Thursday, 3 September 2015

Stop, Breathe and think - Meditation app review

you may remember last week, when I was discussing my little healthy lifestyle changes (although I’m sure that all the crisps and chocolate I’ve eaten today do not contribute to a healthy lifestyle… but everyone’s allowed a bad day), anyway, back to the point, remember I mentioned mediation? In terms of the benefits, meditation is a really quick winner. I’ve noticed a more general calmness in myself, better sleep and more awareness of what I am feeling. Can’t be bad, hey? You could, of course, sign up with a meditation class (I’m starting one on futurelearn in a few weeks), but if you want something that you can just incorporate quickly and easily, then why not try an app? Of course, there’s apps for everything these days, and if you look for a mediation app, you will be inundated with choice and variety. For my part, I chose the free Stop, Breathe, Think app.

The app itself is provided for a not-for-profit company called, Tools for Peace and whilst there are in app purchases (additional mediations) these are neither heavily sold, nor totally necessary since there are a good selection of free mediations to start off with. That said, I’ve bought one of the upgrade packs, which is tremendously well priced and just offers me that bit more variety.

There are several things I enjoy about this app. Obviously, the fact that it is always available is a big plus, but the interface itself is really intuitive and easy to use. You can choose your meditations in 2 ways. You can ‘check in’ where the app asks you how you are feeling in body and mind, and what emotions you are feeling. It will then offer a short list of around 3 appropriate mediations for you to try, based on this. I meditate this way most evenings, before bed. I find that this time allows me to really ask myself ‘How are you today?’ rather than ignoring any emotions or feelings as I sometimes do. The meditations are short, around 5 – 10 minutes long but really encourage you to just tune out of your surroundings and into yourself. I find that these are the perfect switch off to the end of the day, and on the few occasions which I have failed to check in and meditate in the evening, I have definitely noticed a difference in my quality of sleep.

The other way to meditate from this app is to select your meditation from the full list. Everything from walking mediation, to engaging your senses or gratitude. I’ve done a few mediations this way, either on the train on my way to work, or even on the walk from the train station. It’s a great way to really make you feel present (the walking meditation is my favourite one for this purpose). After each meditation you can then view your progress and see how your body and mind has been feeling over the past week, or how much meditation you have done altogether.

It's a really good app, and a great introduction to meditating. It makes it really accessible, and especially for those who may have a somewhat pessimistic view of the practice, it’s not too fluffy. If you haven’t tried meditation before, or even if you have and would like something just to guide you every now and again, then I would recommend the Stop, Breathe and Think app.

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