Meditation. Ah, the new age irony of it all. We’d all be more mindful, if only we weren’t so damn distracted. Sorry, where was I… If taking time out to look inwards simply doesn’t fit into your schedule, there’s an app for that.? All it takes is up to 10 minutes a day to slow down and recharge. No incense, no pan pipes, no astral projection; just three handy tools to help reduce stress and bring some balance to your life. What’s more, they’re all free. Do you have 600 seconds to spare?
The Pitch: Meditation for modern lives – 10 minutes a day using proven techniques to be happier and have a bit more clarity.
The Guru: Andy Puddicome – a Clinical Meditation Consultant with the UK Healthcare Commission and a former Buddhist monk.
The Promise: Aims to demystify meditation and make it as accessible and relevant to as many people as possible.
The Features: A series of 10-minute or ?Take 10? guided meditations with Andy who leads the listener through basic, easy-to-follow meditation techniques. Each day builds on the next, reinforcing the technique until it becomes more familiar. Also includes meditation reminders, mindfulness buzzers, motivational podcasts and a tracking device for your progress.
The Pros/Cons: Andy’s voice is genuine and friendly unlike some guided meditations that can be a bit too esoteric (no pan pipes here). That said, its basic nature only lends itself to mindfulness newbies.
The Pitch: The mindfulness app for your modern life.
The Guru: No big names to sell the app.
The Promise: Increases your wellbeing by teaching you mindfulness-based meditation on the go.?Customised meditations for 14 different parts of your day
The Features: Over 40 custom guided audio meditation tracks designed for real-time lives and regular stresses: working online, waiting around, travelling and trying to get to sleep. Tracks range from 5 – 20 minutes and there is a solo mediation timer should you wish to go it alone. Measurement tools like progress stats and a check-in system help with accountability and motivation. Also offers over 100 tips on optimising your mindfulness practice.
The Pros/Cons: Perfect for busy people and for times when a helpful distraction is needed (rebooting a computer, waiting for a delayed flight or walking down a crowded city street.) A few of the guiding voices however are, sadly, more prosaic than inspirational.
The Pitch: Hack the way your mind works so you can enhance your life.
The Guru: Vishen Lakhiani – founder of Mindvalley – one of the largest online publishers of mindfulness practices, alternative health and entrepreneurship. Guided meditations from authors, teachers and spiritual celebrities like Gabrielle Bernstein.
The Promise: Reprogramme your mind using scientifically studied sounds to improve sleep, strengthen relationships, eliminate bad habits and create deep states of meditation.
The Features: Boasts a 6-phase guided meditation track aimed at improving: compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, visualising the future, visualising the perfect day and increased energy. The handy mixer deck allows for a choice of background sounds for an auditory chill-out or to get motivated for the day ahead.
The Pros/Cons: The iTunes store format and extensive list of categories (relationships, better sleep, success, life skills) makes mindfulness modern. The free sounds and meditations section is rather limited; so, if you’re looking to dig deeper, it’ll start with your wallet. Not a fan of Tony Robbins or ?The Secret?? Maybe give this one a miss.
Annmarie O’Connor @aocdotme