One of my new years resolutions for 2017 was to get back into practicing mindfulness on a more regular basis. I got into a mediation routine in early 2016 but soon lost it when life got too stressful; exactly when I would have needed it the most! This year I am using technology to help me stay on track with my mindfulness practice, and I have discovered three awesome apps which you can use too.
This was the app I used last year when I first started out as it is basically a beginners guide to meditation. When you first use the app it has a “Take 10” program which takes you through 10 minutes of guided mediation a day. This introduces you to the key concepts in meditation and is an amazing stress reliever. After this you can access two further “foundation” level meditation programs. You can also engage in specific guided meditation series on topics such as appreciation, anxiety and motivation. There are also “single” meditations you can purchase related to things such as eating, commuting and sleeping. The majority of the app is completely free though.
I downloaded this after reading the Calm book. In my opinion, this is one of the most accessible mindfulness apps out there. It has a “breathe” section which guides you through conscious breaths and a unique “sleep” section which contains a selection of relaxing bedtime stories to help you fall asleep. The “meditate” section is the most comprehensive though with numerous guided and unguided meditations, as well 7 to 21 day programs focusing on areas such as happiness, stress management and self-esteem. About 70% of the apps content is completely free but you can also pay for extra plans, stories and meditation tools.
It’s in the name really isnt it?! What I love about this app is that it allows you to choose your key values such as gratitude, simplicity and discipline. It will then tailor your guided mindfulness practice towards these. You can also set certain times for the app to notify you to “pause” – this is a 15 second guided breathing exercise to calm your mind. Honestly, although the user interface isn’t as beautiful as the other apps out there, this is one of the most varied ones I have seen for mindfulness. Not only can you delve in guided meditations, you can listen to talks about topics such as letting go, challenging thoughts and feeling gratitude. Furthermore there is a “night reflection” tool which you can use to reflect on your day and a “check in” tool which allows you to reflect on what you are feeling in the present moment. The vast majority of this app is free, which is a bonus.
So, which one is the best? I think it depends on your preferences. It is probably wise to download them all and have a play around. However, if you’re totally new to meditation then I think Headspace is great for complete beginners.