Meditation for Anxiety & Stress

September 10, 2019 in Articles

Meditation is a fascinating part of humanity’s history. It has evolved into a mosaic of disciplines, across numerous cultures and civilizations over thousands of years.  That makes it challenging to narrow down a definition but at its core; meditation involves using a specific method allowing a person to focus their mind on a thought, activity or object to achieve mental clarity and calmness. 

This very generalized definition creates many misconceptions around what meditation is and how to use meditation for anxiety. Although much of its history is tied to spirituality, today meditation is used by medical and mental health professionals as part of a holistic treatment for mental health

Deceptions of Chinese Breathing exercises found in a burial site from 200 AD.

Benefits of Meditation for Anxiety

Even though meditation has been practiced for generations around the world, it’s only in the last few decades the scientific community has begun to seriously study the impact of meditation on the human body and brain. Although there is still much we don’t know, the consensus among researchers is that meditation offers many benefits for people looking to curb their anxiety and stress.

Helps With Focus

Generally, most meditation techniques work on improving our attention spans. But research has shown that it can help train our minds from wandering and better yet, the effects of this training can last for years. 

Helps us Manage Stress Over the Long Term

Breathing is connected to how our body processes many emotions, especially the ones linked to our “fight or flight” responses. When our stress levels spike due to a real or perceived threat, adrenaline races through our body.  Our heart rate speeds up, blood pressure rises and our breathing rate doubles to nearly twenty breaths per minute. 

Studies have now shown that specific breathing techniques can calm our emotions and body during periods of high stress. Since breathing is a cornerstone of meditation, it makes sense that meditation is a powerful method for dealing with anxiety.  

It Increases Our Empathy 

The exact reasoning is still unclear but researchers suspect that the inherent introspective and positive nature of meditation helps people evaluate their place in the world. There is also evidence that meditation activates the parts of our brain responsible for kindness and love. 

Has a Positive Impact on Your Body 

We are not talking about changing the physical makeup of your body; the impact comes in the form of preventive maintenance. High blood pressure, tension, chest pains, insomnia and indigestion; these ailments are often a byproduct of high stress and anxiety, which takes a physical and mental toll on the body. Breathing and meditation can help people control and manage their stress levels, which in turn reduces the harm done to your body and mind.   

There is also research meditation can improve long-term memory

A Beginners Guide to Meditation for Anxiety 

Just like other forms of exercise or discipline, meditation takes practice and patience. Your “meditation muscles” will take time to build their strength and stamina. Sometimes this can make the thought of meditation intimidating for people. If that is the case for you, you may want to try these simple breathing exercises for anxiety. These exercises are often an excellent place to start for beginners. Once you have mastered those techniques, the next step to a more mindful existence is meditation. 

Set a Goal 

Before you get into a meditative mindset, it will make a dramatic difference to ask yourself this question, “What do I want to achieve?”. Using meditation for anxiety can be just one goal. Maybe you want to settle your mind, possibly boost your creative output or discover new ways to connect with your body. There is no “wrong” reason to bring meditation into your life. If you are new to the world of meditation and aren’t sure what you want to focus on, keep things simple. You can simply use meditation to give your brain and body a rest. 

Sounds of Silence 

During your first few rounds of meditation, it’s best to practice in an area that is free of distraction. Although it isn’t necessary, a quiet environment helps you focus during the beginning of your meditation journey. This means no TV or music but also noises from the outside world, seeping in through an open window, can be disruptive. Once you can exercise more control over your mindfulness, noise tends to be a minor distraction. In the meantime, try to keep the sounds to a minimum. And a pro tip: try to keep your meditative space dark or dim. 

Clothes Make the Meditation

You may think your designer jeans are suited for any occasion. However, for meditation, they likely won’t fit the bill. Yoga attire, your favorite pajamas or any unrestrictive and comfortable clothes are best for staying focused and relaxed.

Get Comfy & Cozy 

This is an absolute must. Having a relaxed body is the key to having a relaxed mind. With meditation, we often envision people sitting on the ground or a cushion with their legs crossed. This works well for veterans but can often feel unnatural when starting out. First-timers typically find sitting in a chair with good posture to be the most natural approach.  You simply need to find the position which works for you. The goal is to put your body at ease.

Even your favorite spot in the house will be great

Getting Started  

Now that you are in a comfortable position, it’s time for the last few steps before you begin meditating. You can keep your eyes open or closed but you may find keeping them shut is easier. And don’t worry about your hands, they don’t need to be in any specific position. Simply do what feels natural. And a pro-tip: set an alarm for say five or ten minutes. This helps you stay focused without worrying about time passing.    

Types of Meditation for Anxiety

Measured Breathing

This is one of the easiest ways into the world of meditation. It combines simple breathing techniques with basic counting to help you maintain focus. Measured breathing sometimes used as an umbrella term for various types of counting meditations. We covered one, Box Breathing, in our list of the best breathing exercises for anxiety. Another popular one is the 4-7-8 breathing technique, promoted by Dr. Andrew Weil:

  1. Once you get comfortable and are prepared to start meditating, place the tip of your tongue against the top of your mouth and behind your front teeth. 
  2. First, empty your lungs of air and then breathe in quietly through your nose and count to four. 
  3. Hold this breath in your body and count to seven.  
  4. Finally, exhale through your mouth, while making a “whoosh” sound and count for eight seconds. 
  5. Repeat this process three more times, for a total of four. 

If you find this technique tricky, try counting with each exhale. Start at one and then with the next exhale count “two” and so on. Do this until you reach the number ten. Once you hit ten, start counting backward. It’s okay if your mind drifts and you lose your place, simply start over again. This exercise is a great way to build up mental power and discipline. 

Humming Breath 

This technique is similar to mindfulness meditation and is often associated with a type of yoga. You will start off in the same manner as other meditations. The key difference here, is that you will hum while breathing. After you inhale, begin to hum softly and lightly, while focusing on the humming. Try to make the sound and sensations of the humming the only thing in your thoughts.  

Take note of the sensation of the humming flowing through your head, chest, legs and other parts of your body. You can repeat the hum eight to ten times (during each breath) or set an alarm to go off after a certain period of time. 

Feel free to change up the volume, the tone or the pitch of the hum. Once you have finished the humming breath exercise, focus on the silence and how your body feels since you began. You will likely notice a sense of stillness that has eradicated any stress or anxiety. 

With practice, you will be able to meditate anywhere if needed

Alternate Nostril Breathing 

Again, start by going through the regular pre-meditation routine we outlined in the beginner’s guide. Now follow these steps:

  1. Close your right nostril with fingers from your right hand (usually the pointer and middle finger). 
  2. Inhale slowly through your left nostril and then close this same nostril with your left land. 
  3. Hold the breath for a pause.
  4. Now open up your right-side nostril and slowly let the air out through your nose. 
  5. Hold for a pause. 
  6. Now inhale slowly through the right nostril, while keeping the left one closed.
  7. Hold the breath for a pause.
  8. Open up the left-side nostril and expel the air.  

Repeat this whole process for about five to ten times on each side. Alternate nasal breathing will benefit you in a few ways. Slowing down while extending the process of inhaling and exhaling, will trigger the mind to slow down. This will in turn help focus your thoughts and quiet stressful emotions. Additionally, breathing through your left nostril directs oxygen into the right hemisphere of your brain, which turns on the parasympathetic nervous system. This also will increase feelings of relaxation. 

Visualization Meditation

Research has shown that a positive outlook keeps you healthier physically and mentally. For decades athletes, performers and entrepreneurs have tapped into the power of visualization to help achieve their goals. But it can also be used to manage stress and anxiety. It primarily comes down to controlling the thoughts which are in your mind. 

Visual meditation is often seen as a more advanced technique. Try no to let that discourage you;  as with any new method, practice makes all the difference. The goal of this technique is to imagine being transported to a specific place. A unique but comfortable space within your mind’s eye. This can be a place you are familiar with or one you have seen before in pictures. Here is how to approach it:

  1. Sit somewhere quiet and peaceful
  2. Take five deep breaths 
  3. Begin to slowly visualize a space or setting which calms you – for example, sitting on a mountainside over a lake. 
  4. (Keeping with our example) Start imagining the larger view first, such as the expansive treescape surrounding you.
  5. Slowly zoom into the setting, noticing all the more intimate details: birds singing in a quiet, steady rhythm or the sound of the wind moving through the leaves.
  6. Now take notice of your body reacting to this environment: the air tickling the air of your skin or how the sun warms your body.
  7. Finally, cast out any negative thoughts which have clogged up your mind
  8. Watch these negative thoughts disappear into the ethers 

With enough practice, using visual meditation for anxiety can help lower stress levels, blood pressure, even chest pains and headaches. 

The commute home is a great opportunity to practice

 Mindfulness Meditation

The word “Mindfulness” is now commonly used in society but the habit of being “Mindful” is rooted in spiritual practices (like Buddhism) which have been practiced for millennia. Today universities, private businesses and even the military practice or offer some form of mindfulness program. One of the core elements is mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and help people think more clearly. 

Similar to visual meditation, it takes some practice to get the hang of it. Let’s go through the steps. Like the other meditation techniques we discussed, start by finding a comfortable and quiet place:

  1. Set a timer for ten or twenty minutes.
  2. Breath in through your nose and exhale out your mouth. 
  3. Take notice of the breath as it passes above your lip and below your nose.
  4. Notice how the air enters and leaves your body; how your belly or chest rises and falls. 
  5. You may also focus on the differences between each individual breath – like trying to see the uniqueness of a snowflake
  6. Now observe your thoughts as they come and go. Take note of the emotions with each one.
  7. Don’t fight or dwell on these thoughts. Acknowledge them and watch them pass through your mind, like you are having an “out of body” experience.
  8. Try to stay in the present and not drift to the past or future.
  9. If you lose focus or become entranced in thought; go back to focusing on your breathing.
  10. When the timer goes off, take a few minutes to become more alert and connected to the environment.

This technique takes time to master so please don’t feel discouraged if you struggle at the start. We are positive that with some practice, this method is one of the best meditations for anxiety.  

 Just Getting Started Using Meditation for Anxiety is Key 

People often find getting started with meditation a daunting task. The hundreds, if not thousands of options available out there can be overwhelming. That’s why we created the Mindbliss app. It has been specially designed to help guide and accelerate your evolution in mindfulness.  It runs on an intelligent algorithm dedicated to curating the ultimate meditation experiences to fit your needs.




Dealing with Anxiety & Stress: A Survival Guide

August 15, 2019 in Articles

Dealing with anxiety is something everyone faces. The reason: you can thank human evolution. Anxiety is part of the “fight or flight” response buried in your brain. This reaction has been perfected over millennia for one sole purpose, to keep you alive.

Remember, your ancestors lived in environments which lacked the social construction and safety we have today. Disease, famine, wild animals and other threats all triggered their survival mechanisms. Adrenaline pumped through their bodies, preparing them to confront or flee any danger. Anxiety is one part of the spectrum which makes up these survival instincts; except the triggers can be quite different. 

30,000 years ago the daily threats were MUCH different

The American Psychology Association defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes.” To put it another way, it’s a response programmed in your body to deal with stress. It can be helpful to think of anxiety as a voice inside our heads, which needs us to take action. It’s totally normal and very important for day to day living. 

