Get your mind right… one of my promises to myself for 2018. Mindfulness as a way to attack stress has made such an impact on our wellness regime because, let’s face it, stress seems to be always messing us up. Lack of sleep, feelings of grief and guilt, harbored anger or resentment, the list is endless to why we are feeling so down. Trying to feel zen in our hectic lives is not as easy as it sounds – sometimes we need a little help in achieving mindfulness. Lucky for us, in this tech-savvy generation it is at the tip of our fingers. Mindfulness apps have paved the way for us to plug in our ear buds and be in the moment, even if we are on a packed subway or spending waking hours in bed, unable to relax.
For the most part, I do not need much help in the sleep department. There are, however, those nights when I wake up at 2 a.m. night for no apparent reason, then cannot fall back to sleep because my mind is racing a mile a minute with ideas or things I forgot to do. Honestly, what can I do at two in the morning if I forgot to send that email? I mean, I can wake up and send that email, but it really can wait till the morning. My problem is, I will not be able to go back to sleep unless I send it, because it will be all I would think about. Counting sheep will not get me back to my z’s, but listening to sessions on my mindfulness apps helps me calm down and zone out all the things I think I should be doing in that minute.
I actually fell into mindfulness while in a program to become a dog trainer. The approach I was learning was a gentle method, meaning we avoided saying no to the dog but more leading it to do things we wanted or what is best for the dog. So in made sense that our dog guru would be trying to instill calmness in us. If you are agitated, dogs can feel your energy and will, for the most part, mimic your angst or try to run away from it.
Since then I may have lost touch with my dog training (always trying to instill the method with my pup, but never really became a dog trainer), but the mindfulness always stuck with me with all aspects of my life. Especially in these days where temper tantrums run rapid and my nightly glass of wine can only get me so far. Those moments of peace through meditation in the morning set me straight for the rest of my hectic day.
Are you just starting out in your Mindfulness journey? Or just finding it hard to quiet your mind and need some help? Try these apps to help you meditate, be in the present moment, and calm your mind:
This is probably my go to app when it comes to meditation. Its simple, user-friendly interface helps any newbees get right into serenity without any hesitation. It is a “gym membership for your brain”, and just like any membership you can have a 10-day trial to just start out with the basics of meditating to see if it’s for you. With a plethora of topics to confront, feeling overwhelmed, losing your temper, waking up, or falling asleep, you can find a piece a mind for whatever emotions are rampaging your mind at the moment.
Not only do they try to help you as an adult in an adult world, they have a whole kids section. Our kids should find a piece of mind too right? With all the pressure and stimulation our children encounter daily they might need help getting their head uncluttered.
2. 10% Happier
Stemming from the boom of the New York Times Bestseller similarly titled, the 10% Happier core belief is that meditation can essentially rewire your brain. With his success story, Dan Harris dove into podcasts and this meditation app. The meditations are led by a handful of respected mindfulness teachers around the world, including Joseph Goldstein (Buddhist teacher), Sharon Salzberg and George Mumford. It is the app for as Harris calls it “fidgety skeptics”. The free trial starts off with seven introductory sessions, each with a short video and guided meditation. The people at 10% Happier strive to install in us fellow meditators that happiness is a skill that can be taught.
Rather new on the market, this app is more for the hustle and bustle kind of lifestyle, with meditations on the shorter side. The meditation sessions change daily, but make sure to save the ones that you found helpful. The exercises are personalized, short and science-backed. It lets you track your mood patterns with a daily reflection, where you can also record gratitude. Your info is then plugged into a graph so you can visually track your mood and how much it fluctuates.
4. Mind Fi
Why is meditating equated with closing your eyes to feel the whole experience? On Mind Fi they challenge you to meditate with your eyes open to learn how to do it in any situation and be more aware of what is going on around you. They offer exercises to fit your daily routine: while eating lunch, on your commute, at work, even in the bathroom. Meant for those with buys schedules, their sessions are only three to five minutes (like they say the length of a song or a phone call).
5. Stop, Breathe and Think
Pretty self explanatory; we all need to Stop Breathe and Think. Checking in with ourselves is extremely important in these moments where we all seem to be on the go. How are we really feeling in this moment? Sometimes we train ourselves to not really feel, but to just deal. A breath of fresh air, the app starts by asking, “how are you?”. You may be feeling a ton of emotions at the moment. At my first trial, I was feeling fatigued, sick but optimistic. Taking into account all your feels, they give you a choice of mindfulness exercises to try to combat any down feelings or keep up with those good ones too. Rest assured that you will be getting somewhere with your state of mind on your progress page.
6. Insight Timer
With countless free-guided meditations from thousands of meditation practitioners, this app is all about creating your own unique experience with the never-ending choices. Not only in meditation are we guided by a calming voice to lead us through the process, music has incredible capacity to get us into that tranquil feeling.
This app also helps you connect to meditators around the world, a social network linking like-minded people. You can see on the map how many people are meditating at that moment and how much longer their session is. Who knows: maybe you can meet someone in your town or simply talk with new friends about your mindfulness path. You are not alone in this walk.
Unlike its colleagues, you must pay up front rather than an initial free download, so this may not be the best if you are just getting into mindfulness. But you do skip the annual subscription, so it’s a small price to pay in achieving tranquility. The app opens up to a colorful disc where the slices represent mindfulness and meditation exercises that you can click through. If you’re not liking what you see on your wheel of mindfulness, personalize your wheel with adding or removing exercises.