We could certainly all do with getting a little more calm in our lives, but it's not always easy. The Himalayas are a little too far away and we've not yet acquainted ourselves with some meditating, Tibetan monks. All is not lost, however. Though we're quick to blame the digital generation for our increased stress levels, and how we're always 'plugged in', the internet can be a very helpful tool when it comes to finding that much needed meditative moment. Here we include three of our favourite resources, sure to reduce those nasty cortisol levels, encourage presence and bring you back to yourself.
If you get away with using headphones in work, there's little that will succeed in stressing you out as you let this website work away in the background. It continually plays the most relaxing, calming music we think we've ever heard and if you've got a few moments to spare, watching the screen's transfixing scenery makes it all the more effective. Furthermore, it features guided meditations and timers for anything from a two minute break, right up to a twenty minute soothing session. Download it to your phone in app form too; it will help to quiet your mind before bed, or at any time that you feel a little off kilter. And it would make for the perfect accompaniment for a solo walk in nature too. Clearly, we cannot speak highly enough of calm.com. And the best part? It's free.
Stop, Breathe & Think
This is another great tool to have on your phone, suitable for all ages, that makes meditation and mindfulness super easy. Sometimes meditating by yourself is a struggle as we wrongly try to empty our minds of chatter (the idea is to observe and let things float by you without judgement, as opposed to clearing your head out entirely, which is pretty impossible), but with this app, you are guided by very soothing voices through some simple awareness exercises. What we like about it is that you can check in with your mood, rating how you feel and then the app itself will suggest which meditation will work best for you at that time. You can also scroll through a list of options, opting for a meditation to calm you for sleep, or something to help you wake up feeling calm in the morning.
Headspace ('a gym membership for the mind') is certainly one of the most popular mindfulness apps out there and very useful for those who are totally new to the concept; it will take you right through from beginner to meditation pro. Be prepared to commit to it, mind. To get the full benefit of this app, you need to stick with it, and do the required minutes every day as you eventually graduate to longer sessions. Given our collective stress levels, this is something we absolutely should be doing on a daily basis, whether we take five minutes for some focused breathing or a full half hour for a meditation session.
Finding a quiet moment to soothe yourself back to Earth is just as important as exercise; do not underestimate the power of connecting with the self.