“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”. This sage piece of wisdom was imparted on us not by Plato, Aristotle, or Socrates. You don’t need to dig through ancient texts or dust off old history books to stumble upon this insightful advice. Actually, if you’ve ever seen the 80’s hit movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, you might be familiar with the aforementioned statement. Turns out, Ferris was on to something.
Life does move pretty fast, and it is easy to get swept up in the craziness of it all. So what do you do when you start to feel bogged down, stressed, anxious, and depressed? If you think my suggestion is going to be something along the lines of “tackle all your problems head on, full force, right now, ASAP, go go GO!”, I’m afraid to say that’s just not it. Diving headfirst into a crazy situation while you’re already mentally fatigued is a great way to make yourself MORE mentally fatigued. Your mind is jumbled, you aren’t thinking straight, and emotions are high. The best thing you can do in this situation is the opposite of jumping right into the heat of the problem. Instead, I suggest you find a quiet place to lay, close your eyes, clear your mind, and breathe.
This is called mediation, and you’ve probably heard of it before. While it is difficult to define exactly what meditation is, it is most generally thought of as a way of clearing your mind and relaxing by focusing on your own awareness, rather than all the stressors around you. It has a long list of scientifically-backed health benefits, including but not limited to: increased immune function, increased positive emotions, decreased depression, decreased stress, decreased anxiety, improved focus and attention, and improved memory.
Apps are the easiest (and often cheapest) way to get you started into meditation. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best apps for beginning meditators. Just search their name in the app store, and get meditating!
Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps available. This is because it’s quick, ten minute sessions are long enough to make you feel fulfilled, but quick enough to not cut into your busy schedule. It’s a great way to start meditating, and is designed with beginners in mind.
As the most highly rated app on both iPhone and Android, Insight timer is awesome because it has virtually unlimited guided meditations of all types. It’s also very customizable, so you can have exactly the practice you want, each time.
Calm uses white noise to guide you through your meditation practices and helps you sleep better and reduce anxiety. It provides a huge range of practices for you to chose from to help guide you in self-reflection. They even have bedtime stories to help you settle your mind and sleep easily.
Buddhify allows you to meditate anywhere while doing anything. It allows you to denote what you are doing, so you can get a tailored practice whether your browsing the internet or eating breakfast. You can also choose a practice based on your current moods, such as if you are dealing with difficult emotions or dealing with pain.