Anxiety is not a “one size fits all” scenario. People react differently to triggers and face different levels of anxiety, which last different lengths of time. What’s important is recognizing whether the anxiety we feel is a natural response or a burden which prevents us from performing very basic tasks. And most importantly, understanding what causes our anxiety to spike in the first place. 

The Most Common Anxiety Triggers

There are dozens, likely hundreds of things which can set off anxiety. What causes one person to be anxious, maybe no issue for another. One of the most common triggers of anxiety is public speaking. Talking for six minutes in front of a crowd may be paralyzing for someone, yet that same person may find writing six thousand words to be a walk in the park. Here are some of the most common anxiety triggers:

Money or Finances

Maybe your debt is piling up; school loans, credit cards or mortgage payments. It’s possible you are living paycheck to paycheck with bills mounting. This scenario is a common one to trigger stress. Without proper coping techniques, money issues can make it challenging to deal with anxiety and have a clear mind to find solutions.  

62% of Americans say money is their biggest source of stress


Differences arise with loved ones, relatives, friends, roommates, co-workers or anyone you have some type of relationship with. Maybe just the idea of friction or disagreement with a person sends chills throughout your body. Without addressing the anxiety, it becomes easier to avoid people altogether, deteriorating relationships further (and thus causing more anxiety!)  

Illness or Health Concerns

A bad diagnosis, understandably, can trigger anxiety levels but so can the thought of becoming ill. This is especially true if someone close to us is sick.  The “what if” and doomsday scenarios begin to take over and we might begin to picture a world without us in it. Anxiety is this context may lead us to make rash decisions regarding our health. It is important to be grounded in reality when facing an illness but anxiety and stress can cloud our decision-making process. 


The societal norm tells us alcohol can relieve stress and but only temporarily. In fact, the original stress and anxiety come back even just after a few hours (and likely stronger as the body goes through withdrawal.) Remember: the events or thoughts which caused the anxiety in the first place, likely haven’t gone away. This can sometimes lead to more drinking to try and further relieve the stress, but it doesn’t work. 

Social Situations

Parties, dating, presentations, crowds, maybe even just having to talk to strangers makes your adrenaline skyrocket. Without addressing these triggers avoidance can sometimes set it. 


Not eating enough healthy foods or skipping meals altogether can have a dramatic impact on your body, brain and stress levels. 


Planes, trains and automobiles can get anyone wound up and feeling stressed. Just thinking about packing, schedules, confined and close quarters, delays and so on can cause anxiety levels to rise. Although this anxiety is often manageable, it can still be a burden to people who fear or obsess over modes of transportation. 

Two-thirds of people say flying is the most stressful form of travel


A very common trigger is having to pack up your life (or leave one behind.) We may even avoid pursuing new relationships, opportunities, and experiences because of it. 

Sudden Changes at Work 

This can go beyond losing a job. Promotions, having to take on a colleagues workload, new projects or new bosses can set a person’s stress meter to HIGH. The workplace can generate stress in a myriad of ways, so anxiety coping skills are essential to have for any job.  

Negative Thinking

We aren’t talking about a “Debbie Downer” here. In psychological terms, we are focusing more on illogical thought or cognitive distortions. This can be overgeneralizations, jumping to conclusions, blaming others, etc. Some examples of negative thinking could be:

  • What if I’m late for this appointment?
  • Have I chosen the wrong career?
  • I don’t think I will finish this report on time.
  • I think my partner is cheating on me.
  • What if I have cancer?
  • I will never have enough money to retire. 

If we recognize the negative thoughts which cloud our minds and develop consistent anxiety coping skills, it can help quell emotions before they become excessive or unmanageable. 

Quick Hacks for Dealing With Anxiety

Get off social media

A mindless scroll through Instagram or Twitter can be counterproductive when looking for help with anxiety  Sure, there are endless cat photos but also a barrage of news events (mostly negative). Friends, influencers and celebrities are all curating their best lives, implying how we should eat, dress, cook, design our homes and vacation. The need to “Keep up with the Kardashians”  becomes a quagmire of anxiety triggers. If you can’t quit social media, try to take extended breaks. 


This should be a staple in your strategy when coping with anxiety. When stress overtakes your mind, it impacts the body as well. Physical activity helps reduce tension, lift a person’s mood and improves sleep (which also helps decrease anxiety.) The reason is that the endorphins produced by the body during exercise act as a natural painkiller for the body. Swimming, biking, walking or yoga are just some of the exercises you can turn to for jumpstarting your heart rate while shutting down anxiety. 

Just five minutes of activity can dramatically reduce anxiety & stress

Listen to music and dance

This should come as no surprise to the lovers or rhythm and song. Dance can easily fall into the category of exercise for tackling anxiety but its symbiotic relationship with music creates a very special coping technique. Over the last few years, research into the healing properties of music has revealed an incredible amount of breakthroughs. Music can help with anxiety, amnesia, dementia and pain relief.

Do some chores   

We know this one sounds counterintuitive at first, but its a technique for bringing your mind back to a zen state. Research from the University of California has shown that a clean house leads to lower levels of depression and anxiety. Chores are also simple tasks, which we can jump into quickly and easily.

An anxious mind craves taking immediate action and controlling a situation. The act of say, organizing your closet, fulfills this need but gives your anxiety time to run its course. There is no need to go full Marie Kondo and throw out all your possessions, just breaking out the mop and bucket can suffice. 

Dive into a creative activity 

Painting, coloring or really any activity which leads to exercising the more fun and imaginative parts of your brain. Take up that pottery class, re-design a room in your house, break out the carpentry tools or spend a few hours in the garden. Focusing on activities that bring joy and raise our mood, can help balance out the stress in your mind. 

Read a book 

Page-turners are doorways to another world and a long-used technique for battling anxiety. While we read, our heart rate drops, the chemistry and connections in our brain changes and our stress levels plummet. In fact, “bibliotherapy” was used by librarians after World War I to help soldiers deal with trauma (what we would call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD today.)  

ccc Just six minutes of reading can lower stress levels by 60%

Write in a journal 

Thoughts in an anxious mind are like a snowball rolling downhill; increasing in size and speed by the second. So finding clarity and focus in this mindset is next to impossible. Putting pen to paper can help bring order out of chaos.  

Journaling helps anxiety for one main reason: it is the best way to get a snapshot of our thoughts and how fast we cycle through them. A person can have five or six distinct thoughts in mere seconds (but not be aware of them all.) You often hear anxious people say “my mind won’t stop racing!” – journaling helps us isolate those thoughts. 

And once these thoughts are physically in front of us, we can see negative patterns, illogical thinking or irrational ideas. It takes practice and discipline but can become a powerful anxiety coping skill.  Our friends at KYŌ will help ease you into the world of journaling. The KYŌ app has thousands of guiding reflective questions to get you started, organized by experts around the world!


A tough conversation, a big presentation at work or any situation where your words and actions matter. These scenarios can easily send stress levels off the charts. The uncertainty around the outcome of these events is typically the trigger. We only picture negative conclusions and pay no mind to potential positive outcomes. A “rehearsal” with a trusted friend could be just the trick to stop your anxiety from spiking. You can anticipate and brainstorm how to deal with situations as they arise, reducing the uncertainty.  

Hang out with your squad

Support from our friends (or supporting them) can be a great way to melt away anxiety and stress. Opening up about your challenges, listening to theirs or just enjoying a beloved activity with people you care about, can uplift our mood and provide clarity around the negative thoughts we tell ourselves – reminding us what matters most. 


This may not be as easy as you think; especially if anxiety is impacting your sleeping habits. However, it may be possible that the anxiety and stress you feel, has been caused by a lack of proper sleep.

Pro Tip: Go to bed & wake up at the same time every day


Obviously, it’s one of our favorite technique at Mindbliss. It’s easy to start, can be done anywhere and the learning curve is very low. Research has shown that proper breathing helps control our emotions and negative thoughts during periods of stress. Scientists have even found that breathing through our nose helps our brains make better decisions when emotions are running high.

Here are breathing exercises you can use right now to improve anxiety coping skills. Once you have mastered those, the Mindbliss app can curate more breathing exercises for you. 

Long Term Strategies For Dealing With Anxiety

This is not a list of quick-fixes.  Some of these techniques are easier than others to integrate within your daily routine. Yet, with some dedication and discipline, they will be very effective at addressing anxiety over the long term. 

Change up your diet

Moderation and a balanced diet is the goal here. Foods that are high in sugar and fat, especially processed foods, can have a negative impact on the body as the withdrawal symptoms from these foods can mimic symptoms of anxiety. Focus on foods rich in zinc, magnesium, vitamin B and Omega-3 fatty acids. Here is a handy guide from Harvard University on what foods help with anxiety. And remember to keep hydrated by drinking enough water. That being said, always consult with a doctor or health professional before making dramatic changes to your diet. 

Avoid alcohol and cigarettes 

People often turn to alcohol and cigarettes as quick fixes for anxiety but in reality, they often make anxiety symptoms much worse. The buzz from alcohol and nicotine simply masks the initial negative feelings. When the high wears off, not only does the anxiety return but you also have to deal with the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Eliminating or even reducing our consumption of these substances can be tricky due to their addictive properties and socially accepted use. If you think smoking or drinking is having a negative impact on your stress and anxiety levels, talk to your doctor about a plan to stop using them. 

Avoid Caffeine

This one is hard for many people. Caffeine is the world’s most popular drug and found in many products (even some medications.) A small amount of caffeine is typically fine and can even carry some health benefits. Taking into much caffeine though can trigger the body’s “fight or flight” response and like other substances, it can worsen the effects of anxiety once it wears off. Track how much caffeine you are consuming each day. If it’s more than 400 mg, three or four cups of coffee, you may want to consider a reduction plan. You don’t need to go cold turkey but some strategies are drinking low-caffeine alternatives or delaying your morning cup by a few hours. 


Similar to meditation, aromatherapy has been used by various civilizations throughout history.  Often called “essential oils,” aromatherapy treatments are made of natural products, such as jasmine, sage or rosemary.  People then typically inhale, ingest or rub the oils on their skin.

The scientific community is just starting to examine how aromatherapy can address anxiety and stress; to promising results. Plants like lavender have been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. A word of caution though, not all oils produce the same results for everyone (and they can get quite costly) but it’s worth talking to a professional to determine if aromatherapy can help with anxiety.  

Essential oils are also made into candles

Trigger management

In essence, this boils down to investigating and determining specifically which of the triggers we highlighted earlier are causing you anxiety and stress. Narrowing them down is a bit of trial and error but once done, people then reduce or eliminate their exposure to these triggers. For some triggers, this is easier said than done. Changing your coffee intake is likely easier than changing jobs, but managing your triggers is a surefire way of dealing with anxiety.  

Face your fears

If managing/avoiding triggers is the yin, then facing them is the yang. Also called exposure therapy, this one is a high-risk, high-reward technique. It is often used to address phobias or other anxiety disorders. Essentially, you gradually expose yourself to the situation which is causing anxiety and you learn to become less sensitive over time.

