You know the feeling - you’re having a busy day, maybe you’ve skipped dinner and you can’t relax because you are constantly thinking about what you have to do tomorrow.
Maybe you've had a day off and you feel the guilt start to creep in about what you should have done today instead of binge-watch that new show on Netflix. This happens to me regularly. I decided that instead of letting the guilt and the worry take over, I would download a mindfulness app and try it for a week.
Wait, what is ‘mindfulness’ again?
When the term ‘mindfulness’ first came to my attention, I scoffed at it.
Mindfulness, according to Miriam-Webster, is defined as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”. Essentially, it involves taking a little time to focus your mind on yourself, becoming aware of your breathing, your body and your feelings. Sounds simple, right?
One of the reasons I wanted to give it a try was because I have a tendency to worry about everything I need to do the next day to the point where I will visualise myself performing all the tasks for tomorrow before I go to sleep. I needed to get out of this cycle of thinking so I downloaded a mindfulness app and started a 3 minute guided breathing exercise.
So, how does the app work?
Most mindfulness apps offer some form of guided meditation or relaxation. You get comfortable, listen to the guide and start focusing on your breathing. At the beginning I felt quite cynical and bit silly, however, I couldn’t deny that when the session was over I felt a little calmer and my body was more relaxed. The best part was that it only took 3 minutes. The app I liked the best had 5 minute guided meditations that you could complete on a daily basis, prompting you to set a reminder for yourself on your phone so that you make the time to do it.
As well as the guided meditations, I also tried listening to a ‘sleep story’ and listening to ambient sounds for a 5 minute period such as waves on a beach. I found the ambient sounds relaxing and helpful for times when I was trying to fall asleep but felt a bit restless. My tip would be to turn your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode or aeroplane mode so that you have no distractions for the duration.
If you think you could benefit from using a mindfulness app, give it a try and let us know what you think. Which app have you tried?