We all know the harm that stress can cause to our nervous system and our bodies. It’s well documented as being one of the leading causes of death in our modern world. While there is an interesting debate to be had around what we consider Good vs Bad stress it’s unanimous that reducing our overall stress levels has its value.
How do we achieve such a thing when our Twitter and Instagram feeds are filled with content and things that demand our attention? How do we individually reduce our stress with the things that might be available to us readily right on our devices?
Most of our Android devices have solutions built into their phones to encourage either using your phone less or in a more mindful way. Pixel devices have a wind-down mode where everything becomes grayscale and notifications become disabled unless it’s listed as an emergency contact. One Plus phones have a mode called Zen Mode which goes the other extreme of putting your phone into a frozen mode where all you can do is receive phone calls and contacts the emergency services.
But sometimes these modes aren’t the ideal solution to the problem, sometimes you don’t need a distraction away from your phone but to add into your routine some healthier habits.
Meditation & Calming Apps
There are a plethora of calming and meditation apps out there. It’s hard to shift through a lot of the apps out there to see what works best for you. I will give you a list of personal recommendations of apps I’ve tried myself that I feel are worth a shot. Most of these apps either have a free version associated with them or are free to try with certain conditions (for example; ads) These have different elements to offer! So hopefully you’ll find something that will work for you.
Headspace has been plain about their overall mission statement, which is to improve the health and happiness of the world. While a lofty ambition it seems to be one they’re actively working on given the Headspace platform has had over a million users since 2002. Headspace does a good job teaching you how to meditate. It teaches you from the ground up on how to meditate and what might come up when you meditate.
It’s really been an all in one platform taking you from the very beginnings to new daily meditations. Its basic course is free for users and after that, it has a subscription of either E10 per month or an upfront annual fee that works out at E6 a month. I’ve been a Headspace user for over a year now, and it’s one of those subscriptions I’m happy to have in my back pocket.
Calm has won plenty of awards in the last two years from Apple and Google stores alike. It’s not hard to see why! This meditation app has been given the coveted title of “Worlds Happiest App” and has garnered such celebrities like Stephen Fry to voice Sleep Stories to help people fall asleep.
It has notable features that work together harmoniously; Meditate, Sleep, Body & Music.
- Mediate would be as the name implies, teaching you how to meditate and guides you through a program not unlike Headspace where it will bring you from beginning to end on how to meditate.
- Sleep includes Sleep Stories and is based on the notion of how as children we were told stories going to sleep. This is the adult version of bedtime stories; where you get some soothing voices depicting vivid calming scenes to lull you to sleep.
- Body takes you through body scanning but also gives a list of gentle stretches and exercise to accompany your meditations in the morning. They design these exercises to be gentle in nature to be accessible at a level comfortable to everyone regardless of fitness levels.
- Music is a collection of curated playlists for exactly what you need at the moment. Are you looking for gentle music to send you off to sleep? They’ve got you covered. In a study session or looking to meet that deadline in work? They have a playlist for that too. The user interface is always calming and everything is at the touch of a button. This means no more endlessly scrolling through Spotify for the right playlist.
There are two payment options right now there is a 7-day free trial $59.99 USD billed annually, or a hefty $400 but you get access to all the content for life. So it’s worth considering if you will be using this service for life!
Relax with Andrew Johnson Lite
An oldy but a goodie, Relax with Andrew Johnson Lite is one of the old-timers on this list in the meditation game. Free or lite versions of his apps have been around since 2012. Andrews’s soft Scottish voice takes you through a relaxation state and is worth trying his free apps to see if his voice and type of meditation works for you. Outside of the free relaxation options, the rest of his catalog is available depending on what you’re looking for – for about $2 or $3. These are perfect options for those who want to stick with the same relaxation option and have it for life and not be reliant on a service.
Free Hypnosis by Joseph Clough
Free Hypnosis by Joseph Clough is a Hypnotist from the United Kingdom and is one of the most giving in terms of content. His app is entirely free, and he has over 200 hours of hypnosis and personal development content. For something that is free, this podcast style app is bound to have something for you and if not – there is a paid section of the app where you can create your own meditation or hypnosis for a set fee.