The circumstances in which we’ve all been through into because of Covid-19 are, at the minimum, frustrating. Whole sections of our ‘regular’ lives have been quickly stripped away, from our work schedules, lifestyle needs, daily routines, ability to be social and for many of us, financial security.
With many potential stressors bearing down on us, one of Covid-19’s indirect impacts is its effect on our mental health. However, ironically, the very same thing that has put us in such a situation also gives us an opportunity to fix it. It has given us time. Time that we can invest in ourselves to better our control and understanding of our emotions and thoughts. Of course one of the best ways to do this is through meditation.
Hold on, don’t run away just yet.
Meditation has had a bad rap for many years, often thrown into the vein of being something for ‘new-age types’ and ‘hippies’. But modern science has finally bolstered and supported the benefits of meditation has for the human brain. These range from improving attention span, reducing stress, improving sleep and a general sense of contentment and acceptance. These are important tools to harness during the current state of the world.
There are many types of meditation, from transcendental to loving kindness. However, what we’re focusing on here is mindfulness meditation, a fantastic gateway into the meditation world. Most often used today in professional and performance-based practices.
So, if you’re willing to be open minded (that’s step one!) and give it a chance, you don’t need to take a five-day course. We’ve found three amazing Apps that can get you started on your mindfulness journey.
This multi-award winning App has started many people on their meditation journey. This is an all encompassing wellness App that brings you guided meditation sessions over a range of subjects (anxiety, stress, self-esteem etc), sleep stories to slumber off to, mindfulness music and masterclasses for meditation.
Calm is free, but with very limited free resources, four meditation experiences and a beginners meditation guide. You are able to try a free trial for 7-days, before signing up to their full suite of content for $12.99 a month.
A fun beginner’s App, Headspace was created by Andi Puddicombe; a man who took an unexpected decision to travel to the Himalayas to study meditation, and ended up spending ten years studying and became a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Upon his return to ‘civilisation’, Andy wanted people to learn this practice easily so that everyone could enjoy the contentment mindfulness meditation Brough him.
What’s best about Headspace is their introduction into meditation, with a free 10-day beginner’s guided meditation (which you can repeat), with the option of 5 or 10-minutes a day, you are brought into the practice at your own pace – but committing to do a little everyday to create a positive habit in your daily routine. The in-App animations help you understand the practice with simple (and cute!) analogies.
Their guided meditation courses range from focus at work to dealing with anger and even meditation for kids. The app now offers sleep and exercise features too. Free 7-day trial before signing up for $12.99 a month.
Waking Up with Sam Harris
Brought to us by Sam Harris – a neuroscientist, philosopher, and New York Times best-selling author – Waking Up brings not only an App to practice meditation but also to understand it.
Sam Harris, also a renowned speaker in the US and a popular Podcast host (‘Waking Up’ and ‘Making Sense’ with Sam Harris), brings a very practical and modern understanding of the practice of meditation. He shares real life benefits from a medical, neurologist perspective that gives meditation real gravitas amongst sceptics.
The guided meditations and lessons are read out by Sam Harris himself, the App gives you a free introductory course (5/50 sessions), a free daily meditation practice, as well as free theory and lessons and talks from his podcast. Otherwise you can subscribe for $99.99/year.