3 mindfulness apps to help keep you calm

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Mindfulness or mindful meditation has gained popularity in recent years for its many scientifically supported benefits, which include easing anxiety, improving sleep, relieving pain and decreasing loneliness (specifically in older adults). Given the high levels of stress many of us are experiencing as we navigate life with COVID-19, there’s never been a better time to try this popular practice.

What is mindfulness?
According to Mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” 

How do you practice mindfulness?
The practise of mindfulness encompasses several different methods including  breathing exercises and guided and unguided meditation. As Mindful.org explains, “When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves—space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.”

Keen to explore this practice? Here are three apps to help you on your journey.

1. Calm

“Join the millions experiencing better sleep, lower stress, and less anxiety with our guided meditations, Sleep Stories, breathing programs, stretching exercises, and relaxing music. Calm is recommended by top psychologists, therapists, and mental health experts.”

This award-winning app – Calm was Apple’s App of the Year 2017 – is suitable for everyone from beginners to advanced users and covers a wide range of mindfulness topics, everything from easing anxiety and managing stress to gratitude, self-esteem, forgiveness and more. Features include mindful stretching and movement, Daily Calm, soundscapes, and audio classes featuring world-renowned experts. And to help you fall asleep at the end of your day, Calm also offers a substantial library of Sleep Stories read by celebrities like Stephen Fry, Matthew McConaughey and Leona Lewis.

Cost: Free – offers in-app purchases.

2. Headspace

“Get happy. Stress less. Sleep soundly. Headspace is your guide to everyday mindfulness in just a few minutes a day.”

Headspace offers a host of meditative features, including Sleep by Headspace, Everyday Headspace, The Wake Up and SOS – sessions for moments of intense stress. The developers of this popular app are also “committed to advancing the field of mindfulness meditation through clinically-validated research on our product,” and “are currently in progress on research studies with large national institutions that could be among the largest mindfulness meditation trials ever conducted.”

Cost: Free – offers in-app purchases.

3. The Mindfulness App

“Start your journey to a more relaxed and healthier state of mind with The Mindfulness App. Whether you are just starting out or experienced in meditation, The Mindfulness App will help you to become more present in your daily life.”

Positioning itself as “meditation for everyone”, The Mindfulness App includes a comprehensive five-day introduction to the practise of mindfulness, making it especially valuable to beginners. Aside from meditations ranging in length from three to 30 minutes, it also has a reminder function to help you remain mindful during the day and keeps a statistical track of your meditation journey.  

Cost: Free – offers in-app purchases.