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Meditation and mindfulness are becoming a big business, thanks to a growing body of research suggesting that the practice of staying in the present moment and experiencing thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment can make us more resilient to stress, more compassionate toward others, and.
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John Torous, co-director of the digital psychiatry program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, wasn't surprised.People Love Calm, over 200,000 5-star reviews.Headspace has published research suggesting that its app may help increase compassion and improve mood.The most important thing that my experiment taught me, however, is that you must know what you hope to gain from an app before using.You'll want to know beforehand if information about your nightly meditation practice ends up in another marketer's hands.I wasn't sure I was benefiting significantly from meditating via app, compared to an IRL class, and I was also overwhelmed by the number of meditation sessions available.Some of the apps anticipate that need.Spending some time to make that choice thoughtfully is in your bank account's best interest; all of the apps I downloaded are free but most of them require a monthly or annual subscription to access their full libraries and services.After a week or so, I started ignoring reminders to meditate and instead watched episodes.So I began exploring the apps.Brand new Daily Calm every day 100 guided meditations covering anxiety, focus, stress, sleep, relationships and more.Calm, Headspace, 10 Happier, Simple Habit, larkr, Pacifica, and, shine with the hope that one of them could do what my IRL meditation classes hadn't yet done: turn me into someone who makes time, every day, to quiet my mind.The app also shows you how many people are meditating and lets you invite friends to join your practice.That might sound obvious, but it only rang true when I spoke to Shauna Shapiro, a professor of counseling at Santa Clara University and clinical psychologist who specializes in teaching mindfulness.Sleep, get more restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.Theres a meditation (or 100) for you.Learning from these conversations is a vital experience, especially if most of your meditation work will ultimately happen via an app.Here's a cheat sheet of what seven apps have to offer in the way of meditation.Alas, like many people hoping to develop a new habit via the convenience of an app, I came away from my experiment still searching for answers.Either way, what my experiment taught me is to look past the allure of a well-stocked meditation library and consider instead what personal goal you're hoping to achieve aside from any core intention for your practice and which app might be best positioned to help.
I practically salivated over the libraries of content offered in each app at first glance, but it quickly became clear that I could careen from trying to reduce stress to improve sleep to gain better focus, all without making much real progress at all.
Whatever you decide to download, be sure to read the terms of service and look for any language about how the app sells or shares your data.