Calm. Balanced. Focused. When it comes to wellness goals, consider all three at the top of our list. Unfortunately, these days it’s harder than ever to truly feel at our prime in those regards, thanks to a pace of life that moves at lightning speed. The good news? Meditation can help. You’ve likely caught wind that the ancient practice is widely considered beneficial, but we’re breaking it down to the ways we’ve been most impacted by incorporating it into our lives. Check out the top five reasons we love our meditation apps, then get started with one (or more!) of our favorites like Headspace, The Breathing App, and Calm.
1. THEY FORCE YOU TO SLOW DOWN
Ever have a moment when you bring your thoughts back to the breath and realize how shallow it is? Yikes,—same. A core tenant of meditation is deep, intentional breathing, and it’s incredible what just a quick session can do for your stress levels, blood pressure, and more. Even if you only have 30 seconds to spare, shutting your eyes and turning your attention to breathwork can significantly alleviate tension in the moment.
2. THEY HELP YOU STAY PRESENT
We all have racing minds that can't help but think about an hour from now, a day, a week—and while it’s not inherently negative to look towards the future, there’s also so much value in remaining present. Meditation apps help you refocus and reorient to the moment you’re in to help ground you and bring a sense of purpose and power to your day.
3. THEY CAN HELP ALLEVIATE PHYSICAL STRESS
Headaches, muscle tension, backaches, oh my—who can relate? Stress doesn’t just take an emotional toll, but a physical one as well, as we strain our eyes and scrunch our shoulders while huddled over our keyboards and devices day after day. Making meditation a frequent habit helps to decompress and ease the ways stress manifests itself in the body.
4. THEY ENCOURAGE THOUGHTFUL DECISIONS OVER REACTIVITY
How many times have you made a rash decision in the heat of a stressful moment? Apps can help from both a long and short-term perspective in coaching yourself to take a pause before reacting emotionally in favor of thinking rationally.
5. THEY HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
It’s no secret that a good chunk of the population has trouble sleeping—which is problematic, given the many ways its crucial to our optimal functioning as humans. (Check out Ariana Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution, for a deep dive on that topic.) Meditation helps you unwind and clear your mind, and the practice is starting to show promise in clinical studies to help with insomnia. It doesn't happen overnight, but with continued use, you might just find the ritual helps you rest easier.