By Bridie Walsh
Our connected and interconnected world of mobile technology can be a distraction, but guess what? Some distractions are good for you.
Instead of ‘switching off’ from technology altogether, we’ve found some apps that can help you find ways to ‘switch off’ from the busyness and distractions of life whilst staying online.
Find the mindfulness and get the relaxation your body and soul need with these five apps.
Meditation can benefit anyone, claims Headspace. Even though meditation is rooted in religious and spiritual practices, you don’t need to be religious to do it.
Headspace has even explored the science for you, so you can find out about how meditation benefits the body and mind. Benefits include: peace and wellbeing, focus, creativity and improved relationships.
If you were wondering how and why creativity improves, Headspace say it has to do with the remapping that happens in the brain, evidence points to measurable changes after just 11 hours of practice. “Divergent thinking” increases, leading to new ideas and what we categorise as greater creativity.
This app’s quirky graphics encourage the fun. Follow the voice-led meditations with Headspace cofounder Andy Puddicombe. There’s a free 10-day trial and then you pay for more services with monthly ($12.95pm), yearly ($7.99pm), bi-yearly ($6.24pm) and forever ($495.95) payment options. They have 700 hours of video – so plenty to get through.
Apple and Android friendly, Headspace Version 2 has bugs they are working on (they talk about it on their web), but the user-based feedback in Google Play is overwhelmingly positive.
This is an app that puts you in a good mood before you even begin – just by reading the title. It promises to give you a sense of clarity, calm and contentment using mindfulness meditation techniques.
The web and app-based program is designed to help bring balance to young lives, writes the Australian-based business. The trial offers a five minute “body mapping” session guaranteed to restore a sense of calm.
Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit initiative, operating solely on donations. They target youth aged seven to 17, in particular, because the founders are experts in youth and child therapy and meditation and believe peace of mind promotes happy and compassionate kids. They offer education, sport and corporate versions so you can use them to guide groups through a meditation practice.
Users have reported some glitches in downloading or storing data. I used the web version but I did have trouble setting a reminder. So it is still a little buggy. Despite this, there’s a lot of useful information and tools you can apply straight away. So it’s one to watch, and it’s free!
Invite world renowned meditation teachers directly to your smartphone via The Mindful App. Cofounders and creators Magnus Fridh and Martin Wikfalk developed the app to increase people’s ability to live in the present.
It’s simple (and very blue) design share meditations that help you pay attention to your breath, feel gratitude and bring awareness to the present. The meditations play to the sounds of Buddhist prayer (singing) bowls and gently spoken reflections.
Guided options or silent meditation with bells, mindfulness notices and 3 minute, 5 minute, 15 minute and 30 minute mediations gives the busy and the overbooked a number of options to stop and take a moment out of the day.
The latest version is $1.99 to download and comes with seven different meditations. Once you’ve exhausted them you can top up by paying 99 cents for in-application updates and new meditations. Choose this app for its simplicity. Plus there’s a version for pregnant women and their partners.
If you think being good at meditation is like some people are good at sports and others are good at music – think again. Simply Being, created by Richard and Mary Maddux of Mediation Oasis, say meditation is innate to us all. Their app simply helps you connect to what you already know how to do.
Choose from four different meditation times, with or without music or nature sounds. In fact, you can choose to listen to the music or nature sounds without the guided meditation. Great for going to sleep.
Now available on Apple and Android (no web-based application here, but lots of useful information on the Meditation Oasis site including their podcasts), Simply Being is $2.28 to buy.
Dealing with stress is the biggest factor meditation helps us tackle.
Mental Workout gives the brain an opportunity to flex its might by “living in the moment”. Created by former Yoga Journal editor-in-chief, Stephan Bodian – who also wrote Meditation for Dummies and Wake Up Now – this app promises a full life by addressing stress, health and wellbeing concerns through meditation. He says “more laughter, enthusiasm for life, stronger immunity, better relationships and improved self-esteem” as some of the benefits of meditation.
For use via the web or on your smartphone, the range of guided five to 40 minute meditations, an eight-week program and video tools gives you lots to access and use.
There’s a free ‘lite’ version that’s fairly weighty in our books (love that) and a full version for USD$16.99 per year.
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