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Even though technology is supposed to make our lives easier, for some it does the exact opposite. Let’s face it, when was the last time you turned the cell-phone off completely? Maybe we put it in “silent mode,” but we’re still alerted each time an email arrives or there’s a call or a text. Some of us are even alerted when friends change their status on any number of social media sites. This kind of total connectivity, while convenient on some level, can also be overwhelming.
According to the Pew Research Center, 64 percent of adults in the U.S. own a smart phone. Among this demographic, researchers report that 67 percent of smartphone owners admit to regularly checking their phones when there hasn’t been any incoming alerts. With so much of our attention turned toward the screens of our phones, there’s little time left quiet for contemplation or finding a peaceful moment throughout the day.
There are, however, applications for smart-phones that can help us find peace of mind and relieve some stress. Studies suggest that practicing meditation techniques are good for a variety of conditions, such as stress reduction, high blood pressure, depression and pain relief. Meditative practices have also been incorporated into many drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs for the same reasons.
With the goal of managing our moods and de-cluttering the constant barrage of information coming from technology, it’s a little ironic that same technology can also be used to help improve our mental perspective.
7 Smartphone Apps and Gadgets to Meditate and De-Stress
1. Meditation Made Simple – hip-hop mogul and author of Success Through Stillness, Russell Simmons offers this free app that includes step by step instructions to help refocus and de-stress.
2. Buddhify – a customer favorite with high ratings, this app provides guided meditations for different periods during the day, such as when you’re experiencing pain or illness, traveling, eating, trying to sleep or waking up.
3. Checky – not quite a meditation app, Checky tells you how many times you check your phone each day, what time you looked at it and where. This app is geared toward breaking the habit of being overly dependent on the smart-phone, which, in the long run, could bring some peace of mind.
4. Headspace – one of the most popular mediation apps on the market, Headspace boasts 3 million users and calls itself a “gym membership for the mind.” The first 10 sessions are 10 minutes long and free. Beyond that, a nominal yearly subscription will have you feeling refreshed after each meditation.
5. Thync – after attaching a small gizmo to your forehead and neck, this wearable technology delivers what the developers refer to as waveform vibes. The low-energy waves signal neural pathways, which the creators suggest, will help you unwind or, if you prefer, give you a boost of energy.
6. Muse – tracking five different kinds of brain waves, this headband is worn during meditation. The app then let’s the users know if they were neutral, active or calm during the meditation session. By monitoring your results, the goal is to improve overall meditative practices in an effort to get the most from it.
7. Spire – this combination gizmo and smartphone app measures your breathing, which is a focus of mindful meditation. The tracker will alert you if your breath has increased due to stress or tension, giving you the opportunity to slow down and control your breathing.
While our smartphones may be necessary for day-to-day life in modern society, using them to benefit our mental and physical health is a good step toward breaking the cycle of stress that they sometimes cause.