THE HARDEST

Why Does Meditation Help

We’ve all had those moments where we’re not sure whether to scream, run and hide or drop everything and get on the next plane to a faraway island. Whether work life, personal life or the delicate balance of the two is causing you stress, there are better ways to dealing with life’s pressures than explosive noises or an impromptu relocation.

If mindfulness meditation appeals to you, going to a class or listening to a meditation tape can be a good way to start.

Because of the mind’s tendency to be scattered and easily distracted, we use the breath as a kind of anchor to the present. When we rest in the breath, we are countering the strong forces of distraction. We train the mind, heart, and body to become settled and unified on one thing, at one place, at one time. If you are sitting in meditation and your mind is on what you did at work today, then your mind and body are not in the same place at the same time. Fragmented this way, we all too easily lose touch with a holistic sense of ourselves.

The effects of mindfulness meditation tend to be dose-related — the more you do, the more effect it usually has. Most people find that it takes at least 20 minutes for the mind to begin to settle, so this is a reasonable way to start. If you’re ready for a more serious commitment, Jon Kabat-Zinn recommends 45 minutes of meditation at least six days a week. But you can get started by practicing the techniques from these mindfulness meditation apps.

Calm

My personal favorite meditation app would be Calm. Calm is available in the Google Play Store. There are many meditation timers out there, however; this takes the cake. It not only offers a nifty meditation timer but also a plethora of guided meditations. Calm has a very nicely designed, workable interface. If you are just starting out or even if you are a seasoned pro, guided meditation is a great way to go. They offer a 7 day program for free to help build mindfulness.

They offer subscription plans from $12.99 a month, to $4.99 a month for a year or $299 for a lifetime membership and you can also buy individual meditations as well.

The app and website were co-founded by Michael Acton-Smith and Alex Tew. Tamara Levitt is the brains behind the coordination and the concepts in the app.

Pros

  • The app is beautiful and functional
  •  

    The app has different moodscapes that aren’t annoying.

  •  

    Offers guided meditation sessions which run anywhere from 3min to 25 minutes.

  •  

    Features a new 10-minute program called “Daily Calm”

  •  

    Sleep Stories which are adult bedtime stories

  • 7 day and 21 programs for both beginners and seasoned pros.

     

 

 

Cons

  • The price of the membership is a wee bit high at $12.99 a month.
  • I would recommend trying to bring down the monthly price a few dollars.
  • The free version would be better if it included more of the free guided meditations.

 

 

Headspace

Headspace is another popular meditation app. Headspace is once again, a guided meditation experience that is available in both the Apple and Play Stores for both Android and iOS as well as online.

Headspace was founded by a man named Andy Puddicombe, who is a meditation and mindfulness expert. He is an accomplished presenter and writer. Andy is the voice of all things headspace. Andy is the author of three books which are now available in 25 countries and 10 different languages.

He has been featured in international press, appearing in Vogue, New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Men’s Health, and Esquire. He also has made appearances on TV, online, and has been featured on BBC, Netflix, and TED

The subscription to Headspace is $12.95 a month to $7.99 a month per year in one big payment. It also offers a lifetime subscription for $419.95 which makes it one of the more expensive programs.

 

Pros

  • Well curated
  • Their sessions are proven to help.
  • Nice interface

Cons

  • Expensive as heck
  • Andy’s voice can be a little irritating.
  • He talks too much and doesn’t really let you have the optimum benefits of meditation.

 

 

DoYogaWithMe.com

DoYogaWithMe is a completely free website that not only offers yoga classes but also offers yogic meditation instructionals.

I’ve been doing yoga for 3 years now and find it to be a specific type of meditation in itself.

The website is completely free and is not only a great resource for those looking to dive into meditation but also for those who want to jump into a yoga program as well.

 

Pros

  • Offers free guided meditations, yogic breathing techniques, and obviously yoga.

Cons

  • Sometimes the videos are hard to load to be able to stream.

 

I-Doser

For those looking to do something more “esoteric,” I-Doser offers what they call “doses” which are a specific form of binaural beats.

Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by a German scientist named Heinrich Dove. Ever since, they have been touted as one of the most popular forms of brainwave entrainment, along with monaural beats and isochronic tones.
I-Doser brought the concept of recreational, meditation, yoga, kundalini, chakra, spiritual and sexual – and so much more – simulaed experiences mainstream. They continue to lead the industry in binaural innovation with millions of users worldwide.

They have products available across all major platforms.
In an I-Doser peer review study of 1136 users of I-Doser Simulated Experiences, over 80% felt the effects at least once (with 35% feeling effects every time, 29% almost every time, and 19% once or a few times). Only 17% felt no effect, usually due to poor quality heaphones or a disruptive environement. This is up to 90% more effective than any other meditation or binaural product available anywhere.

They do not recommend the use of other products claiming to be binaurals.
Although binaural beats aren’t for everyone, if you’re looking for a unique experience, I would mosey on over to I-Doser and try it for yourself.

Pros

  • If used correctly, binaural beats can be a viable solution for meditation.
  • Please be aware though that some other copycat scam agencies are out there as well.

Cons

  • Binaural beats can be frustrating and sometimes not even work at all.
  • I’d be careful on spending money on binaural beats.

Buddhify

Buddhify is a mindful meditation app that is convenient to fit whatever your life throws at you. It has over 11 hours of custom meditations for 15 different parts of your day. It has been featured on Buzzfeed, as well as the New York Times and some other different media companies.
Pros

  • Tracks can range anywhere from 5-30min long
  • The app is available on the app store for iTunes as well as Google Play Store.

Cons

  • Costs $2.99 for the app.

With relation to mindfulness practice, explore compassion—the desire to alleviate suffering—as an essential component of our nature as human beings. Compassion allows us to look at suffering without aversion or attachment, and learn specific practices for developing empathy and deeply recognizing the inner experience of others.

 

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