Exercise, go home for dinner and stay one step ahead of us. To switch off, we play Tetris on the tablet or smartphone or solve crossword puzzles. But is that switched off? No. It’s a distraction – from us, from everyday life, and from the much-needed rest, which we seem to have forgotten. Rest means keeping your thoughts in the here and now, consciously experiencing the moment, focusing your attention on what we are doing. Anyone who has tried this will surely have noticed quickly how difficult it is.
Learning to meditate can simply be frustrating and it is not easy to bring mindfulness into everyday activities yourself. And now should the smartphone, which otherwise only brings speed to life, help us to be mindful? Why not give the smartphone the chance to really do something good for us ?!
Mindfulness training digital – how does it work?
For losing weight, sleeping, cooking, playing, learning to play the guitar, booking a vacation – nowadays there is an app for everything and new ones are being added all the time. With the increasing need of people for more calm and prudence, the number of meditation and mindfulness apps is also growing . Mindfulness and smartphone – sound like a contradiction? But it is not. Your meditation app doesn’t send you poof-up messages every few minutes, there is no news feed and nobody posts photos from their last trip there. On the contrary: if you find the app that is right for you, it can help you switch off. Some apps work with nature sounds, others with mantras, colors, sounds, yoga exercises, breathing exercises or guided meditations. The important thing is to find the technology and app that suits you best. But what should you pay attention to when choosing the app?
Here are a few tips:
1. Make yourself aware of your goal:
Just as you probably go to the supermarket with a shopping list, think about what you hope for from an app, what goals you want to achieve: reduce stress? Put aside fears? Quit smoking? Solve sleep disorders? Learn to breathe more consciously? Ask Google, do research, and take the time to find the right app for you.
3. Who can help with questions?
Whether beginner or advanced: at some point there will always be questions about your own practice. A good app offers the opportunity to contact an expert or trainer.
4. Diverse offer:
Especially for beginners who are not very knowledgeable, the apps are helpful as they offer a variety of options to try out different techniques and find out what suits you best: guided meditations, breathing exercises, Sound meditation, muscle relaxation or just a gong with a timer?
5. Different levels:
A good app should have different levels for beginners and advanced users. As beginners we still need a lot of guidance, but over time this will change. A good app allows the user to choose between a lot and little instruction, for example between a fully guided 10-minute meditation or a simple gong at the beginning.
6. Trying out:
We all have our preferences and no teacher in the world can satisfy all of our preferences. So just try it out. Most apps have free trial versions or a free basic version with a limited range.
7. Allow change:
Keep in mind that preferences change, what you like or do well today may be different from what you like 6 months from now. Keep this in mind before you take out long subscriptions.
What’s the best app for your mindfulness training 2020?
Dr. Amishi Jha is a neuroscientist and professor of psychology at the University of Miami with an emphasis on attentiveness. She says: “ An app cannot replace an expert, but the right app can be an excellent aid in the learning process. The effectiveness of apps has not yet been sufficiently scientifically proven either, so far only around 10 apps have been examined on the market. Diana Winston from the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) points out that apps are currently not subject to quality standards and that you as a user do not know whether a teacher has 20 years of experience or none.
Although an app cannot replace a personal meditation course with a certified teacher , it can provide assistance and support the learning process, the scientists agree, because apps also offer advantages for both beginners and advanced learners . In addition, you can use the different apps to test which kind of mindfulness exercises are more suitable for you and which are not. The experience with the different apps can later make it easier for you to find the trainer that best suits you.
Most apps offer a free basic version , so they are affordable even for those on a small budget. Many apps offer the opportunity to try out and get to know different methods and techniques and you can use them anywhere and anytime, for example during your lunch break, just before going to sleep, even in the supermarket or on the tram. Depending on how much time you have available, you can choose between exercises from a few minutes to several hours . But remember : Whether sound meditation or body awareness – even an app will not do the mental work for you that you have to do in order to become more mindful. You have to do this yourself with or without the app.
Admittedly, the sheer number of mindfulness and meditation apps can be overwhelming, which is why we have tried the best 4 apps for you here. But of course, in the end you have to try it out for yourself to find out which app suits you best.
One of the most popular apps on the market for Android, Web and iOS with a user-friendly interface and over 45,000 5-star ratings and millions of downloads. Everyone will find something here, thanks to the large selection of meditations for every goal from sleeping better to letting go of anger or reducing stress. There are meditation exercises of a few minutes for people with little time and long meditations. As a welcome, there is the basic version for 10 days free of charge including a 10-day meditation course for beginners. You can follow your progress closely. Founder Andy Puddicome is a former monk and leads through many meditations himself – but only in English. After 10 days the app is chargeable, but you get new exercises every day:Either € 12.99 / month or € 57.99 per year.
Over 30,000 users have already rated this app with 5 stars and millions of people have downloaded it. Calm offers programs for beginners and advanced, guided meditations, breathing exercises, sound meditations and much more between 3 and 25 minutes. New meditations are added every day. The master classes are instructed by international experts. The interface is user-friendly and the basic version is available free of charge for iOS and Android. The premium version comes in different price ranges starting at 12.99 USD / month, 59.99 USD / year or as a lifetime subscription for a one-time fee of 299.99 USD . The free trial version is valid for 7 days. Calm is available for iOS, Android, and the web.
A meditation app from Germany! The basic version is free, the premium version costs € 11.99 / month or € 59.99 / year. The lifetime license is available for € 149.99 . The company works closely with scientists and experienced teachers. Bonus: The Berlin-based company works with various health insurance companies that cover the costs on a pro-rata basis. 7 Mind offers a user-friendly interface and a variety of exercises for better sleep, relaxation, better concentration and much more in different lengths. 7Mind is available for Android, iOS and the web. Over 1 million Germans have already downloaded the app.
4. Insight timer.
Millions of people have downloaded Insight Timers. The free basic version offers over 45,000 guided meditations, lectures by experts, courses lasting several days, music and stories to help you fall asleep, relaxation music, beginner courses, daily tips and meditations for parents and children. The app with the user-friendly interface is available for Android and iOS. the premium version costs US $ 9.99 a month or US $ 59.99 annually , offers 10-30 day courses and allows the various meditations to be downloaded.
Digital mindfulness: 4 apps in the practical check
With or without an app, mindfulness and meditation exercises require will and discipline. Because even an app doesn’t do the work for you. But it can support and inspire you well, because it offers a variety of forms of exercise for every taste. Whether for a few minutes or an entire hour, apps allow you to practice now and there, where you want and when you need it.