People sometimes use images or even virtual reality as a way of easing into this high anxiety environment. Some medical professionals suggest “diving headfirst,” as it has strong results but this approach can also backfire, causing anxiety or stress to worsen. Exposure therapy is definitely not a quick fix but if you are serious about developing anxiety coping skills talk to a medical professional about this option. 


It’s easy to think of meditation as simply breathing and sitting still. Yet breathing exercises are simply a part of this technique; a technique which is extremely powerful for reducing anxiety & stress. Meditation is where an individual uses a certain process or system to focus their mind on a particular thought, object, activity or breathing pattern. This helps train their level of attention and awareness, in order to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally stable state.

They are MANY forms of meditation:

We know that getting started can be overwhelming, which is exactly why we created Mindbliss. The Mindbliss app has been specially designed to help guide and accelerate your evolution in mindfulness.  It runs on an intelligent algorithm dedicated to curating the ultimate meditation experiences to fit your needs. We promise once you find your rhythm, breathing and meditation will become a transformative experience when dealing with anxiety.



There are various kinds of therapy, which often depend on your level of anxiety, but the most common is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It’s often called talk therapy and has proven to be very successful over the past years. Remember when we talked about journaling, think of CBT as the advanced version of this. Instead of working in isolation, you are working with a professional to change the negative and counterproductive thought processes in your head. 

Over a few weeks, you work on practical strategies (which are repeatable) to help reduce anxiety. Some therapists focus more on rewiring your thinking, while others focus more on exposure therapy techniques. The ultimate goal is to have you managing your anxiety and stress levels on your own after a few months. CBT options should definitely be discussed with your doctor to see if it is right for you.


There are many reasons medication will be prescribed by a professional. They help treat people with extremely high levels of anxiety, they are used to help individuals focus on or complete certain tasks and sometimes they are part of a larger treatment plan with other stress-reducing methods (like CBT.)

There are often stigmas around drugs but these views are unjustified. Medications have been helping people successfully navigate anxiety for decades. It is VERY important you work with your doctor or another professional when exploring anti-anxiety medication. It can be a process of trial and error to find the right fit, as sometimes side effects occur since medications alter the chemical makeup in your brain. This should not deter you as health professionals will monitor your progress to ensure everything is working as it should. When needed, meds can be transformational when looking for ways to deal with anxiety and stress. 

The Best Anxiety Coping Skill is Starting One

There are so many options for dealing with anxiety, just assessing your options can lead to more anxiety. So honestly, the best strategy is to pick something and get started. The technique you choose may not be the perfect fit, but that’s okay. The journey to reducing anxiety can be a bumpy one. Just have patience, trust your instincts and remember there are always people out there who truly want to help (like us!) 

Releasing Stress: Best Breathing Exercises For Anxiety

August 9, 2019 in Articles

Anxiety and stress can be an overwhelming force. Like trying to bail water out of a sinking boat, dealing with anxiety often feels hopeless. No matter how much you try to control your feelings, the paralyzing emotions never seem to end. 

Deceptions of Chinese breathing exercises found in a burial site from 200 AD.

For centuries, mindfulness gurus have been promoting the use of breathing and meditation to quell anxiety. It’s a practice which has always faced some skepticism within the medical community. However, in the last decade, the science around treating anxiety with controlled breathing exercises has come to light. It seems that meditation and mindfulness experts have been right all along; the human body is essentially designed to use oxygen for moderating anxiety.

Why We Breathe

Oxygen is one of the most important fuels for our bodies. On average, we take about ten breaths per minute. Each day, we are bombarded with all the reasons we need to eat and drink properly. Yet, we rarely think about the amount of oxygen we take in and how it affects our bodies⁠— specifically our minds. It helps us think, digest and even move the smallest of muscles. 

In the very simple terms, we breathe to get oxygen to our cells. Our cells then use this oxygen to break down sugar into carbon dioxide (which we breathe out) and water. This entire process is designed to help provide energy to vital organs such as the brain and heart. This system, subconsciously controlled by the brain⁠⁠ is keeping a watchful eye on the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body. 


The build-up of carbon dioxide sends signals to the brain to bring in more oxygen, using more energy to release carbon dioxide. Remember though, that this energy-intensive process causes the body to produce more carbon dioxide, creating a vicious cycle. Understanding this cycle helps recognize why anxiety and breathing go hand in hand.  

How Breathing Affects Your Mind

The air we take in also plays a huge psychological role. Humans breathe when they sing, laugh and cry⁠—we breathe at every moment of our lives. And more and more research is showing that breathing highly impacts our moods and our memory

Studies conducted by researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois showed that brain activity fluctuates in sync with breathing. Breathing also impacts the amygdala, which controls how humans handle emotions. “If you are in a panicked state, your breathing rhythm becomes faster. As a result, you’ll spend proportionally more time inhaling than when in a calm state,” said Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, lead author of the report

Our fight or flight response can be triggered by just our thoughts

When your brain detects an external threat, the amygdala takes over and determines the appropriate reaction (this is often called the “fight or flight response.) During this heightened state, adrenaline races through our body causing our heart rate to speed up, blood pressure rises and our breathing rate doubles, to nearly 20 breathes per minute. Our bodies do all these things for a reason, to prepare ourselves to react to the threat of danger.

But what if there is no ferocious animal or terrifying criminal standing in front of you? You simply have the feeling that something is wrong. Well, this is likely your anxiety taking over (which, trust us, is also important for your survival) Your body reacts like a physical threat is standing in front of you, except these current threats are simply ideas floating in your mind. This doesn’t mean they are imaginary or made up; it simply means that without strong coping techniques, your anxiety and stress can end up being a barrier to happiness and productivity.

How Anxiety and Breathing Work Together 

One in five people struggle with anxiety and the numbers are on the rise. Odds are you have felt it before. The symptoms could include:

  • Tightening and/or aching muscles
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lack of saliva and dry mouth
  • Nausea or indigestion 
  • Chest pains
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Even possibly blurred vision

An anxiety attack can sometimes last 30 minutes

If you have had any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to speak with your doctor, as they can be attributed to other causes. However, if they appear to be triggered by and event or thought, then anxiety is often the culprit. This is all thanks to our internal friend the amygdala which leaps into action when a threat is detected. The key difference is these threats are often in the mind or perceived; especially for people affected by an anxiety disorder.

The trigger can be the slightest of things; a news headline, challenges at work or the thought of having a “heart-to-heart” with a loved one.  Anxiety isn’t “bad,” it’s still a part of our fight or flight instincts. Yet, anxiety and stress can easily overwhelm and overpower the mind without understanding how to manage it. 

Earlier we said oxygen creates the energy which helps expel carbon dioxide from the body.  Yet, this very process produces even MORE carbon dioxide, which needs to be expelled. So, if anxiety makes you gasp for air, your body will always be in this accelerated state of rapid breathing. 

As we now know, proper breathing can help control our emotions, intrusive thoughts and body during instances of high stress. Specifically, when we breathe through our nose, it helps the brain make better decisions when emotions are tied up in the situation. Maybe some of these thoughts have spiked your anxiety:

  • What if I’m late for this appointment?
  • Have I chosen the wrong career?
  • I don’t think I will finish this report on time.
  • I think my partner is cheating on me.
  • What if I have cancer?
  • I will never have enough money to retire. 

A simple email or text can spike anxiety; causing us to lose focus for hours

Even if these things have not happened, these thoughts are still powerful enough to send your adrenaline skyrocketing. With proper breathing and mindfulness techniques, you can control your body’s reaction before it controls you.

A Beginner’s Guide to Proper Breathing

Like learning a sport or musical instrument, proper breathing for anxiety takes the right playbook and some practice. We understand that getting started can feel overwhelming (it may even cause some anxiety!) So, here is a beginner’s guide to breathing exercises for anxiety by guru Linda Hall, broken down into some very easy steps:

  1. Sit up with good posture while making sure you are still comfortable.
  2. Close your eyes or soften your gaze on an object, this can be anything, even the floor or wall.
  3. Try to eliminate visual distractions.
  4. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. 
  5. Exhale slowly through your mouth and envision that you are letting the weight of your body escape.
  6. Repeat these steps finding and focusing on the natural rhythm of your breath while gradually slowing it.

Focus on feeling comfortable rather than perfection of technique

Whether in bed after waking or at your desk, you can practice this anywhere. Beginners sometimes struggle to keep focused. It’s totally normal if your thoughts drift to other things, just catch yourself and start again. Try to concentrate on the sound of your breath, or how your chest rises and falls, or even the sensation of air flowing through your nostrils. 

And that’s it; the very first steps of structured breathing exercises for anxiety and stress. At this stage, you don’t need to have a meditation marathon remember, it takes practice. Even just finishing one minute at this stage is a win. As one minute gradually becomes ten minutes, here are some more advanced breathing exercises for anxiety to put in the toolbox.

More Breathing Exercises for Stress and Anxiety 

Breath Meditation Counting 

Ajahn Achalo has been studying meditation with monks from around the world for nearly two decades. A contributor to Mindbliss, his process of Breath Meditation Counting has been practiced by monks for centuries to help build mental power.

Start with the steps from our beginner’s breathing exercise but this time, count “ONE” during your exhale. Inhale again and count “TWO” during the next exhale. Repeat this process until you reach the number TEN.  

If you lose track of a number, don’t worry, simply start over. As you gain experience with this exercise, try counting backward from TEN or extend the length of counting to 20 or even 50. You should find this exercise helps you clear distracting thoughts and boosts concentration power. 

Progressive Relaxation 

This breathing exercise is designed to eliminate tension throughout the entire bodyfrom your feet to your forehead. After you get accustomed to simple breathing exercises, casually hold your breath while simultaneously focusing on a tense area of the body for a few seconds.  

You can start with the forehead, arms, calves or wherever you feel the most tension. Should you feel any pain or discomfort, move on to another part of the body.  Dr. Gale Michew, a licensed psychologist, has a wonderful progressive relaxation session available in the Mindbliss app.

Box Breathing 

Sometimes called square breathing or navy seal breathing (it is practiced by navy seals to help control their stress levels,) box breathing is a very straight forward breathing exercise for anxiety and stress relief. In a way, it’s a very simple version of meditation and can be a good starting point for beginners.

Again, find a comfortable place to sit upright and keep your body relaxed. A quiet and non-distracting environment is ideal but this technique can be practiced anywhere at any time:  

  1. Exhale slowly, while counting to four;
  2. Now count to four again, once your lungs have been depleted;
  3. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose while counting to four;
  4. With your lungs full, count to four again; then
  5. Repeat the process from step one.


If you get lightheaded or dizzy (which can happen to newbies,) just resume breathing normally until the feeling passes and then resume box breathing. 

Heart Healing Breath 

This technique was developed by a popular contributor to Mindbliss, Jhenneviev Heartt. Her teachings blend various parts of yoga, natural medicine and transformational breathwork. The Heart Healing Breathe exercise is designed to help relieve stress and tension in the chest, upper back and throat. 

You will want to find some privacy for this exercise. As usual, find a comfortable place to sit but this time, you will want a chair which can recline and support your neck. Start with your beginner’s breathing routine and focus on filling your upper body with air, just above your belly. Let your eyes, neck and head soften as the breaths become slower. 

