Use your phone for good with apps that will help to bring some mindfulness to your day.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You've heard that meditation is good for you. Everyone keeps saying that practicing mindfulness will help with everything from your anxiety, difficulty sleeping, to even managing your weight. But nobody becomes a Master of Mindfulness overnight, and it can be hard to stick with something that doesn't come naturally. They call it a meditation practice for a reason. Thankfully there are a bunch of meditation apps out there to help guide you along the way, many of which are even free. Here are a few personal and patient favorites:
This is, hands down, my favorite meditation app. If you are an absolute beginner, this app is wonderful to literally teach you how to meditate. The meditations begin with a lot of guided imagery and instruction, then progress until you are doing most of the work on your own with less hand holding. You can choose from numerous meditation series to tackle a lot of specific issues like Depression, Stress, Sleep, Self Esteem, and Creativity. You can choose the length of your meditations, because in the beginning it might be easier to stick to 10 minute sessions, rather than jumping into a full hour of sitting. There are even several SOS mini-meditations for when you are panicky or are super frustrated. One thing to note: it is free to sign up and try out the 10 day beginner series, but to use all of the additional features you must subscribe to the service which costs about the same as two trips to the coffee shop per month.
This app is 100% free and is amazing for the sheer amount of meditations (over 7,000!) available. Some are quite simple nature sounds or singing bowls, and many are guided meditations from some of the world's best meditation teachers. While Headspace manages a series of meditations to guide your progress, Insight Timer lets you explore a little more, so it might be better for some people who want to try out a lot of different styles and techniques. Insight Timer also focuses on the community aspect of meditation, letting you know how many others are meditating at the same time as you. It is pretty neat to see that you are part of thousands around the world who are meditating at once!
Aura is lovely and very simple to use. It requires just three minutes of your day, so even the busiest among us can get a little zen in. The "Micro-Meditations" are chosen specifically for you on a given day based off of a few questions you answer. So on Tuesday when you are crazy stressed out you might have a very different meditation picked for you than, say, Saturday morning when you are elated to have a fun weekend ahead of you. Other nice features of this app include the ability to log a daily gratitude journal and to track your mood over time. All of these features are included in the free version of the app, with additional features in a subscription plan if you choose.
These are some of my favorite apps out there right now, but there are so so many. Maybe try a meditation app out and see if it can help you start a positive new habit. And it is worth mentioning that a small, daily practice like this can really help support the work we do in acupuncture sessions as well. So why not at least give it a try?