Looking for a little bit of calm? Give these mindfulness apps a try.
It can be super hard to get a moment of quiet when you’re a busy mum (is there any other type of mum?). Sitting down to meditate for an hour a day is out of reach for most, but if you can manage to be mindful with the help of an app for 10 minutes or so, you might just feel better for it. You could even try popping the recording on while you’re putting the kids to sleep.
Research about mindfulness has shown that it comes with a whole host of health benefits. But what exactly is mindfulness?
I think of it as paying attention to what’s happening around you and inside you. It’s not about chasing the feelings of calm and happiness, but about being aware of how you’re feeling and not judging those emotions or thoughts. Simple, but not easy.
We’ve had a look at the mindfulness apps on the market to see which ones are best.
I use this app daily to do a 15 minute guided meditation on the train. A little awkies when someone is trying to get up from the seat next to me, but otherwise it works for me. You can select whether you want your meditation to be 10, 15 or 20 mins. There are lots of different ‘series’ such as ‘Patience’, ‘Kindness’, ‘Anxiety’ and ‘Pregnancy’, each of which have tailored intros and outros on those subjects. I love Andy Puddicombe’s (the founder and voice of Headspace) insight into how we can experience a little more lightness in our minds. It’s truly ‘mindfulness for the people’ – down to earth, easy to understand and simple to follow. I believe they’re about to release a pack for kids too, which is exciting!
Looking for an app specifically designed by psychologists and psychiatrists to support you and your partner in preparation for having a baby? Smiling Mind and Beyond Blue have delivered, helping from day one of pregnancy through to 24 months after birth. Topics include ‘Mind’, ‘Body’, ‘Mindful attitudes’ and ‘Partners’. There’s a tonne of different meditations that are designed for beginners through to more experienced meditators. It’s broken up by stage of pregnancy or after childbirth and is tailored to suit exactly where you’re at. This is a really stellar resource for mums to be and new mums (and their partners). It feels like a really caring, kind friend.
‘A daily vacation for your mind’ is their slogan, and it does feel like one. There’s specific meditations for the morning (even better than a cup of coffee?), taking a break, commuting, walking, at work, etc – so basically for every activity you can think of. It treats mindfulness as a habit, which is cool because it means it’s something you can work at. The meditations are guided and comforting. I particularly like the ‘Find Happiness’ pack, which asks you to ‘hunt the good’ (i.e. I really enjoyed my coffee this morning) rather than focusing on what’s going wrong in your life.
‘Check in with yourself’, the app tells me as it gives me a quick questionnaire to assess my contentment levels. It then starts a short meditation based on how I’m feeling. It’s suitable for older kids too, so the introductions to mindfulness are really easy to understand. It describes mindfulness as when you’re paying attention to what’s actually happening, rather than what you think is happening. Doing this gives us the choice to fully engage with our life. The meditations are really short too, so they’re easy to fit into your busy schedule.
Calm made me feel just that as soon as I opened the app to see beautiful images and sounds of nature. This is probably the simplest of the apps, as it gets you to focus on the breath and then choose what your top three goals are (i.e. develop gratitude, reduce stress, learn to meditate). Then you can do the ‘7 days of calm’ program which seeks to reduce the daily overwhelm by teaching you how to recognise your harmful habits and how to pay attention to what’s going on.
When you sign up for Mindfulness Daily, it gets you to select a time in the morning, the middle of the day and at night for a short mindfulness exercise. What a great way to stay accountable to your mindfulness practice with just a few minutes each day. I must admit, though, I didn’t find the instructor’s voice as relaxing as the others.
I hope you try some of these apps if they’re of interest. I’ve found that a few minutes a day can make a big difference. I’d love to hear your experience, too.
Featured Image: Cynthia Magana