At this point, introduce a different breathing technique called “Sipping”. Imagine you are drinking out of an imaginary straw (or whistling in reverse); inhale this way, maintaining the continued goal of filling your lungs with air. Your chest should start to feel light but energized.

Finally, we will now introduce a slight sound during the exhale. After each sipping breath, softly say “ahhhhh….” as you exhale. Picture a doctor examining your throat but keep your tongue in! This whole process will help the head, jaw and neck relax. Allow your body to sink deeper into your reclined seat as your breathes and chants slowly release in the areas we carry it most.

(Even More) Breathing Exercises For Anxiety 

This is just the beginning of your journey. As you get better, you may be curious to explore other types of breathing and meditation routines. You can find these routines in the Mindbliss app, which has been specially designed to help guide and accelerate your evolution in mindfulness.  It runs on an intelligent algorithm dedicated to curating the ultimate meditation experiences to fit your needs. 

This will be a transformative journey – we know you can do it

How to Meditate Properly

January 14, 2019 in Articles

Each time you set out to do a task, whether it’s painting a room, planning a vacation, or simply folding the laundry, you want to do it the right way. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who intentionally seeks to do something the wrong way. What’s the point of that? Doing something the right way increases the likelihood that you will accomplish your goals and expectations.

The same goes for meditation. Meditating correctly will foster greater fulfillment and ease in your practice. Learning how to meditate properly is an essential part of your meditation journey.

Have you ever painted a room? This almost universally-hated chore has a lot of nuances: the paint finish and color, cleaning the room before and after, protecting the flooring and trim, using the right brushes and rollers to apply the paint, not to mention the fact that you’re probably going to have to do more than one coat. Everyone seems to have their own method of painting a room, but there is a proper way to do it.

When you take the time to meditate, you want that time to be well spent. You expect your meditation to increase fulfillment and ease, but if you fail to meditate well, you will be sorely disappointed in your practice, just as a sloppily painted room disappoints every time you walk into it.

It is very important not only to meditate, but to meditate well. Meditating, when done properly, has some incredible health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, it has been known to:

  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Lessen the impacts of asthma
  • Ease the burden of cancer
  • Alleviate chronic pain
  • Reduce depression
  • Lessen the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve the quality of sleep
  • Alleviate irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce the incidence of tension headaches

These aren’t baseless claims; they are backed by science. Numerous studies have documented stress reduction as a result of regular meditation. Meditation has specifically been proven to reduce stress in people suffering from a chronic illness. One study even showed that regular meditation could reduce stress in cancer patients by 31 percent.

Yet another study showed that symptoms of depression could be reduced in adults who practice meditation. There is also evidence that meditating before bed can help those with sleep disorders not only sleep sooner but sleep longer as well.

The studies mentioned here are only a handful of hundreds of similar research projects that have routinely proven the efficacy of meditation. The trick is to do it well.

Meditating isn’t easy. It takes a great deal of practice and discipline. If you are new to meditation, heed this advice and start your practice on the right foot. If you are an experienced meditator, read these tips with an open mind, you may discover new ways to improve your practice. Let’s learn how to meditate properly.

Find the Time

This seems obvious, but it isn’t. In a single day, we pack in as many appointments, meetings and commitments as possible, but are any of those appointments with you? Take the time to schedule an appointment with yourself. Put it on your calendar and regard it with the same level of commitment that you would any other meeting. Meet yourself in your meditation space and commit to the time you have set aside. Don’t allow other responsibilities or or tasks, no matter how important they may seem, keep you from this time.

The monotony of the day-to-day tasks are very short term. The emotional, cognitive and physical benefits of meditation are long term. Time is more valuable than money, because it’s a finite resource. You can’t create it, but you can squander it. Choose to invest in yourself and don’t allow anything to get between you and the self-care of meditation.     

Also consider the context of the time you choose. Will your environment be distraction free at the start and the end of your practice? Consider what could happen in your environment in the next 5 to 10 minutes. Are the kids due to get home from school? Is the UPS guy going to ring your doorbell? Are you expecting a phone call? If these are possibilities, you may want to choose a different time to meditate.

Don’t pick a time simply because it is convenient at the moment. Think about potential outside distractions that could barge into your practice and negatively impact the quality of your meditation. Meditating well depends on your ability to find a time that is completely distraction free.

Set Up Your Meditation Environment

Choose a place where you would like to meditate. It could be your patio, a sofa, your bed or even in a designated meditation room, if you are so lucky. The most important thing is to find a place where you are comfortable. It could be extremely distracting to settle in on an itchy carpet or in a room that’s too hot or too cold. Consider everything about the environment and how it may impact your practice before you select the place where you should meditate.

Your meditation environment should also have a pleasant aura and be relatively quiet. Negative energy and background noise may case your mind to wander. Find a place that easily enables you to rid yourself of distractions and find joy.

If you like, you can decorate your meditation environment with things that inspire you. Making the space personal will increase the intimacy and quality of your meditation. This could include:

  • photos of love ones,
  • mementos from cherished memories,
  • religious icons,
  • beautiful crystals and plants,
  • comfy cushions, blankets and rugs,
  • candles to set the ambience
  • few of your favorite books.

If it brings you joy and a sense of peace, it should be in your meditation space.

Practice Good Posture

If you want to learn how to meditate properly, posture is key. When you think about it, adjusting your physical stance is the first thing you do when you come to a place of meditation. You can meditate in any position. Standing, sitting or laying (or some variation of the three) are all acceptable positions in which to meditate. Regardless of your position, create excellent posture to meditate well.

Good posture fosters many health benefits, including increased concentration, better breathing and reducing the stress on your joints. Each of these benefits will enhance your meditation practice.

If you struggle to find good posture, start by getting into your meditation stance. Squish your shoulders up to your ears, then roll them back to push your chest forward. Lift your chin so that your jaw is parallel to the floor. This may feel strange at first, but the longer you do it the more natural this position will become.

Great posture will also help reduce distractions. If you aren’t in a comfortable position when meditating, you will inevitably begin to feel stress in your joints and muscles. These aches are often very distracting. Don’t let those distractions creep in; start with great posture.

Release Distractions

We live in a world that has no shortage of distractions. According to a recent report by eMarketer, the average American consumes more than 12 hours of media, that includes TV, radio, print and digital, per day. That’s an incredible amount of distraction. Enough is enough! In order to meditate well, you must be able to rid yourself of these pervasive outside distractions.

Do not bring your phone to the place where you meditate. Make your meditation environment relatively soundproof and, if necessary, add blinds or curtains to prevent the sunlight from distracting you.

Before you begin to meditate, think about what you are wearing. Is it comfortable? Does it make you feel good? Does it distract you? The same goes for your jewelry or any other ornamentation you may choose to wear. Change your clothes or remove your jewelry if needed.

Think about how you feel. Are you struggling with cold symptoms? Treat them! Are your lips chapped? Apply lip balm. Have you had enough food and water? Be sure to come to your practice well hydrated and with a full-ish stomach. There’s nothing more distracting than being hungry or thirsty.

These small efforts will pay off in spades with the benefits you receive from meditating well.  

Observe Thoughts Without Judgement

You may have mastered the art of emptying your mind, but you will always have thoughts from floating through your head. How you respond to those thoughts is what separates simply meditating and meditating well.

When a thought enters your mind, allow it to pass by, not giving it any brain energy or consideration. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t revisit those thoughts post-meditation. Often, these passing thoughts provide great insight into your emotions and mental well-being.

No matter what the thought may be, acknowledge it, accept it and don’t pass judgement on yourself for having the thought in the first place. Thoughts are just that: little ideas that stay inside our heads unless we make a conscious choice to act upon them. The art of meditating properly depends on your ability to not judge yourself for such thoughts.

Eliminate Expectations

What are your meditation goals? How long do you think it will take to reach them? If you have answers to either of these questions, you aren’t meditating properly.

Just as meditating well is contingent upon not judging oneself, it is also devoid of expectations. Sure, you may choose to begin a meditation practice because you want to reduce stress or anxiety, which is completely reasonable. The problem arises when a value is attached to the goal; it not only undermines the whole point of meditating, but it also opens you up to another avenue to judge yourself.

Leave your goals at the office.

Be Receptive to Change

No two meditation sessions will ever be the same, and they shouldn’t be. If you begin to notice patterns of distraction, thoughts or other enemies to meditating well, you may need to alter your practice.

Maybe you find a new environment to meditate, or perhaps you find that repeating a mantra helps you to stay more focused. Whatever it is, make the adjustments you need for your practice to produce the best possible results.

You may also want to try a guided meditation to help maintain your focus. There are many guided meditations available on the Mindbliss meditation app. Download the app today to begin your guided meditation journey.  

Allow Flexibility

Meditation can take many forms. Allow it to do so, without question or hesitation. You may be moved to meditate at work during a stressful day. You may typically meditate when you get home but know that in a certain moment, you could really use the support of meditation. Honor that.

You don’t always have to meditate in the same place and at the same time every day. There are many points in the day that may require meditation. Engage in your practice whenever you need. It’s your practice, own it and do it your way to meditate well.


Create a pattern of meditation. Try to find time to meditate every day and carry out your meditation at the same time each day, if possible. Our busy schedules won’t always allow for this, but no matter when you come to your practice, come with an open heart and an open mind.

Research tells us that is takes 21 days to form a new habit. If the prospect of daily meditation is a daunting one, give it three weeks and see how repeating this practice can enhance your well-being. As with most things in life, the more you do it, the more fruitful your meditation practice will become. Use this guide to learn how to meditate properly and allow your practice to blossom.

Meditation is a practice. If you want to do it properly, you must practice. As with most things that you ‘practice,’ it’s not easy and is often downright challenging.

Bleacher Report recently named Michael Jordan as the most successful athlete of all time. How did he get there? Practice. He didn’t achieve this designation overnight It took thousands of hours of blood, sweat and sacrifice to achieve such an honor. Meditation is no different.

Well, it is a little different in that it’s not about competition, but the notion of tirelessly practicing at something to gain honor holds true.

Anything that is worth doing is worth doing well. Don’t shortchange yourself with a sub-par meditation practice. Honor yourself. Put in the work and begin to meditate properly today.

If you’d like to dive further into your wellbeing and personal growth, download our Mindbliss Meditation App HERE from your iPhone/Android. We have a large and diverse range of 400 (and growing) quality meditations and are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

10 Easy Ways to Become More Mindful

January 14, 2019 in Articles

Mindfulness. Whether you realize it or not, it’s something that you engage every day. You mind the time as you are getting ready in the morning (you don’t want to be late!), are mindful of the other drivers as you commute to work (nobody wants to get in an accident) and mind your kids as you try to throw dinner together (probably should’ve ordered pizza). These are all involuntary, unintentional examples. But what about intentional mindfulness, in the form of mindfulness meditation? The kind that involves specifically meditating on your thoughts or actions to bring inner peace and relaxation?

Mindful meditation is just that: being mindful. It is practiced by settling down in a calm environment, quieting your mind and focusing on your breath. During mindful meditation, you explore your mind and allow passing thoughts to drift by, not succumbing to distraction. This is much easier said than done, especially in our fast-paced world with unlimited distractions.

