiety, better mood and increased their alpha brain waves, the ones associated with relaxation and drowsiness.
So level up and steep a blend of lavender tea that speaks to your inner spirit fairy who frolics in the streams of sunlight between lavender unicorn trees.
Also, check out our Lavender Luxe Guided Meditation Video here.
6. Use a meditation bowl.
First, you have to find one that speaks to you. Meditation bowls literally sing so find one whose tune fits you. These little fellows pack quite a punch when you’re distracted and feel too unfocused to meditate. They’re sturdy and will probably be with you for a lifetime. Heck, you can even pass them down as family heirlooms one day.
I love my crystal bowl, but there are so many types. I have a small one, a medium one and a large crystal bowl. They all give different meanings and different feels when I sit with them.
Lately, I need all the help I can get in the focus department so I use my large, crystal bowl. I barely have to move the mallet around it to get it to sing and vibrate for several minutes and suddenly, I’m on another level. I turn on the mood lights and go to town with my bowl. I’m usually so relaxed and focused by the middle of a session that I can keep going for minutes.
For someone who doesn’t always feel like sitting (like, ever), this bowl helps me to focus like no other. It’s a wonderful combination of color, light and heavenly sound. This is a treat that requires putting in some time but the results are totally worth it.
7. Create a beautiful ‘sit space’.
In creating a meditation station, cue the pillows and soft fabrics. It can give a whole new feeling to your meditation. The colors, feel and textures boost your ability to mindfully experience sensations.
Aside from looking pretty and being comforting to sit on, pillows provide posture support and proper alignment for meditation. They’re also a complementary support for your yoga practice. There are as many different types of pillows and cushions to use as there are ways to meditate.
Choosing the best one is all about your personal comfort style and desires. Do certain color schemes inspire you? Does the touch and feel of fabric inspire you? Look for comfort cushions with an array of different textures and tapestries. Perhaps raised or soft piled fabrics would be comforting. Firmness, softness and size are also considerations.
8. Focus on an object, art or natural element.
Even if you can’t get to the Acropolis today, finding an object or element in nature can help you to relax. Feast on beauty and devour gorgeous sights found on this beautiful speck of space dust we live on.
There are generally two types of meditation: Focused Awareness and Open Monitoring. A research study that focused on emotion and attention regulation found that meditators who used focused attention presented a significant reduction in anxiety and an increase in concentrated attention.
See there! Treating yourself can even make you emotionally smarter!
And when you can’t travel to an art gallery next to a waterfall in an enchanted forest, I know a place that can transport you to beautiful, stunning landscapes without moving a muscle. It’s called Zenteal and it’s our new lifestyle and mindfulness channel.
Zenteal’s main focus is Bakeshop meditations that help you to connect to a flavor or element found in nature on a more spiritual level. Visit the bakeshop and try a flavor that speaks to you and helps you melt into the comfort of lusciousness.
Treating yourself and self-care go hand in hand. You can make the decision on how much or how little money you want to spend when you incorporate your senses into your meditation. You can treat yourself like the Queen of Monaco while pinching pennies like the Duchess of Sporks.
With sensory meditation you can treat yourself every day. Sensuality is mentally refreshing and helps you grow into the person you are meant to be.
Do you have any sensory meditation types to add to the list?
What is your favorite way to treat yourself? Let us know in the comments section!
Buchbauer, G & Jirovetz, L & Jaeger, Walter & Dietrich, H & Plank, Ch. (1991). Aromatherapy: evidence for sedative effects of the essential oil of lavender after inhalation. Zeitschrift für Naturforschung. C, Journal of biosciences. 46. 1067-72.
Menezes, Carolina & de Paula Couto, Maria Clara & Buratto, Luciano & Erthal, Fatima & Pereira, Mirtes & Bizarro, Lisiane. (2013). The Improvement of Emotion and Attention Regulation after a 6-Week Training of Focused Meditation: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2013. 984678. 10.1155/2013/984678.
Scientific American, Nov 11, 2002. Do scents affect people’s moods or work performance? Scientific American, a division of Nature America, Inc.