Mindfulness is becoming more recognized as a way to help people stay in the moment by meditating and focusing on what’s going on around you at that moment. Studies have shown that breathing exercises and daily meditation can not only help you stay in the moment in the short term, but can actually help you in the long term by shrinking the part of your brain that triggers your fight-or-flight reflex.
One of the new ways people are trying mindfulness and meditation is through apps. Below are a list of apps created to help you practice meditation and mindfulness:
- Stop, Breath & Think – This app helps you monitor yourself by having you check in at different points throughout the day with what your mood is like. If you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can have Alexa guide you through daily meditations. It also works with you to fall asleep faster, improve focus and alleviate anxiety. There’s even a version for kids!
- Welzen – Welzen offers everything from 5-minute sessions to calm down sessions over the course of your lunch break. There are cuddly creatures that correspond to a targeted area for meditation, such as stress relief and improved creativity. This app is good for beginners as it teaches you the science behind meditation and how it alleviates mental stressors.
- Headspace – This app is one of the first, and most widely embraced, wellness apps; it takes your mental health goals as seriously as physical health goals. Headspace can help you draw up a wellness plan by selecting meditation sessions to fit your lifestyle and mood, and then help you apply those sessions to becoming more mindful and compassionate.
- Calm – Calm does exactly what the title suggests; it acts as a gentle noise machine that helps you block out external commotion. You can change what sounds you’re listening to in order to help transport yourself to a calmer, happier frame of mind while you meditate. It can help improve your quality of sleep, and there’s a part of the app that teaches you to focus your breathing.
- 10% Happier – This app is geared more towards skeptics of meditation and mindfulness. The guided meditations are led by some of the most respected mindfulness teachers in the world, and cover topics like how to cope with anxiety, political stress, and falling asleep.
- Smiling Mind – While adults can use this app, it was originally built for children and teenagers. Meditations are divided by age group; children can focus on learning how to identify their feelings, cope with emotions, and learn social skills; teens can focus more on school transitioning and planning for the future. The adult meditation topics include, presence, listening skills, and mindful eating.
There are a lot of mindfulness apps on the market right now, and finding one can be tricky. Don’t give up if the first one you look into isn’t for you. Marlynn Wei, MD, JD published an article that breaks down quite a few of them into what each one offers. If you’re struggling, take a look at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlynn-wei-md-jd/what-mindfulness-app-is-right-for-you_b_8026010.html.