Find Your Way “Ohm” with Meditation Apps

Find Your Way “Ohm” with Meditation Apps

People have different reactions to the word “meditation”. Some respond with curiosity and willingness while others can be tamped down by their ego. This inner voice often comes up with thoughts like: “It’s a waste of time”; “There’s nothing wrong with you”; “There’s no time”; “You don’t have the focus”; and on and on.

If you fall into the latter, a meditation app may be just the thing you need. These programs offer a variety of options that cater to everything from the schedule challenged to the unfocused. Either way, it could instill a new tool into your life that enhances your health and may bring a new lens to how you view the world.

Why Meditate in the First Place?

Sitting and breathing can improve your health, it’s as simple as that. Meditation has been associated with an abundance of positive, study based results as well as observational reports that date back centuries. It is no longer associated with just the New Age community surrounded by crystals and incense. Meditation is now recommended by conventional medicine as a valid, beneficial health practice, right up there with diet and exercise.

A study published in Biological Psychiatry found how meditation may help relieve pain and disease associated with inflammation. According to David Creswell of Carnegie Mellon University, lead author and associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences,

“We think that these brain changes provide a neurobiological marker for improved executive control and stress resilience, such that mindfulness meditation training improves your brain’s ability to help you manage stress, and these changes improve a broad range of stress-related health outcomes, such as your inflammatory health,”

There is another reason to give it a go, meditating may be like a mini-vacation. Researchers compared women taking a vacation to those who meditated. The study published in Translational Psychiatry (8/30/16) stated,

“Changes in well-being were assessed post intervention relative to baseline, as well as 1 and 10 months later. All groups showed equivalently large immediate post-intervention improvements in well-being, but novice meditators showed greater maintenance of lower distress over time compared with those in the vacation arm.”

These are small examples of the large library of research extolling the benefits of meditation. Now that you know meditating will practically give you super hero powers, here are some apps to try in-between your hectic lifestyle or, just to try.

The Mindfulness App

The Mindfulness App  (upgrades available) comes in at the top, gold standard for digital meditation tools. It is described as:

  • Five-day guided introduction to Mindfulness
  • Guided and silent timed sessions from 3 to 30 minutes
  • Reminders and statistics to stay focused on your practice
  • Library filled with premium meditations and courses

Reviews include a mother and her 17 year old son who suffer from anxiety benefitting as well as high marks for using the app just two to three minutes per day.

Headspace

Great for beginners, Headspace is meditation made simple by vetted scientists who run the app. It has a cartoony interface that offers meditation in a sort of childlike way but the simplicity makes for a free flowing vibe. 

According to the site,

“There are over 2000 meditation apps out there, but Headspace is one of the only ones committed to advancing the field of mindfulness meditation through clinically-validated research on our product.”

Headspace includes a:

  • Personalized progress page
  • Reward system for continued practice
  • Buddy system that lets users connect with others to stay on track
  • Community support

Calm

Aptly named, Calm opens with a serene website backdrop that makes you want to shed your woes and dive in. This app focuses on relaxation techniques using meditative tools such as breathing methods, soothing sounds (waterfalls, rain, birds, etc), and muscle release.

In addition, Calm offers easy to access packages such as:

  • 7 Days of Focus
  • Mindfulness at Work
  • Walking Meditation
  • Sleep Stories
  • College Collection: Mindfulness for College Students
  • Emergency Calm

Calm is an app that caters to more specific meditation opportunities such as one type for a commuter and one for mindful eating that can really help if you are looking to incorporate mediation as a goal oriented practice rather than just an escape. Although a “goal” may contradict the intention of meditation, using it to enhance a weight loss program for instance is an example of such.

App Study

If you weren’t convinced with some real science, there is a study of meditation apps themselves also conducted by researchers at Carnegie Melon University. According to a report by the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences,

“The results showed that the participants in the combined monitoring and acceptance program had reduced cortisol [stress hormone] and systolic blood pressure reactivity. Their blood pressure responses were approximately 20 percent lower than those in the two interventions that did not include acceptance training. Their cortisol responses were also more than 50 percent lower.”

Emily Lindsay, lead author and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh commented on the study,

“Not only were we able to show that acceptance is a critical part of mindfulness training, but we’ve demonstrated for the first time that a short, systematic smartphone mindfulness program helps to reduce the impact of stress on the body,”

 

Your digital world doesn’t just have to be about entertainment and shopping, add in a meditation app to learn how to relax or beyond. It is the new rock to sit on in the meadow of subconsciousness that just may easily drown out the noise for a while.



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