The world has gone mindfulness mad. There are books on the subject, mindfulness playlists on Spotify, and even meditation apps to help your journey. Industry-leaders like Headspace and Calm are primarily to thank for the increase in awareness here. An astounding 16 million people have downloaded the Headspace app alone. With one of these on your phone, you can get down to mindfulness no matter where you are.
So, how can we maximize the effectiveness of these mindfulness and meditation apps? Let’s explore a few pointers on how you can make them work best for you.
Keep your phone out of reach during sessions
There is some irony in using anxiety-inducing technologies to spread the mindfulness message. If you get stuck into Instagram moments before you use your meditation app, then, you’re not going to feel any benefits. To avoid distractions like these, open that app and put your phone out of reach. Make sure that you can’t distract yourself without some effort. Doing this also has the benefit of reducing the impact of blue light as you use your app. It has been a debated topic whether blue light damage, are cell phones dangerous for your eyes and your health. It can also alter your circadian rhythms. Staring at a screen as you meditate, then, could undo any benefits you’d feel otherwise. Don’t let it happen. Keep that phone out of reach.
Never use these before bed
Practicing meditation and mindfulness before bed makes sense. It helps you to clear your mind and find calm before you sleep. Sadly, this isn’t a benefit you’ll feel if you use a meditation app before bedtime. As we’ve mentioned, blue light can impact your circadian rhythms. That means your sleep pattern will become all out of sync. You may struggle to get to sleep or wake sooner than you would otherwise. Both of these can leave your body strained, and your mind tired. To avoid this, always make sure to stop using your mindfulness app at least an hour before bed.
Turn off the music
Many mindfulness and meditation apps also include background noise. Some come complete with natural sounds. Others use actual music to move meditations forward. This can be a real help when you’re first starting, but it can hold many of us back on our mindfulness journeys. That’s because these often act as distractions. That’s not what you want if you’re trying to lose yourself in the moment and become more mindful. Our last pointer, then, is to switch off that music, or use an app which doesn’t have any. This will be tough at first, but it ensures you’ll get many more benefits out of your practice.
Feature photo: Milan Popovic / Unsplash
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