Whether you’re curious, cynical or a convert it would be rather difficult to ignore Mindfulness with all the attention (pun intended) it’s getting at the moment.
So, partly because Mindfulness is best experienced and partly because I’ve been around the concept and practice of meditation for so long* it’s second nature to me, I decided to test out some of the mindfulness/meditation/breathing apps that are out there. Based on my own experience over the last year or so, these are the results so far:
Headspace: Possibly the most well-known app, all the sessions I’ve listened to are narrated by the founder Andy Puddicombe. It’s a good introduction and has some great animations so suited to visual learners. If you like routine and stability and want to hear the same voice everyday, this is for you. Once you pass the initial 10 sessions, you need to pay to upgrade.
10% Happier:If you’re a skeptic – start here! As well as introduction sessions, there are Q&A’s with some of the leading experts in meditation and mindfulness. Dan (a self-proclaimed skeptic) asks some great questions and comes across as approachable with no waffle. He is a metta convert and for now I’ll leave it to you to find out what that is!
BreatheSync: Only available on iPhone (sorry) and £3.99 this is the app for you if you like short, frequent bursts. By placing your finger over the camera on your phone, it picks up your heart rate to guide your breathing and helps you tune in to your body. Maybe don’t drink your coffee just before doing this one.
YouTube: There are many (thousands) of meditations and mindfulness practices on youtube. If you don’t want to commit to an app just yet, start with a video and stick with one narrated by a voice you enjoy enough to concentrate, not go to sleep to.
Insight Timer: Already a seasoned pro? This app is for you. You can opt for guided meditations or set up your own timers with preferred background accompaniment and gongs to end. Great option if you like to join in when you are leading others.
Are there any great apps you’ve come across that I’ve missed? Please let me know! I always like to have options to recommend to people at different stages. As with wellbeing in general it’s never one size fits all.
If you want to know more about mindfulness for yourself or your workplace, email me and let’s talk!
*At 10 I started with a ‘wisdom word’ and eyes open 5 minute meditation. A couple of years later I was introduced to Transcendental Meditation (TM) starting at with 12 minutes (to match my age) and increasing a minute each year until age 20 (when it maxes out and the recommended practice becomes 2 x 20minutes). I would love to say I do this everyday, as I do feel a clarity of mind when I am meditating regularly. However I’m not immune to modern life and when I don’t fit in my 20minutes I take a shorter period of time for some form of focused breathing. If I am anxious or stressed,a guided practice feels more achievable.