Stress Relief for the Rest of Us

Recently I have had two separate conversations about finding free to low cost resources for folks seeking meditation/stress management instruction and/or practice.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just take a week or two off and go to some peaceful and quiet place and do the practices that help us manage our stress an anxiety.  Throw in having delicious healthy meals that someone else cooks and it really sounds blissful to me!  Of course, we can’t all do that and frequently these things cost more money than we have.

While there are tons of things we can do for free: walking, exercising, yoga tapes from the library, etc.; sometimes, you just need a class or a group to motivate you, keep you on track or just teach you a new technique to add to your stress relief toolbox.

I want to share some of the free to low cost resources I have found to support my continuing journey to control stress and cultivate compassion.


 Susan Piver generously offers the Basic Open Heart Project for free.


Tricyle sustaining membership is $35 a year and includes the print magazine, $30 a year with no print magazine.  Tricycle is a Buddhist educational foundation.  While they are specifically Buddhist, I think there are plenty of useful articles, classes and books that would be of interest to folks who don’t particularly want to immerse themselves in Buddhist philosophy.  For an astonishingly low 30 bucks a year, you have access to their series of e-books which you can download in standard e-book formats.  These e-books are excellent primers on a variety of subjects such as teachings on love & relationships, food, addiction, anger, forgiveness and more.  I think their meditation book is one of the best introductions out there and it’s free with your membership.  They also have “retreats” that you can join live while they are running or go back and take them after the fact as recorded teachings.  Many of the retreats are about some aspect of Buddhism; but, there are several that are accessible to non-Buddhists including Sharon Salzberg’s 28 Day Meditation Program, Sylvia Boorstein’s Whole Life as Practice and retreats on finding happiness at work, dealing with everyday disappointments, the power of forgiveness and more.  The amazing thing about this membership is that the resources are there for folks taking their very first step into meditation and continue on to more advanced discussions about practice and Buddhism.  I can’t say enough about Tricyle and their offerings.



I just started this edX MOOC.  I’m not sure if this is the first time they are running it or if it will be available after, but it’s worth checking out.

Audio Meditation Resources

UCLA Mindfulness Exercises  Great set of standard mindfulness exercises including a body scan exercise, loving-kindness meditation (my favorite kind of meditation and a very important one to put in your toolbox), and basic breathing meditation.

U of Missouri’s Mindfulness Center  Another nice collection of meditations that also includes some food related meditations and links to a meditation timer and a phone app.  The guided meditations and the Teacher Picks (talks) are by some of the leading meditation teachers including Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg.

Insight Meditation Center  This is a link to the meditation center’s audio files of guided meditations.  There are plenty here to try.

 My Favorite Dharma Talks

Dharma talks are teachings that usually happen after meditation at meditation and Buddhist centers.  Many centers have begun recording and posting the audio files of their talks and these are great resources to get you thinking further about ways to reduce your suffering and stress.  I have posted links to my favorite places for dharma talks.

Dharma Punx of NYC/Brooklyn and Noah Levine’s (founder of Dharma Punx) talks tend to be my go to places when I’m in the mood to listen to some dharma talks.

Sylvia Boorstein is one of my favorite teachers and her books were my introduction to mindfulness.

Dharma Seed is a great place to locate the talks of your favorite teacher.  It’s a library of recordings from various teachers and traditions.

Common Ground Meditation Center (MN)  I have an affection for this center and the teachings.  I particularly found “Crash Dharma” helpful after my accident.


Buddhify makes me want to get an iphone.

Smiling Mind online and now an app.  It is free; but, if you love it, I encourage you to donate. Online and an app.  Not totally free; but, worth checking out.

There are a variety of other phone/tablet apps that have guided meditations and meditation timers.


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