With the current political climate, an onslaught of sexual harassment cases coming to light, and devastating natural disasters like hurricanes, it’s not surprising that the American Psychological Association found an increase in Americans’ stress levels over the last year. Add to the anxiety, a seemingly endless news cycle and our dependence upon our smartphones and our collective stress level skyrockets to new levels.
Fortunately, we can put our smartphones to more healing uses. Mindfulness apps are becoming an increasingly popular way to manage stress. The idea behind mindfulness, while simple in theory, is challenging to live. The goal is to focus on the present moment, and to let go of regrets of the past or worries about the future. Some researchers say apps can be a useful tool for a mindfulness practice.
Steven Hickman, a psychologist and founder of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, says, “Everybody wants a quick fix, they want to know the shortest, fastest root to be mindful. It really does take ongoing practice – just like exercise,” he says.
Here are three mindfulness apps. Give them a try and report back in the comments below.
- Simply Being: Choose from 5 meditation times and you have the option to listen to the guided meditation alone or with music or nature sounds.
- I-Qi: A clock and meditation timing app with long-resonating sounds from original Peter Hess® Singing Bowls and Zen chimes.
- Smiling Mind: content is organized for different age groups: for children as young as 7 to adults of any age. Families can create sub accounts to manage everything in one app. There’s also a section for educators, at a variety of grade levels, so they can use the meditation exercises in the classroom.