Eliminating distractions is difficult; most people can only manage to do so in small doses. There are few among us who can sit for minutes, even hours on end successfully practicing mindful meditation. Fortunately, you can easily center yourself and quiet your mind in as little as one minute.

Despite the limited time commitment, many believe that they can’t fit meditation into their life. They are wrong. Every day, we are presented with countless opportunities to practice mindfulness, and instead, choose to check our phones or complain about the traffic.

It’s time to make a change! Here are ten quick and easy steps to become more mindful.

1. Check-In With Yourself

When was the last time you took time for yourself? You probably don’t even remember. When you check in, you practice much-needed self-care by taking the time to consider your physical, emotional and mental well-being. This consideration is a form of mindful meditation. You can do this is the car, as you are taking a coffee break, or while waiting in line at the grocery store.

Start by taking a deep breath. Think about every part of your body. What sensations each part may be feeling and if there are any ways you can improve or savor those sensations. Perhaps you discover that you are hungry and want a snack? Maybe you realize that the tag of your shirt is itchy and you should cut it off. Whatever it may be, take the time to check-in with yourself, you may be surprised by what you learn and how easily you can increase your comfort.

2. Be Mindful About Your Music

US consumers spend an average of 24 hours per week listening to music. That applies to 91 percent of the population who reports listening to music on a regular basis. That’s an incredible amount of time spent on one activity. Granted, most people listen to music while doing other things, like riding in a car, working or exercising.

The next time you listen to music, you can easily practice mindful meditation, too! Reduce as many external distractions as possible, like your cell phone. Don’t skip around stations or songs, focus on listening to a single song from start to finish. As you listen, try to isolate the different sounds: the vocals, bass, guitar and drums. Notice any emotions that are evoked by the lyrics and explore the motivations for those emotions.

Listening to music is a simple thing, but when done mindfully, it can make a huge difference in your self-awareness and well-being.

3. Add Inspiration to the Unexpected

Life can be pretty dull if we allow it to be. We get in the car, we run an errand, we go online. Do these things inspire us? Not really.

But what if you conscientiously wove intentional, inspirational symbols into your routine? This could be anything from a charm on a keychain, a photo of a cherished loved one on your dashboard or creating a meaningful password for your email account.

When you see these things, you are triggered to become mindful and spend a moment meditating on that idea or person. You can take your daily routine from being just that – a routine – to being a journey into mindful meditation.

Interestingly, most of us were much better at this in our adolescence. As a means of expressing ourselves, we would decorate our lockers, scribble on our sneakers and hang posters on the wall; all of which would bring people, places and things to mind.

We’re not asking you to start bedazzling your notebooks, but maybe you add a post-it note to the fridge that has a favorite verse or saying written on it? Adding small cues to daily life will inspire you to practice mindful meditation on a regular basis.

4. Relax With Purpose

What do you do to relax? Read a good book? Sit outside and watch the sun go down (or come up)? Maybe you like to binge watch your favorite shows? Whatever you to do unwind, do it with purpose.

As you settle into whatever it is you do to unwind, rid yourself of distractions. Turn of your phone, put the kids to bed and get into a place where you can fully engage in what you’re doing. Think about how you feel in the moment. Explore your emotions and consider not only what you are feeling, but why. Fully immerse your senses to truly enjoy doing nothing.

This is difficult to do. It’s challenging enough to find time in the day to do something for yourself, let alone incorporate mindful meditation into the activity. When you do, you are not only giving your body and mind the break it needs, but you are feeding your soul.

5. Be Intentional About Your Routine

There are a few things we do every day. We brush our teeth, get dressed, make breakfast, etc. We do them the exact same way every day with little effort or thought put into it. Many of these tasks are as involuntary as breathing.

As you are preparing for the day, be mindful of every part of your body that is being used to complete a task. Think about how your arms move, how your mind processes and the outcome of your symphony of senses coming together to reach a common goal.

Take it a step further by using your non-dominant hand to do things like shaving, brushing your teeth, or curling your hair. In order to complete those tasks with your non-dominant hand, you must be extremely mindful of every step and intentional about the way you do it.

6. Create a Mindful Environment

The environments where you live, work and play can have a profound impact on your ability to be mindful. If any of these environments are messy, unorganized or just plain ugly, you will have a hard time enjoying the stress-reduction benefits of mindful meditation.

Take the time to make these environments comfortable and happy for you. Declutter, clean up and add some personal pieces that encourage mindfulness. Things like favorite books, family photos and religious icons are simple, inexpensive additions to your décor that will prompt you to engage in mindful meditation.

Also, consider adding art to places where you spend a great deal of time. According to researchers at the University of London, looking at art creates a surge of dopamine in the brain, evoking the same feeling as being in love.

7. Love Thyself

As the saying goes, “we are our own worst critics.” It’s absolutely true. We give those around us immeasurable grace but fail to extend the same courtesy to ourselves. Despite our best efforts to remain positive on the outside, the reality is that most of us are very negative about ourselves on the inside.

When you notice yourself doing this, take the time to be mindful and rid yourself of the negative thoughts. Acknowledge that what your doing is hurting you in the long run and know that almost every other person has the same struggle.

Dig deep and consider why you are so hard on yourself. Is it being caused by a past hurt, an insecurity, or a childhood wound? Whatever it is, shift your focus and mindfully meditate to foster more self-love.

8. Actively Listen

As our world becomes less and less personal, this skill becomes more and more important. Sure, you may have 500 Facebook “friends” but how many of those people would you call in an emergency or take on a vacation? The fact of the matter is that many of us – a third of Americans, in fact – are lonely. We have fewer and fewer face-to-face interactions and when we do, they lack quality.

Combat loneliness by bringing mindfulness to your next conversation. Listen to your companion with each of your senses. Resist the urge to think about what you want to say next and instead hang on their every word. Lean in, nod, make eye contact and don’t let distractions keep you from truly listening. Mindfully meditating on the conversation will help you become a better listener and friend.

9. Complain and Consider 

Complaining, although considered negative by most, is actually a healthy expression of emotion. When you have strong feelings about something you want to vent about it; it’s a natural human response to adversity. Don’t judge yourself for being honest about your feelings (see Love Thyself). But do explore the cause of the complaint.

When you find yourself complaining, be mindful about the root cause of the issue. Is it that you have an inherent bias against the subject and no matter what they do, it will be met with your disapproval? Does the person or experience causing the complaint remind you of something negative in your past? No matter what the source may be, mindfully meditate to explore it and consider ways you can avoid having the same complaint in the future.    

10. Slow Down

Everyone wants to go fast. It doesn’t matter if you are running 10 minutes early or five minutes late, even the slightest delay on the road can send an otherwise sane person into a road-raging tailspin. Why? Society pressures us to be first in everything, even first in a line of traffic. Don’t give into the pressure!

No matter what your destination, whether you are 10 minutes early or five minutes late, the outcome will be the same. It’s easy to let our blood pressure rise when we are in a rush and want to be on time. The reality is that our obsession with the clock is never worth the stress. The next time you feel the urge to rush, be mindful about what you are doing, where you are going and that you will get there, one way or another, whether you are early or late. Making a certain time is simply not worth the fuss.

Slow down, take a deep breath and rest easy in the calm of mindful meditation.

Everyone, no matter what their schedule can find time for mindful meditation. It’s easy if you have the right tools. Enjoy the benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction by using these 10 quick tips to transform the way you see your world.

If you are already on the path toward mindfulness and would like to take it a step further, consider using a guided mindfulness meditation. Download Mindbliss meditation app to begin your journey.

We have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations and are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

Positive Affirmations: How They Work, 10 Tips and 13 Examples.

November 19, 2018 in Articles

“What You Think, You Become”.

Behind this seemingly empty #instaquote is something truly profound. The philosophy that we can envision an ideal version of ourselves and then manifest that image into reality is not only hopeful, it is possible. This is not to say that we can envision ourselves into becoming perfect superheroes, BUT we can become the best version of ourselves. This is not Hocus Pocus. This is science.

So, what does the science say?

In one study using fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans, the reward centers of the brain associated with pleasure were activated in participants who practiced self-affirmations. These feelings of pleasure acted as a motivating factor toward the continued practice of self-affirmations.

Another study also found that practicing affirmations increased activity in the self-processing systems found in the brain’s cortex. These self-processing systems act as emotional buffers counteracting painful, negative, or threatening information that contradicts a person’s positive self-regard. This neural activity positively predicted increases in the desired behaviours of participants practicing affirmations.

In other words, a regular practice of positive affirmations increases the likelihood of turning affirmations into positive actions and positive feelings. This is because the more you repeat something to yourself the more your brain believes it. The more your brain believes it, the more likely you are to act on it because you already believe it is possible.

In the same way the practice of learning a new language restructures and strengthens your brain, so too does the practice of learning to think positively. Due to neuroplasticity, the brain continues to rewire itself overtime in response to various changes in our emotions, thoughts, body, and environment.

How to Practice Positive Affirmations?

There are 10 essential elements that will help turn your positive affirmations into positive results.

#1: Discover what you want to change or conjure more of into your life.

Start by making a list of the areas of your life where you would like to see changes happen. You can also make a list of the areas that are going well and that you would like to see continue. Is it a desired emotion you want to feel more regularly? A change in your environment? A behaviour you want to let go of? Whatever it is add it to your list. Now circle your top five desired areas.

From this smaller list pick just one area as your starting focus. You can always return to this list when you want to practice other positive affirmations.

#2: Be SMART.

As with any goal, the most successful aspirations must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable or Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. Even if your unique positive affirmation does not meet all of these criteria it is essential to keep it as focused as possible. This will help create a very specific image in your mind’s eye that is attainable in the real world.

#3: Focus on the positive.

To increase the likelihood of success it is important to state your affirmation as a positive sentence rather than using a negative sentence structure. The brain focuses on key words rather than a full sentence, so, if you make the statement “I am not weak” your brain will ultimately focus on the word “weak. It is therefore best to rephrase this as the positive statement “I am strong”.

#4: Focus on the present.

Write your positive affirmation in the present tense instead of future-focused. For example, “I am strong” instead of “I will be strong”. Writing your statements in this way helps your subconscious mind believe it is already happening. This will help naturally ease the transition from affirming to doing. It also helps your brain create the positive feelings associated with your desired change and this reward will encourage your continued practice.

#5: Affirm in first person.

Write your affirmation with “I” instead of “you”. For example, “I am happy” rather than “You are happy”. This helps instil a stronger sense of identity in the brain. You can also add your name if that is helpful for example, “I, Alex, am happy”.

#6: Connect the feeling to the behaviour.

Desired behaviours that are tied to positive feelings are more likely to turn into real actions. This is because pleasure acts as a reward that you will want to repeat again and again. For example, “I stand up for myself and I feel empowered” rather than “I stand up for myself”. The feeling word “empowered” strengthens the affirmation.

#7: Create a detailed image.

Incorporate the previous steps into a detailed visualization of your positive affirmation to keep in your mind’s eye while you state your mantra. Be specific on where you are and who you are with but most importantly focus on how you feel. Remember, your feelings are the greatest motivating factor toward your desired goal.

#8: Practice on a regular basis.

