I think it’s such great planning that Mental Health Awareness week (14th – 20th May) is running in National Meditation Month! Over the course of nearly a decade I have suffered from stress, and the illnesses that follow chronic bouts of stress (depression and anxiety), and I’ve found that meditation works.
As we are very much a smart phone society now (with research to suggest smart phone use and social media fuel stress, anxiety and depression), there are of course apps to help you meditate. I thought I’d provide a review of some of the more popular ones, and the ones that help me.
Disclaimer: I really like this app! Insight Timer claims to have over 4 million people worldwide using this app, and I can see why. There are thousands of guided meditations on this free app, taking you from a complete beginners right through to a more advanced practice. This is why I like it: it’s suitable for any one. There’s guided meditations and talks on a number of topics: better sleep, dealing with stress and anxiety, leadership, even meditation for children.
The idea is simple: open the app, select how much time you have, and then select which meditation you’d like to try. As you can see, there are over 1000 guided meditations for 6-10 minutes!
1 Giant Mind
1 Giant Mind is a free 12-step program of 15 minute meditations to make meditating become a daily habit, using the ‘Being’ meditation method. This method has been proven to reduce stress and promote wellbeing.
Whilst the app is easy to use, I found the actual meditation difficult. The Being method of meditation asks the meditator to use a silent mantra during the meditation to help clear the mind of thoughts; if you’re an experienced meditator, this might be quite easy for you, but I think this would be difficult for complete beginners.
I first downloaded this app way back in 2011 when I was suffering from a bout of real deep depression. My therapist at the time suggested mindfulness. Well, mindfulness wasn’t as big then as it is now, and I hadn’t got a clue where to start! But I came across this app (free at the time, but now £1.99) and it helped me through that period in my life. I probably wasn’t using it correctly though, as I’d put it on when I got into bed, and it would help me fall asleep! But best nights sleep ever, which is saying something when you’re down and sleep is either elusive or not great quality.
The premise is simple: you choose from 5 meditation times and you have the option to listen to the guided meditation alone or with music or nature sounds. You can also listen to the music or nature sounds alone. In addition, you can choose how long to listen to the music or nature sounds after the voice guidance finishes.
Remember, just because one way worked for me doesn’t mean it’ll resonate with you. You might enjoy the 1 Giant Mind method, and for that I commend you!