Benefits of Meditation & 3 Apps To Help You Get Started

Stress levels seem to be at an all-time high as we approach what feels like day 487 of COVID-quarantine. If you find yourself feeling a little more worn-out than usual, know that you are not alone – stress and anxiety are natural reactions to adverse and unwanted circumstances, and the current situation is nothing if not unwanted.

In order to escape the constant cycle of coronavirus news, many have sought new ways to practice self-care. If you haven’t found your zen cultivating a sourdough starter or attending virtual fitness classes, you may want to try the ancient art of meditation.

Meditation is a free and simple way to reduce stress, increase clarity, and promote happiness and mindfulness. While our normal routines have taken a backseat during these uncertain times, we could all benefit from being a little more mindful. Luckily, meditation isn’t as impossible as it seems. Check out these easy-to-follow steps from Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace, to begin your meditative journey. 

Step 1: Make it a habit. Before getting started, Puddicombe suggests beginners commit to a regular, daily practice by picking a time and place that works for your schedule.

Step 2: Decide on an amount of time to practice. The most important thing is to decide on a length of time that is not only effective, but also achievable.

Step 3: Get comfortable. Sit with your legs and arms uncrossed, feet flat on the floor, and hands in a resting position. Check in with yourself. Be conscious of your posture and senses. 

Step 4: Decide whether you want the meditation to be guided or unguided. As guided meditation is recommended for people who are learning how to meditate, check out a few of the top apps below.


Calm 

With over 50 million downloads and over 700,000 5-star reviews, Calm is one of the highest-rated apps for sleep, meditation and relaxation. Check out their Sleep Stories to have Matthew McConaughey’s dreamy Texan drawl lull you to bed. 

Headspace

The brainchild of a Buddhist monk and an advertising professional, Headspace’s mission is to improve the health and happiness of the world. Check out their free Basics course to earn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness.

Aura

Designed for people on the go, Aura offers collections of three-minute sessions and 30-second anxiety busters are perfect for those in need of a mood-booster before a big meeting, a first date, or any other tense situation you may find yourself in. 

While it’s important to check on your friends and family during this difficult time, make sure you’re taking the time to check in with yourself. It’s just like the flight attendants tell passengers before takeoff – put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting others. While meditation may not be a cure-all, its results are proven. And if there was ever a perfect moment to start putting your own self-care first, it’s now. 


Sources:

https://www.headspace.com/meditation/how-to-meditate

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2011/jan/22/how-to-meditate-ten-steps-headspace

https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-and-a-beginner-s-how-to

https://www.oprahmag.com/life/health/g29861798/best-meditation-apps/?slide=1

https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19#coping

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#2e758e4d1465 

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