Mindfulness Monday: Meditation (& Our Pick for the Best Meditation App)
One of the best mindful uses of technology it to create and support a mindfulness meditation habit. There are tons of benefits that come with mindfulness meditation, including better sleep, lower stress, lower blood pressure, and increased ability to focus, just to name a few. For Apple users, there are a ton of great app options available that feature a variety of instructors to help guide you in the creation of a mindfulness meditation habit, and we just published our review of the best meditation app to help you pick the right one.
Why Mindfulness Meditation is for Everyone
If you’re a bit reluctant to embrace mindfulness meditation, you’re not alone. Many people (myself included) initially think of meditation as a purely spiritual practice, but it’s really about training your brain to sustain focus on the thing you direct it at. If you find yourself distracted by things all the time or procrastinating on your important projects, you stand to benefit greatly from a mindfulness meditation practice.
The heart of mindfulness meditation is a very simple process:
- Sit comfortably.
- Focus on your breath.
- When your attentions wanders, bring it back.
The fact that your mind will wander is the reason that mindfulness meditation is for everyone. We all deal with this. It’s not a question of if your mind will wander — it’s guaranteed to happen. A mindfulness meditation practice helps you recognize when it does and assists you in correcting it. The more you practice mindfulness meditation, the quicker you are able to recognize when you are distracted and bring your attention back to the thing that is important in the moment.
Confessions of a Reluctant Meditator
I’ve had my own struggles with admitting that mindfulness meditation is necessary. I’ve had an off-and-on, love/hate relationship with the practice of meditation for several years, as I’ve struggled with “needing” to embrace the meditation. All that to say that I am by no stretch of the imagination an “expert” meditator.
Every time I find myself feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, I stop and ask myself, “why do I feel this way?” Over time, I’ve come to realize that (more often than not) the situation itself isn’t causing the stress, but rather the way I’m thinking about the situation is. If I’m honest, I’ve viewed meditation as something that was effective for people in super-stressful situations, but have always pushed back against it because I wanted to believe that my own life “wasn’t that bad.” I’ve come to realize though that even if I don’t need to meditate, I am able to be more intentional when I choose to meditate. I’m not forced to meditate because I can’t handle the stresses of daily life, but I’m better equipped to make the most of my day when I do.
The bottom line: we live in an age of distraction. Our culture is constantly encouraging us to jump from thing to thing, and our technology defaults help reenforce this. The Fear of Missing Out (or FOMO) is a powerful adversary, and admitting that you need a little help in slaying this beast is not a sign a weakness.
Our Pick for the Best Meditation App
We believe that Headspace is the best meditation app for most people. It offers a clean user interface that is easy to navigate and highlights a new daily meditation each day, gives you a large library of guided meditations to choose from, and feels at home on Apple devices by integrating with Apple Health and Shortcuts.
While the narration of Andy Puddicombe (the main voice in Headspace) may not jive with everyone, we found his style to be calm and relaxing. It was very easy to focus and follow along in guided meditation sessions, and the visual style of Headspace is whimsical and fun. Headspace also gives you a bunch of options, like the ability to choose the length of the daily meditations and a huge library of guided meditations to choose from to respond to a specific need.
Guided meditations aren’t the only thing that Headspace offers. There are unguided meditations for more experienced meditators, a kids section to help your kids develop a mindfulness habit, “sleepcasts” which are basically bedtime stories to help you fall asleep, music tracks to help you relax or focus, and much more. There’s something for everyone, regardless of your experience.
If Headspace doesn’t quite click for you, there are lots of other options out there, including:
Regardless of the app you choose to use, we highly encourage you to consider creating a mindfulness meditation habit. There’s an abundance of great options to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that suits your personal style.
You can read our full review here.
Must-Have, Most-Used Apps for Thinkers
We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through hundreds of apps to find the very best. Our team here at The Sweet Setup put together a short list of our must-have, most-used apps for writing, note-taking, and thinking.