Ever thought about meditation but didn’t know where to begin? Interested in reducing stress, improving sleep, and increasing mental clarity? You’re not alone! Thanks to a large variety of apps, starting a meditation practice is just a click or two away! No need to feel embarrassed or vulnerable with a group of strangers (THANK YOU TECHNOLOGY!); you can meditate anytime or place you wish. Two apps that I use regularly for meditation are Calm and Headspace. They are both great and I enjoy them at different times for different reasons. I typically do my best to get my practice in before lunch. It does not always happen but that is my goal and scheduling it in my calendar always helps. When I meditate daily I feel much calmer and at ease. The overall feeling I experience is hard for me to articulate clearly; however, I feel much more focused and less stressed when I practice regularly. Do your best to commit to a specific time of day (i.e. after you brush your teeth, during your morning commute or lunch break) so your meditation practice becomes part of your daily routine. Consistency is key!
Calm is free on the itunes app store (additional in-app purchases are an option) and has several different features that you can use without spending a single penny. I grew up on the west coast in Oregon so the following scenes are some of my favorites: Mountain Lake, Rain on Leaves, and Sunset Beach. Each scene has a calming sound associated with it so you can easily be transported from your busy office to a tranquil place in no time. (I highly recommend using your earbuds.) After you pick your scene you can choose to set a timer and meditate on your own or pick a guided session (the voice is a female.) I recommend starting with a time increment that feels comfortable for you. There are two, five, and ten minute options.
Headspace is the other app I enjoy using and recommend to my clients. The initial download is free in addition to 10 guided sessions that are 10 minutes apiece. (However, if 10 minutes seems daunting or you prefer ambient sounds I would stick to Calm.) I personally enjoy Andy, (he is the only voice option for this app) the little character who guides your through your daily sessions. I highly recommend a guided meditation if you are a beginner because the instructions are thought provoking and help your mind from wandering. If you want to continue after your 10 sessions, a monthly subscription is required but it can be cancelled anytime. If you enjoy an app that tracks your progress, awards badges, and is all-around more interactive - Headspace is for you! Sometimes when we pay for a service the level of follow through is higher - just throwing that out into the universe.
Take a leap and give one of the above apps a try. It’s free and you have nothing to lose but so much to gain! Feel free to share your feedback or information on other app options that were not mentioned.