As with any desired change, whether it is breaking an unwanted habit or learning a new skill like playing an instrument, “practice makes perfect”. Or as close to perfect as possible. The more frequently you practice your positive affirmation the stronger your brain rewires itself to accept these mantras as true. This will follow into desirable behavioural changes and the associated positive feelings will take hold.

#9: Be mindful of triggers.

There may be certain positive affirmations you are not ready to hear. For some people, using kind words towards themselves can actually be very painful. This is often the case if abusive words were heard during childhood. For example, the positive affirmation “I am worthy” can actually make some people feel worse because it may be unlocking painful memories where they were made to feel the opposite.

These negative abusive words can feel more truthful than any positive affirmation. If this is the case it may take longer to believe your positive affirmations but that is ok. Pace yourself, stop as needed if it becomes too painful, use a different mantra, and return to the original positive affirmation when you are ready. There is no rush, so take your time and be kind to yourself as much as possible.

#10: Find the best way to practice for you.

There is no one way to practice positive affirmations. You may want to create your own mantras, or you may want to use other people’s words. Some people may find it best to listen to guided positive affirmations through the Mindbliss app, especially if it is too painful to hear your own voice saying the words.

The key is to make sure you schedule a consistent practice, visualize your positive affirmation as vividly as possible, and try to feel the mantra take hold in your body.

Here are some common positive affirmations to get you started.

Be sure to add your own name and details to make it as specific to your needs as possible. 🙂

1. “I am strong.”
2. “I am worthy.”
3. “I am doing my best.”
4. “I am lovable.”
5. “I love myself.”
6. “I feel happy.”
7. “I feel empowered.”
8. “I have what I need and I feel content.”
9. “I exercise for an hour a day and I feel strong.”
10. “I am successful at______and I feel confident.”
11. “I take care of myself everyday by______and I feel loved.”
12. “I practice______ and I feel in control of my life.”
13. “I achieve______ and I feel accomplished.”


Alexandra Trottier is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). She has a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology degree from Yorkville University and is certified in Applied Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation from University of Toronto.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to listen to affirmation audios and more Mindbliss meditations, download the app by clicking HERE from your iPhone or Android.

At Mindbliss we have a large and diverse range of 370 (and growing) quality meditations. We are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

Let us know how this meditation worked for you, we would love to hear about your own progress.

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

Chakras, What Are They and How To Use Them

June 4, 2018 in Articles

What are Chakras? Most people have heard of the “7 Chakras,” but what are they really?

In essence, the chakras are dynamic energy centers within the body that influence the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Each chakra has its own characteristic, name, and color, and governs different areas of the body. 

The chakra points are located along the spine; starting at the tailbone and ending at the crown of the head. Although the chakras are rooted in the body, however, they actually extend outside of the physical body, composing the auric field. In order to better understand what the chakras are and how to use them, it’s smart to start at the root and work your way up. 

A Brief History of the Chakra System

The word “chakra” comes from Sanskrit, meaning “wheel,” and the first mention of the chakra system can be found in the Vedas (an ancient Indian text). However, many metaphysicians believe that the concept was around long before this. The chakras are often linked to yoga in ancient descriptions, as the benefit and purpose of the practice help to strengthen the chakra system, and vice versa. Moving from the Vedas into yogic philosophy, the chakras have been well-documented and explored. However, oral tales and traditions are also responsible for keeping the knowledge alive. 

Interestingly enough, the chakra system is also historically connected to Tantric practices, which are largely misunderstood in Western culture. Tantra means “loom,” which suggests that Tantric philosophy supports the chakras by deepening the exploration of polarity, the above and the below, and the balance of the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. 

Chakra studies were introduced to the Western world by Sir John George Woodroffe, also known by his pen name, Arthur Avalon, who authored the book The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga in 1919. Two decades later, former priest C.W. Leadbeater wrote The Chakras, which offers a clairvoyant take on the chakra system via detailed descriptions and colorful illustrations. 

Interest in the chakras swelled in the 1960s, during the “hippie” revolution, quickly picking up speed and forming the basis of the “New Age” movement. In modern times, chakra has practically become a household word. While not many are aware of the full system and how it works, there’s at least a base understanding and an open-minded interest in learning more about these dynamic centers of life.

Chakra One: ROOT

The Root Chakra is where our journey through the chakra system begins. This is our center of survival, security, and primal needs.

  • Location: Base of the spine
  • Color: Red
  • Element: Earth
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Feet, legs, bowels
  • Theme: To “be”
  • Balancing chakra: Crown (located at the head)

When a chakra is blocked or closed, the energy within it is slow or stagnant, affecting the body parts and organs that it’s connected to. On the flip side, when a chakra has “too much” energy, it can absorb the energy from surrounding chakras, as well as overwhelm the entire energy system. The idea is perfect balance and harmonybetween chakras.

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Root Chakra:

  • IBS and other digestive issues
  • Weak ankles/knees
  • Feeling ungrounded
  • Financial problems
  • Concerns about personal safety
  • Irrational fears
  • Greed and possessiveness
  • Nervousness

Consider the sensations that arise in the body when we’re thrust into fearful situations, such as a reaction to fire, snakes, spiders, or even a near-death experience. We’re often intensely focused on our physical safety, becoming instinctive and animal-like in what we perceive to be a life-or-death situation. Our Root Chakra is our connection to our primitive, needs-based side, where the main concern is safety and survival.

Although many of us enjoy a life that meets our basic needs (like food, clothes, and shelter), we can easily succumb to a fear state when the Root Chakra isn’t functioning properly. To keep the Root open and flowing, there are many activities that you can practice that can help you form a deeper connection to your body and the earth.

Steps to Unblock Your Root Chakra:

  • Grounding: An easy way to ground is to kick off your shoes and simply allow your feet to touch the earth. Take a few moments each day to sit on the earth, as well, allowing this chakra point to touch the earth.
  • Aromatherapy: Woodsy, earthy essential oils and scents can help balance the root. Try pine, oak, juniper, and cedarwood to offer your root stability and security.
  • Veggies: Root vegetables are great for this chakra of the same name. Anything that’s grown in rich, dark soil can help nourish your first chakra.

Chakra Two: SACRAL

Moving up to the second chakra of the 7 chakras system, we come to the Sacral Chakra. This is where our deepest emotions and sensations are held and expressed, as well as the balance of light and dark, yin and yang, and our creative potential.

  • Location: Underneath the navel, within the lower abdomen
  • Color: Orange
  • Element: Water
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Reproductive system, kidneys, bladder, hips, lower back
  • Theme: To “feel”
  • Balancing chakra: Throat

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Sacral Chakra:

  • Addiction
  • Emotional imbalance
  • Bladder issues
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Sexual confusion or shame

The key is to allow our emotions, pleasures, and creativity to flow unencumbered, but maintain equilibrium.When we’re overcome by desires and emotions, we can easily get thrown off kilter. Practices that encourage honest, healthy expression and deep emotional connection can help strengthen the Sacral Chakra.

Steps to Unblock Your Sacral Chakra:

  • Baths: This practice not only allows you to surrender to the senses, it encourages you to literally “go with the flow.” If you’re able to bathe in fresh, moving water (such as a river or the ocean), even better!
  • Artistic expression: Paint, garden, cook – anything that allows you to create.
  • Sweets: Naturally-sweet foods, such as carrots, papaya, and mangos are great for the sacral chakra (especially when consumed in liquid form).

Chakra Three: SOLAR

The Solar Plexus is the next stop on our journey up the chakra points. This is where our inner fire stirs, igniting self-confidence and willpower.

  • Location: Above the navel, within the upper abdomen
  • Color: Yellow
  • Element: Fire
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Stomach, spleen, gallbladder, liver, pancreas
  • Theme: To “do”
  • Balancing chakra: Third Eye

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Solar Plexus Chakra:

  • Indigestion
  • Weight issues
  • Fatigue
  • Insecurity
  • Lack of self-esteem (or overabundance of it)
  • Weak will
  • Control issues
  • Excessive anger

Overly-confident people are often characterized by a protruding midsection, proudly strutting their stuff. On the flip side, people who don’t have much confidence are usually seen hunched over, as if in defeat or timidity. Make sure to aim for the perfect balance of the elements.

Steps to Unblock Your Solar Chakra:

  • Exercise: This chakra thrives on doing, moving, and action, so incorporating an exercise routine into your wellness practice is recommended.
  • Mantras: Creating empowering mantras or affirmations that you can chant throughout the day can help build your willpower and confidence. Some examples would be, “I can do this,” or “I embrace my fire.”
  • Willpower: Make a list of goals and stick to it. Checking off tasks or accomplishments helps us with accountability, further enhancing self-confidence.

Chakra Four: HEART

This chakra is known as the Heart Chakra. It’s the area where we nurture and express our love and compassion.

  • Location: Center of the chest
  • Color: Green (can also be pink or gold)
  • Element: Air
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Heart, lungs, arms, circulatory system
  • Theme: To “love”
  • Balancing chakra: All of the chakra points balance the heart

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Heart Chakra:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Circulation problems
  • Heart disease
  • Tendency to hold grudges
  • Codependency
  • Loneliness
  • Self-sacrifice
  • Grief
  • Jealousy

Here in the middle of the 7 chakras lies the literal and metaphysical heart. When our lives are out of harmony, especially in giving and receiving love, the heart chakra may become affected. Quite often, when our hearts get hurt by betrayal, grief, or unrequited love, we close the heart off completely. While this may work as a temporary protective method, closing the heart interrupts the flow of the entire body.

The heart chakra thrives only on open, unconditional love. Thankfully, there are many ways to heal this chakra and use it to deepen your connections.

Steps to Unblock Your Heart Chakra:

  • Open your heart: Not only do we need to trust our hearts to others, we literally need to expand the chest. Deep-breathing exercises can help with this – expanding and invigorating the lungs and the heart.
  • Practice gratitude: Nothing is more inspiring than thankfulness when it comes to this chakra. When we take the time to express our appreciation for ourselves, our family, and the whole of humanity, we nurture our hearts while expressing pure, unconditional love and compassion.
  • Respecting boundaries: Be more mindful of the balance of give and take, and disengage from any relationships that are not equal in this regard. Try not to over-sacrifice or adopt a martyr mentality.

Chakra Five: THROAT

Moving higher, we come to the Throat Chakra. This is where we express ourselves and honour our personal truths.

  • Location: Throat
  • Color: Bright blue
  • Element: Ether
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Throat, neck, shoulders, mouth, jaw, thyroid
  • Theme: To “speak”
  • Balancing chakra: Sacral

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive throat chakra:

  • Jaw tightness
  • Throat discomfort
  • Shoulder pain
  • Thyroid disease
  • Excessive talking (or excessive silence)
  • Speaking issues
  • Pathological lying
  • Problems with communication

Offhanded comments such as “Be quiet,” or “You’re wrong” can unknowingly do a lot of damage to this delicate chakra point. Whenever someone shuts down our expression, we go even deeper into hiding.

