Mindfulness Apps: Are they worth the download?

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Mindfulness apps are the newest lifestyle trend of the year. With promises to help combat anxiety and promises that you will sleep easier it is no surprise thousands of people have downloaded and tried the apps.

By practicing mindfulness, you pay more attention to the present moment, to the world around you and to your own personal thoughts and feelings. The results mean that you more in sync and aware of your own mind helping you improve your mental wellbeing.

As students, there are plenty of times throughout the year that we feel under a lot of pressure, whether it’s the lead up to deadlines, the thought of doing a presentation or the night before sitting an exam. Improving self-awareness and cognitive control can help.

Research from the University of Oxford in 2013 found that people who completed a mindfulness programme for a one month period reported a 58% reduction in anxiety levels, 57% reduction in depression and a 40% reduction in stress.

Reported a 58% reduction in anxiety levels, 57% reduction in depression and a 40% reduction in stress

With statistics like those it can be hard to ignore the trend. I have been practicing mindfulness now for just over two months and I can vouch for the benefits, but finding the right app for you can be frustrating.

I began by downloading a few of the top recommended apps, if you have an IPhone the health section has a list of the best apps or you can simply search on the app store.

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I began using the ‘Calm’ app that is rated five-star, there are options for a range of different lengths of sessions such as daily calm. I instantly felt relaxed when completing my daily sessions, although this app is described as free the in-app purchases can only be made in bulk at either £10 a month or a whopping £300 for a lifetime subscription.

There are cheaper options, I swear by the slumber app. There are 5 free audio clips, 3 sleep stories and two bed time meditations. With assignments, contact hours and work I find it hard to fit my mindfulness meditation into my daily life so I choose to do it before I go to sleep.

I swear by the slumber app. There are 5 free audio clips, 3 sleep stories and two bed time meditations

I used to always struggle with getting to sleep, I would constantly play the day’s events over in my head and worry about how much I had to do the next day and I would toss and turn all night, but mindfulness helps you switch off by giving your mind something else to focus on. I must admit; I was hooked and chose to pay £6.99 to unlock the rest of the content. But believe me it is worth it! You can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep (to a degree).

There is also The Mindfulness App that contains 5 days guided meditations to get you started, and if you’re a bit forgetful you can set reminders and timers to keep you on track.

It may seem stressful to get started, with such a multitude of different apps offering similar things it is confusing to find what works for you. There is something for everyone though and the breathing you learn can help to calm you in any situation, a skill that is desirable.

It is important to remember that the act of mindfulness has been around for years, it is just that technology has made it more accessible than it has ever been. So, if you want to learn how to appreciate life more or if you simply want a way to destress once a day then give it a try and stick with it. Mindfulness is good for everyone.

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