New Mindfulness Meditations for Mental Health Month
In honor of Mental Health Month, we’re excited to share three new sessions to support your well-being with guest instructor Elisha Goldstein.
I believe that we have the power to transform the traumas and habitual patterns that keep us stuck in perpetual cycles of stress, anxiety, depression, or addiction, and step into greater freedom and peace. There are practical strategies that help us tap into greater focus and elevated energy. Mindfulness helps us to calm our anxious minds, transform negative emotions, and facilitate greater self-acceptance, freedom, and inner peace. It all starts with awareness.
For me, the path toward change wasn’t a straight line.
In fact, in the beginning it felt like one step forward and two steps back. When I was in my mid-20’s, I was living in San Francisco at the height of the dot com boom, working hard and playing a whole lot harder. I abused my mind and body with drugs and alcohol. I was living a life of high stress and high confusion, but, luckily, I found a way out.
While at a retreat center in Southern California, I was introduced to the simple practice of mindful eating. It felt sort of ridiculous at first. My teacher had me pay attention to the details of an orange: the color, the texture, the feeling of peeling off the rine and smelling the zest. When I put it in my mouth and focused on the sensations, it was literally the best orange I’d ever tasted. I felt relaxed and awake.
That experience planted a seed that never went away.
Over the last 20 years I’ve explored a variety of meditation practices, and I’ve gotten a lot better at understanding my mind. That doesn’t mean when I sit in meditation my mind is perfectly quiet and still (although I have moments of that). It means that I have a wiser relationship with my thoughts and emotions. This attitude of playful acceptance helps me focus on what matters at work, have more quality time with my kids, be more intentionally loving with my wife, and be more gentle with myself.
To support you on your mental health journey, I’ve created 3 meditations available exclusively on the Calm app.
When experiencing depression, we tend to focus on self-critical, self-loathing, disconnected, hopeless and helpless thinking. There's an old saying, "energy flows where attention goes" and now with modern neuroscience discoveries we can add, "and that's how the brain grows." In my meditation Easing Depression, we turn our attention to a state of presence, experiencing the breath as something relaxing, soothing, and nourishing.
We can then take this practice into daily life. When we catch our minds falling into depressive thoughts, we can shift our attention to strength, healing, and confidence. We can breathe in what we’re needing more of, breathe out what we don’t. And, eventually, we learn to relax.
Anxiety is an unsettling feeling based in fear and uncertainty. When we activate our fight, flight, freeze response, our mind and body contract. In this meditation, we focus once again on releasing. By bringing our attention to the breath, we shift out of auto-pilot with a brief mindful check-in, moving into a process of releasing the energy. If you can learn how to focus on your breath, you can learn to relax, release, and let go of anxiety.
Meditation for Restful Sleep
Our overactive minds prevent us from sleeping. In this meditation we shift the focus from thinking to total relaxation of the body. We transition into using the breath to release any unsettling feelings of agitation, restlessness, or worry. We deepen our body’s overall restful state with abdominal breathing, holding the realization that there’s nowhere else to be, nothing else to do. We just allow our body to be as it is, in a natural state of relaxed awareness, letting us drift into a peaceful night’s rest.
About Elisha Goldstein
Elisha Goldstein, PhD, is a renowned author and meditation teacher. He is co-founder of The Center for Mindful Living in Los Angeles and founder of The Mindful Living Collective — a central online gathering space where people learn how to consistently follow through onto things that matter to them with a tribe that has their back. He is also creator of the breakthrough 6-month online coaching program, A Course in Mindful Living. His books include The Mindful Living Card Deck, Uncovering Happiness, The Now Effect, Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook and MBSR Everyday. He has collaborated with Calm to create three new meditation session on Easing Depression, Releasing Anxiety, and Restful Sleep.