The key is open communication that’s expressed in constructive, encouraging, and safe environments

Steps to Unblock Your Throat Chakra:

  • Chant: Find a healing, inspiring mantra or affirmation that you can repeat to open up the throat area. Simply encouraging purposeful movement and expression here can go a long way!
  • Sing: If anyone ever told you that you “can’t” sing, it’s imperative that you include this practice in your life. Whether you think you can or not, try it anyway. Don’t worry about how your voice sounds, but instead concentrate on the act of expressing without fear.
  • Journal: Writing is a very healing, introspective form of communication that can help you explore any emotions, memories, or wounds that are at the root of your expression issues.

Chakra Six: THIRD EYE

The sixth chakra, also known as the Third Eye Chakra, is where deep knowing and intuition dwells.

  • Location: The center of the forehead
  • Color: Indigo
  • Element: Light
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Eyes, ears, pituitary gland
  • Theme: To “see”
  • Balancing chakra: Solar Plexus

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Third Eye Chakra:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • Illusions or hallucinations
  • Denial of intuitive abilities

We’re all born with a “sixth sense” that helps us channel our inner knowing to feel out people and situations.When this area gets muddled, we can fall victim to confusion or disillusion, not knowing if our feelings are our ownTo embrace your inherent intuitive abilities, you will need to unblock your Third Eye Chakra:

Steps to Unblock Your Third Eye Chakra:

  • Meditation or hypnosis: The fastest way to connect with the third eye is to disengage from all outside senses and go within. Guided meditation, hypnosis sessions, and binaural beats can help you reach a state of stillness that encourages deeper introspection.
  • Chromatherapy: Incorporate more indigo hues into your daily life, including clothing, crystals, and furniture. Opting for an indigo eye mask and/or bed sheets can help you enhance your intuition while you sleep!
  • Trust: To nurture this chakra, you must trust it. When you get a “vibe” about someone or something that your logic can’t explain away, trust these impressions. Create a deep connection with your intuitive abilities and watch them blossom.


Finally, we reach the 7th chakra of the 7 chakra system! The Crown Chakra, where our connection to the spiritual realm, and the source of the divine is situated.

  • Location: Top of the head
  • Color: Violet/White
  • Element: No corresponding element
  • Corresponding areas of the body: Cerebral cortex, pineal gland
  • Theme: To “understand”
  • Balancing chakra: Root

Symptoms of a blocked, closed, or excessive Crown Chakra:

  • Feelings of disconnect
  • Dogmatic attitude
  • Issues comprehending spiritual concepts
  • Fear of mysticism, the occult, spirituality
  • Denial of the existence of source/God

When our Crown Chakra is closed or depleted, we become disconnected from source itself; closing ourselves off from the the wisdom of our higher selves. It’s only when we can accept our connection to divine understanding that we can enjoy a more fulfilling, enlightening existence. To tap into the potential of the crown chakra, you can practice these steps.

Steps to Unblock Your Crown Chakra:

  • Chanting and exploring the “Ohm”: This mantra is soothing to the crown, and simply uttering it can help balance your other chakra points, too.
  • Transcendental meditation or Vedic meditation: This form of meditation is known to go much deeper than common meditation practices, “transcending” thoughts and the containment of the physical body. It often incorporates a mantra, as well, which further enhances the experience.

Once we deepen our knowledge of the 7 chakras and how to use them, we’re well on our way to optimum health and spiritual enlightenment. As always, balance is the key to fulfillment of the body, mind, and soul.

Let’s start the healing and unblocking of our Chakras with a Mindbliss meditation called Grounding and Alignment. This meditation is designed to stimulate and open the first chakra – the Root Chakra. This cleanses and aligns the vertebral column, purifying and grounding your roots into Earth. Achieving a symbiosis of your heartbeat with the heartbeat of Mother Earth.


If you enjoyed this meditation and would like to listen to the rest of Mindbliss Chakra meditations to heal and unblock Chakras 2 to 7, download the app by clicking HERE from your iPhone or Android.

At Mindbliss we have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations. We are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.

What is the Pineal Gland’s Function and How to Amplify It

June 4, 2018 in Articles

Did you know that you can develop intuition and improve your health at the same time?

Well, you can, through the pineal gland.

You may be asking, well, what is the pineal gland?

The pineal gland, also known as the pineal body, is a small pine cone shaped gland that lies deep inside the center of the brain in the epithalamus. It is a part of the endocrine system and helps to regulate melatonin, which is a chemical produced in the brain that helps the body sleep at night. The pineal gland function lies in governing the production of hormones as well as the maintenance of the circadian rhythm, which is essentially our sleep/wake cycle.

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Gratitude Meditation: Mastering the Art of Being Intentionally Thankful

June 4, 2018 in Articles

What did you think about when you woke up this morning?

Did you lay in bed and begin to make an endless list of things you hoped to accomplish today? Did you hit the snooze button a few times to try to get some more sleep, only to be roused by a hungry pet? Maybe you got up the moment you woke and headed straight to the coffee maker, anxiously awaiting your brew as you hovered over the coffee maker in your pajamas. How ever you begin your day, have you ever considered starting with gratitude?

It may sound strange, but what if you began every day by meditating on things for which you are grateful? You could think about a cherished family member, friend or pet. You could even be grateful for an experience, be it positive or negative, and the impact it made on your life’s journey. Whatever gratitude is to you, meditating on what you value most has the power to change your life. 

In Tibet, many Buddhist monks start their days with gratitude meditation. They are even known to express thankfulness for their struggles and the role those difficulties have played in their lives. Gratitude meditation has roots in Native American Indian culture, as well. It has been said that the elders of some Native American tribes began their days with ceremonies of gratitude for the earth and all its bounty.

Gratitude meditation has existed, in some form, for hundreds of years. It has brought happiness to the sad, peace to the worried and rest to the hurried. This article will explore what gratitude meditation is, meditation techniques and the benefits of gratitude meditation. 

What is Gratitude Meditation?

Before diving into this, it is important to have a solid understanding of the words gratitude and meditation. According to Google, gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. That is a good start, but understand that gratitude is not the same as thankfulness; gratitude takes thankfulness to another level by adding an element of recognition for whatever it is you are thankful for. True, authentic gratitude enables you appreciate and acknowledge all people, circumstances and things in your life.

Meditating is to think deeply or focus one’s mind in silence (or with the aid of chanting) to foster spirituality and relaxation. It is somewhat like prayer, but less goal-oriented in that you aren’t asking for something when you meditate, as is often done in traditional praying.

Put gratitude and meditation together and you get a focused practice of being grateful. You could be grateful for anything from people to places, experiences, possessions, and more. What you choose to be grateful for is truly limitless.

As you consider what it is you are grateful for, you may realize that you ought to develop an appreciation for things in your life that you once perceived as negative. This is not a natural human reaction to adversity, but exploring those areas of your life can open your heart to a whole new world of thankfulness. You may consider a marriage that ended in divorce but produced thriving children, or the death of a dear pet who left behind many cherished memories of joy.

Gratitude meditation enables you to truly be thankful for all things, the good and the bad, because it’s all happened for a reason. Every experience, heartache and milestone took place to specifically shape you into the person you are; what a thing to be grateful for! 

Gratitude meditation is all about being intentional and thankful. It is a free tool that anyone can use at any time to increase their joy and decrease their stress. Who doesn’t want that?

How do you Practice?

Before beginning gratitude meditation, familiarize yourself with the basics of meditation. Meditation can truly take place anywhere, but it is most easily achieved when done in a quiet, comfortable room while seated or laying down. You may also want to make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes that won’t cause your mind to wander.

Choose something upon which you can focus. It could be the sound of a repetitive gong, the flame of a candle, or even repeating a single word or mantra. Start to focus on your breath and notice how it causes different parts of your body to rhythmically rise and fall. When you begin to wander, go back to your original point of focus, focus on your breath and empty your mind.

This is far easier said than done, especially in this fast-paced world of distractions. If you are new to meditation, consider a daily meditation that lasts just a few minutes, adding a minute or so to the meditation as your skills allow. The mobile application, Mindbliss, is a great resource to get you started.

Gratitude meditation is very similar to the concentration method of meditation described above. Follow the steps to prepare for meditation; when practicing gratitude meditation, your point of focus should be on something for which you are thankful. If you struggle to maintain your focus when silent, consider repeating a mantra like, “I am grateful,” to maintain focus in your practice.

If you’re struggling to get started, download the Mindbliss app for some additional assistance. In the app, you’ll find guided gratitude meditation tracks, which will help you focus your thoughts and quiet your mind. 

If you would like to listen to Mindbliss meditations, download the app by clicking HERE from your iPhone or Android.

You could also complement this practice by writing a gratitude journal. This can help you narrow your focus while enhancing your experience. It also provides an outlet to deeply reflect on your life and why you should be grateful. The journal could also serve as a place where you write letters to the people who have, for better or worse, played an integral role in shaping who you are. Putting those thoughts on paper can be deeply therapeutic and may open your heart and mind to a whole new way of being.

What are the Benefits?

The benefits of meditation are well-documented. According to the American Meditation Society, 30 years of clinical studies on meditation have consistently demonstrated that it:

  • Normalizes blood pressure
  • Improves immune function
  • Slows aging
  • Reduces anxiety and improves stress-related disorders
  • Increases relaxation throughout the day
  • Decreases insomnia
  • Improves psychological health and self-esteem
  • Lowers incidence of depression, anger and irritability
  • Improves concentration
  • Increases positive thinking
  • Enhances creativity
  • Facilitates psychological development (

Meditation, when practiced properly, certainly has the power to transform your life.

Additional research has been conducted on how meditation, specifically gratitude meditation, can benefit your health. Although it has not been studied as extensively as meditation at large, clinical research has found that it has many of the same benefits – and more.

The benefits of gratitude meditation were explored in a 2016 edition of the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In this study, Online Training in Specific Meditation Practices Improves Gratitude, Well-Being, Self-Compassion, and Confidence in Providing Compassionate Care Among Health Professionals, researchers trained medical professionals how to use different meditation techniques, including gratitude meditation, and examined how it impacted their patient care. This is what they found: 

These practices (including gratitude meditation, positive-word-focused meditation, loving kindness meditation, and others) benefit patients with chronic pain, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety, but could also be useful for health professionals. According to Fredrickson’s ‘‘broaden-and-build’’ theory, positive emotion leads to better cognitive function, social support, and mental health, all of which can contribute to an overall sense of well-being. Even a fleeting experience of positive emotion temporarily broadens thinking and allows individuals to consider ideas they would not have otherwise considered. Positive emotion gives rise to greater creativity, attention, and ability to integrate many sources of information; in other words, meditation focused on increasing positive emotions could improve clinicians’ cognitive functioning (

What does this mean? The patients whose practitioners received gratitude meditation training had an increased sense of well-being. As a result, their patients received better care and ultimately had better prognoses. It found that gratitude meditation helps doctors, nurses and others charged with patient care have better interactions with their patients, which in turn makes the patients happier and ultimately, healthier. Incredible.

Another study, The Effects of Two Novel Gratitude and Mindfulness Interventions on Well-Being, found that respondents who practiced gratitude meditation on a regular basis (four times a week for three weeks) experienced reduced levels of stress and depression and increased levels of happiness, these participants also kept a gratitude diary ( Many other studies have discovered similar patterns; regularly practicing this meditation, even for as little as a minute a day, will increase your overall well-being.

