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Updated on:

February 4, 2023

Listening to a guided meditation for stress is a little like listening to a bedtime story. These meditations are designed to create a safe, relaxing experience for your body and mind.

However, they go beyond mere relaxation to triggering powerful physiological and psychological processes that reduce stress.

They are easy to use whether you are new to meditation or have an established practice. You’re guided every step of the way.

Best Guided Meditations for Stress

There are hundreds of guided meditations available online for everything from pain reduction to stress relief. To help you get started, we’ve gathered the best and most effective guided meditations we know for stress. These meditations will guide you through different practices to de-stress your mind and body.

What is Guided Meditation for Stress?

When you are stressed, you’re caught in an uncomfortable mix of physical, mental and emotional symptoms. What’s worse, they provoke each other like unruly children! Your physical tension creates worried thoughts that create feelings of dread. And it’s pretty common to believe you can “think your way” out of feeling stressed.

However, the best way to alleviate stress is to reduce how it is affecting your nervous system. Guided meditations for stress activate the “rest and digest” part of your nervous system to:

  • Activate the relaxation system in your brain and body
  • Reduce stress hormones in your body, like cortisol
  • Boost your immune system and bring down inflammation
  • Slow down your breathing and your heart rat
  • Release neurotransmitters that calm and heal your body

Guided vs Unguided Stress Meditation

Meditation can be practiced in a guided or unguided way. In unguided practice, you sit quietly, doing your chosen meditation exercise on your own, without any external support. Guided meditations are done with the guidance of a teacher. This can be in person or through audio or video recordings.

Guided meditations for stress are an especially good choice. Having someone lead the way when you’re stressed feels supportive and relaxing. For a few minutes, you can let go of “wondering what to do,” sit back and follow the moment-by-moment guidance.

These meditations help you to get out of a stressed “problem-solving” mode into a nervous-system soothing mode.

Who are Guided Stress Meditations for?

Let’s face it.  Just about everyone is experiencing some degree of stress these days–parents, students, office workers, teachers and healthcare workers.

It’s important to make some kind of stress-relieving activity a part of your self-care routine. Long-term stress has many negative effects.

The great news is that anyone can enjoy the many benefits of guided stress meditations. Listening to a guided meditation for even 10 minutes will have a de-stressing effect on your nervous system.

Your amount of experience with meditation doesn’t matter because you are with an experienced guide.

guided meditation for stress, Guided Meditation for Stress

How to Practice Guided Meditation for Stress

Listen to a few recordings

Finding guided meditations that feel right is personal. The content, language and especially the narrator’s voice need to feel inviting and grounding to you. Try a few recordings to find styles and teachers that fit you.

Protect your practice space

When you practice at home, make sure you will not be interrupted or startled while you’re doing your stress-relieving meditation. Do what you need to, to avoid technological or human interruptions during your practice.

Create a comfortable space

Do you feel more relaxed sitting up or lying down? Do you tend to feel cold? Create a place to meditate. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just safe and comfortable.

Listen to your recording

Once you’re settled, listen to the recording. Give it your full attention. Let the narrator’s words and tone of voice sink in. Feel their care and support. Know that they speak from experience and wish you well.

Follow the steps

Especially if you are a beginner, you may question some of the suggested steps. Follow them anyway. You’re listening to the practice because you need to learn new ways to reduce stress. Once you find a teacher that fits you, trust their experience and guidance.

Reflect on your practice

Take a moment for reflection when you complete a practice. What stood out most in the practice for you? Did you notice any physical or mental shifts? Were there particular instructions or phrases that really spoke to you and helped you feel calmer? Would you like to do the practice again or look for one with a different approach?


If you find that you are feeling the effects of persistent stress on your mind and body, we recommend giving guided meditations for stress a try. They are a safe, proven way to help you calm your nervous system and reconnect with a sense of ease.

Many of these practices take just a few minutes and you can listen to them almost anywhere. You’ll gain some peace of mind knowing you have a tool to help you feel better in stressful times.

Medical Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for any professional advice or treatment, including the advice and treatment of a licensed health care or mental health professional.

About the author 

Ann Vrlak

Ann Vrlak is a Certified Meditation Teacher for adults and children (the best job ever) and a meditation practitioner for over 25 years. She is also a freelance writer specializing in meditation and mindfulness, with a special love for creating guided scripts to share the practical and profound experience of meditation.