We’ve previously discussed the benefits of mindfulness and meditation on this blog, but today we want to explore how to incorporate these exercises on the go. Mindfulness meditation is the art of being fully present and tuning into our senses, thoughts, and emotions in that very moment with a nonjudgmental attitude. Imagine you sitting in a train station and your only thoughts and emotions in that moment are simply the different trains passing you by. You observe the trains but you don’t jump on every single train that passes. With mindfulness, you are similarly observing your thoughts, without jumping on that “thought train” or engaging with it.
Since this can be a daunting practice to start for beginners, we recommend different apps for guidance. These apps are not only user friendly, but also give us the flexibility and convenience to practice both mindfulness and meditation anytime and anywhere.
Here are our 3 favourite mindfulness apps:
- Smiling Mind is a 100% not-for-profit app that prides itself on offering accessible, lifelong tools to help support healthy minds. This app features hundreds of meditations aimed at different audiences including kids, youths and adults with a variety of environments in mind including daytime, school, work, and bedtime. Smiling Mind offers quick meditations two to five minutes in length if you’re looking for something quick or longer sessions that are up to 45 minutes in length.
- Cost: FREE. We love this app if you’re looking for something that is very accessible and completely free of charge.
- Where to access: Smiling Mind is available on both the Apple App store and on Google play for android users.
- Website for more information: www.smilingmind.com.au
- Headspace is a meditation app that allows you to choose your session based on your preferred length and mood. When you open the app, you will be greeted with fun, cheerful animations. They have a diverse range of content, allowing you to explore what feels right for you in that moment. In addition, they let you download sessions ahead of time so that you can still listen if you do not have access to Wi-Fi or data.
- Cost: With the annual option, they give you a free 14-day trial to try it out, and see if it’s a good fit for your preferences. After that it is either $7.50 a month, or $89.99 a year. There is also a monthly option which allows you to try the app for 7 days free of charge, and then at a rate of $17.99 a month thereafter. There are also student and family plans available that offer additional savings! For example, the student plan is just $9.99 a year.
- Where to access: Headspace is available on both the Apple App store and on Google play for Android users.
- Website for more information: www.headspace.com
- Calm provides guided meditation sessions ranging from three to twenty-five minutes, which topics ranging from calming anxiety to gratitude depending on your needs in the moment. In addition to meditation sessions, they also have functions for sleep, targeted music to help you focus or relax, nature sounds and body sessions that can guide mindful movement and stretching. It is very user friendly and allows you to customize your dashboard.
- Cost: Calm offers two different membership plans. You can either subscribe for the annual plan at $76.99, which offers a 7-day free trial, or you can opt into the lifetime membership for $499.99.
- Where to access: Calm is available on both the Apple App store and on Google play for Android users.
- Website for more information: www.calm.com
Author: Lauryn Dingwall, CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre intern