Not surprisingly, most of the research on gratitude meditation has shown that the more you practice gratitude meditation, the more grateful you will be. Certainly, if you are making a concerted effort to be grateful when meditating then you will become a more gracious person. But have you ever considered the benefits of simply being gracious?

Another recent study examined how gratitude impacts patients with chronic illnesses. In this study, Gratitude Uniquely Predicts Lower Depression in Chronic Illness Populations: A Longitudinal Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Arthritis, researchers found that gratitude was negatively associated with depressive symptoms in patients with chronic illness. They also found that those patients were less stressed and didn’t have as great a sense of helplessness. These patients also had positive assessments of their own health and were more willing to accept their diagnoses. Not surprisingly, gratitude was also strongly correlated to good psychological well-being (

Even though this study did not specifically deal with gratitude meditation, it provides valuable insights on the role of gratitude can play in your life. In the case of these people who are struggling with chronic illness, their diagnosis doesn’t define them. They have gratitude for the path they are on and are able to lead fulfilling, productive lives because they are grateful.

The benefits of gratitude meditation are many. These benefits, which have been proven in countless clinical studies, have revealed that practicing gratitude meditation will:

  • Decrease depression and suicide
  • Increase happiness
  • Increase sleep quality
  • Increase levels of gratitude in day-to-day life
  • Help you overcome obstacles and hardships in a healthy, positive way

In addition to these benefits, gratitude meditation is completely areligious. You do not have to be a part of a religious group or sect to meditate. Although some religions, like Buddhism, use it as a tool to enhance spirituality, it can be used by any person be they a Jew, Muslim, Christian or Atheist, to clear their mind and control their thoughts.

Tomorrow, when your alarm goes off, what will you do? Will you start to start to think about the day’s to-do list, or will you close your eyes, quiet your mind and say, “I am grateful”? Will you hit the snooze button to get five more minutes of sleep, only to get out of bed frustrated by the demands of the day, or will you sit up when that alarm goes off and take a minute to be thankful for a restful night’s sleep? Will you hop out of bed to make your java, staring blankly at the coffee maker, or will you use that time to be grateful for the job you will soon head off to, even though it’s not your dream position?

No matter how you begin your day, consider starting it with gratitude. Gratitude meditation will open your eyes to all that you have to be thankful for, ultimately offering a more positive perspective on life. Start your practice today and see first-hand how gratitude meditation enables you to marvel at the mundane, have hope for the helpless and find peace in persecution. 

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.


If you enjoyed the Daily Gratitude Ritual meditation and would like to listen to more Mindbliss meditations, download the app by clicking HERE from your iPhone or Android.

At Mindbliss we have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations. We are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

Let us know how this meditation worked for you, we would love to hear about how your daily gratitude ritual has impacted your life 🙂

Our Top Tips for Getting Deep Restful Sleep

June 4, 2018 in Articles

Sleep disorders affect over 60 million Americans each year.

People try everything to get those precious and much needed hours of sleep from prescription pills, to melatonin supplements, to late night workouts. People even try to use reverse psychology to convince their minds that they don’t really want to go to sleep. This supposedly makes the brain rebel, and then fall asleep. Counting sheep, taking a shot of whiskey (although alcohol actually blocks the much needed REM sleep), or trying to watch a movie or TV show in the background, are all things people desperately try to get to sleep. Most scientists say that you shouldn’t eat after 7 PM, and that you shouldn’t use electronic devices before going to bed. This is because the blue light emitted from the computer or phone screen suppresses melatonin (Scary Ways Technology Affects Your Sleep, n.d.).

The brain functions using five different brainwaves which serve different arenas of our lives. These include gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta.

Gamma is the fastest functioning brainwave and is only encountered in high states of epiphany, clarity, or ah-ha moments. This typically occurs during creative processes or during drug-induced awakenings.

Beta is the everyday brainwave that is slower than gamma, but helps us concentrate, work, communicate, and function in our day to day lives. The next slowest is alpha.

Alpha is that wonderful state of relaxation where meditation is accessible, and you find yourself receiving bursts of insight about your life.

Theta is a deeper level of relaxation that occurs during very deep meditation (trance or hypnosis), sleep, and during REM sleep. 

REM is when our mind is awake, but our body is asleep. During REM, our mind is working out the details of our day and the bigger picture of our life through the symbolism of dreams. This is an important part of sleep because it helps us feel good about where we’re heading, or it alerts us to potential dangers in our current perspective or relationships.

The slowest brainwaves occur in delta where the brain has no thoughts or images, and the body is the most relaxed. Delta is very important for our physiological functioning. This is when the body heals itself and “resets” so that it feels charged and refreshed the following day (Plagued by Insomnia? 2018

As you can see, sleep is very, very important. However, we live in a world that is filled with distractions and makes our minds hyper active, making it difficult to calm down before hitting the hay.

Artificial light kills our ability for deep restful sleep

Another strange thing that has occurred over time and through the integration of industrialization and civilized society, is the advent of artificial light. This can confuse the mind. When it is completely dark our brains produce melatonin naturally. This is part of the body’s natural biorhythm, and signals to the brain that it’s time for sleep. Artificial light can confuse the mind and halt melatonin production. Melatonin is not only important for sleep, it’s also a very important hormone associated with the menstrual cycle, and the pre-menstrual phase. This is why women get tired when they are experiencing PMS symptoms. It is important to make sure that your room is totally dark, even blocking out moonlight when you go to bed. It’s even been said that in older times people would make sure that there was no moonlight entering their rooms at night, because they believed it was an interference, and also that it brought about strange dreams.

What can we do then, when insomnia is occurring in our lives?

These days people are becoming more involved and educated about the benefits of meditation.

Learning to calm down the mind is like stepping down the brainwave stairs into the arena of theta, delta, and deep sleep.

This means we need to learn how to calm down, how to breathe deeply, and how to quiet the mind. This is not always an easy task! But this is why we’ve created this article, to teach you how to become calmer so that you can get your beauty and brilliant sleep.

First let’s talk about the 3 basic steps to enter into any type of meditation.

These include deep breathing and muscle relaxation technique. Practicing meditation twice a day can keep you in between beta and alpha, and beyond helping you sleep, meditation can help you feel relaxed at work, and ready to take on challenges. So, even if you are meditating in the morning, afternoon, or before you go to bed, start with these steps.

Step 1: You can either lay down with a small pillow to support your neck, but make sure your forehead is parallel to the ceiling. Or you can sit on a chair and make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and that your spine is supported. Next get comfortable. It is very important that you get your limbs in the coziest position possible, get out any coughs or sneezes, and attend to any itches! This way you won’t be distracted once you get started.

Step 2: Next you are going to take in ten deep breaths, then exhale ten times slowly. However, this is not as simple as it sounds. When you take in your first breath say the number “one” in your mind. This helps your mind to focus on something so that you’re not distracted by thoughts that might want to break through and distract you from relaxing. Another great trick is to roll in the inhale and imagine that your breath is the tide ebbing back into the ocean. Roll in as you say “one” slowly until you are at the top of your lungs and you can’t inhale any more. As you pull your breath in imagine that it is being pulled to the top of your head. Hold your breath for a few seconds and become conscious of your body. Is your heart racing? Do you feel jittery? Tell your body to calm down, and to relax. In between counting, continue to tell your body to relax. When you exhale imagine your breath stretching out like the flow of the tide over the sand. Breathe in and out of your nose, and when you exhale say “one” again. Do this ten times slowly until you feel yourself becoming more and more relaxed.

Step 3: The third step is called muscle relaxation technique. Sometimes in order to fall asleep a person only requires these two steps! After doing deep breathing you’re going to go through each part of your body and tell it to relax. Sometimes visualizations are helpful, like imagining that you are sinking deeper into the chair or your bed with each suggestion. Or you could imagine your body filling with light and warmth, or maybe filling with darkness and deep sleep. Start with your toes and say, “My left toes are relaxed.” Then focus your attention and consciousness on your left toes, and feel them getting more and more comfortable. From there tell your right toes to relax. Then your ankles, ankles to your knees, and knees to the top of your thighs. Next tell the trunk of your body to relax, then your lower abdomen and lower back. After this tell your fingers, hands, and wrists to relax. Then tell your solar plexus and middle back to relax. Next tell your wrists to your elbows to relax. Then your chest, heart, lungs, upper chest, and upper back and shoulders to relax. Finally focus on the neck, the throat, the face, and the back of and sides of the head, until you reach the top of your head. When you’ve gone over your entire body, once more tell yourself to relax.

If you are still awake say a simple affirmation over and over again slowly, such as, “I am good, and all is well in my world.” Or, “I will have dreams that will show me what I need to focus on in my life.” Or you can say, “I allow my body and mind to enter into sleep.” If your mind is still active enough for affirmations or mantras, it might do well to use guided imagery. Guided imagery is great because it uses a story, symbols and metaphors to usher you into dreams. You can imagine yourself sitting on the beach watching the tides go in and out. Or you can imagine yourself floating on clouds in the sky. As soon as you enter into imagery without words or language, you will be able to more quickly move into REM sleep.

While using deep breathing and muscle relaxation technique might seem simple enough, sometimes we need a bit of extra help. By downloading our app, The Mindbliss Meditation App on your phone,  you will have access to guided meditations, relaxing soundscapes, soothing nature sounds, and binaural beats specifically for lulling you into deep sleep.

All of these guided meditations and soothing sounds can help your mind focus on something other than the worries or anxieties of the day.

They will distract your mind and help pull you into another world, one that fits your likes or passions. Deepak Chopra really does say it best about the negative cycle of insomnia. He said, “The biggest reason for insomnia is actually worrying about insomnia. Anxiety of not going to sleep is the biggest cause of not being able to sleep.” This is so true. The more we fret and worry about not being able to sleep, the more we spiral into a wormhole of doubt and fear that we won’t be able to perform at work, or that we won’t be able to make money to pay our rent or to buy food, and before you know it you’ve made yourself homeless in your mind! But of course, this is ridiculous. Fear escalates and spirals out of control because physiologically, your body and brain are not rested.

On a more spiritual or emotional note, meditation is not just helpful for sleep because of its calming and relaxing affects. Meditation is a way to help you become more aware of your world, your relationships, and the things that make you happy, sad, or anxious. Becoming aware of what is truly keeping you up at night can be found through meditation.

In my experience, I have endured insomnia when I was not working the right job, when I was not in the right relationship, or I had forgotten to pursue and work on my dreams and life purpose. Our intuition is key when meditating, and it can keep you awake at night so that you can contemplate the things that need changed in your life. Using meditation during the day to work out these issues will prevent your mind from overthinking or being overactive at night. Whichever way you choose to look at it, with meditation you can’t go wrong, and your life will improve no matter what. 💜

If you would like to get deep restful sleep every night, have a listen to our collection of guided meditations, relaxing soundscapes, soothing nature sounds, and binaural beats specifically for sleep, download the app by clicking HERE from your iPhone or Android.

At Mindbliss we have a large and diverse range of 300 (and growing) quality meditations. We are always hard at work curating the best ones for you. 🙂 We hope you love them. 💜

Let us know how these sleep meditations worked for you, we would love to hear about your experience. 🙂

With Love,

The Mindbliss Team.