Many of us may not have been familiar with the term ‘mindfulness’ until recent years….but mindfulness techniques have actually been around for thousands of years. Over the past decade, there’s been a huge surge in the popularity of digital mindfulness tools, with most of these tools now being accessible from the tips of our fingers.
When it comes to defining what it means to be mindful, the fact that there are countless definitions has created a sea of confusion and misinterpretation. To put it into the simplest of terms- mindfulness is the practice of making time for yourself, and in doing so, grounding yourself to the present moment.
We’re in a time where the forces of uncertainty and worry have become increasingly abundant, leaving many of us consumed by overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety. With so much to think about and process, our minds are here, there and pretty much everywhere…so, now more than ever, the practice of taming and training the mind to feel present can be truly influential to our lives.
Stay with us as we delve into the world of mindfulness, explore its profound benefits, understand how to incorporate it into our hectic lives and take a look at some of the best mindfulness apps that’re currently out there!
So, What Does It Actually Mean To Be Mindful? And What’s The Purpose Of It All?
With mindfulness comes an array of various different methods and techniques – however, the common objective of these different approaches is usually the same thing.
In the words of Merriam-Webster, mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a non-judgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”.
Essentially, this means sitting back…pausing…and not investing too much thought or emotion into the thoughts that flow in and out of our minds (basically giving ourselves some mental clarity and rest).
Sounds promising right? But what is the actual point of it all?
Well, so much of our lives are spent wanting to be elsewhere or doing something else, making us miss the moments that are happening right now. With so much to think about – the pandemic, the future, the past, work, family, our personal lives…we forget that pausing can be a means of appreciating the now and grounding ourselves to the present.
From always chasing the future to always reflecting on the past, getting caught up in our daily lives and thought patterns is something that we may all be prone to. With this in mind, adding a few moments of mindfulness each day to our lives can bring a sense of calmness and maybe even appreciation for the precious nature of life. This is something that can make a world of difference during a time like the one that we’re currently in.
The Top 5 Mindfulness Apps
With this being the digital age, absolutely anything and everything is now accessible through digital platforms- and this includes mindfulness tools!
Common themes present amongst these various tools include breathing techniques, guided meditation and relaxing sounds – these are all elements that can contribute to developing a mind that is aware, yet calm and healthy.
Right, here are our top 5 mindfulness apps, let’s dive right in!
One of the first apps designed for training both the mind and body to feel healthier, happier and more able to positively cease the day, Headspace still remains one of the best mindfulness apps out there!
Headspace’s versatility in guiding users through mindful approaches for the various challenges we face in life has made it a wholesome platform with a meaningful purpose. Exercises on the app are orientated around issues such as managing anxiety, anger, personal stress, work-life stress, physical pain…the list honestly could go on and on, you name it, and Headspace will have an approach for it.
Moreover, guided audio also breaks down the essentials of meditation and the different styles of the practice that we can try out.
The name of this app says it all when it comes to what it represents and can bring to our lives.
Meditation is a great and effective way to anchor the mind to the now whilst remaining aware yet unjudgmental towards any passing thoughts. If you’re looking to grasp the foundational components of meditation, then the Calm app may be just be for you! The app offers a seven-day beginner’s programme in addition to intermediate and advanced programmes.
The app is also renowned for its use of nature-based sounds as well as accessibility to ‘sleep stories’ which combine a relaxing ambience with soothing audio stories, perfect for bringing upon a restful night’s sleep.
Ten Percent Happier Meditation
This app presents its focus as “meditation for fidgety sceptics”- unlike conventional digital meditation tools that operate with a soothing and gentle narrative, this app clearly recognises the difficulty that everyday folk may experience when seeking to fit meditation into their schedule on top of then actually grasping techniques.
The simplicity and straight to the point approach of this app has made it a massive hit with those who can acknowledge the benefits of mindfulness but have struggled with the actual practice of it.
With reminder features and a variety of guided meditation exercises, Ten Percent Happier Meditation is perfect for those looking to balance mindful practices alongside the hectic nature of life- available on both Android & iOS.
Looking to add a social dimension to your mindfulness endeavours? The Independent described Insight Timer as “a social network for meditators” – an acclaimed element of this app is that it features community groups which include beginners, intermediates, advanced meditators, transcendental meditators and many more.
In addition to providing a range of health and wellbeing guidance, this app has created a widespread network who share the collective goal of reaping the benefits that mindfulness has to offer. Groups meditations are accessible through this app as well as a library of guided meditations led by experts in the field!
Aura’s offering of a great deal of depth and range alongside AI technology that’s designed to identify and cater to individual preferences makes it the complete package when it comes to mindfulness content.
Upon starting out with of the app, users are asked questions with the consequent answers then being utilised to create a very personal mindfulness experience. Daily three-minute mindfulness practices are then accessible based on specific user data.
The app also uses gentle nature sounds, soothing music and quick easy-to-follow guided exercises to create experiences that create calmness and a sense of ease within the mind. This app really has it all! - available on both Android & iOS.
The Bottom Line
There’s no questioning that with a stack of tasks to get through daily as well multiple commitments, squeezing mindfulness into the daily mix can be a complex matter. However, a common misconception when it comes to mindfulness is that it requires a significant amount of time- this is completely wrong as a matter-of-fact experts have reported that even a few minutes of practicing mindfulness each day can have a noticeable impact.
If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, there’s time like the present! The time that we’re in is full of uncertainty and a constant flow of negativity, with this in mind, practicing making time for yourself can do a world of good. In addition to mindfulness exercises, other ways to pause and just take some time to chill out include creative activities such as painting, taking a walk and journaling.