It’s possibly the best word to describe the general state of our minds at any given moment. With a smartphone in one hand responding to a text message, you sit in front of your computer, with seven browser tabs open and at least one blinking application, while a co-worker asks you a question over your shoulder. Our global network of interconnected devices and the easy access to the Internet has created a reality in which we are all multi-engaged all the time—yet not focusing entirely on any one thing. When our attention is diverted, we only give a fraction of ourselves to the people, conversations, tasks, and responsibilities in front of us.
The practice of mindfulness has become a kind of a buzzword, but don’t write it off as just the next wellness trend. It is a solution to help us refocus, recommit, and remember what’s important and in front of us so that we can give more of ourselves to others and feel a greater sense of accomplishment and purpose while doing it. Keep reading to learn why it’s time you committed to practicing mindfulness in your hectic day-to-day and review our list of tools to help you get started.
What is Mindfulness?
Let’s start with a definition. According to Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, mindfulness means “living in the moment and being aware of our thoughts and feelings as they happen”.
Why is Mindfulness Important?
On the surface, the definition sounds simple enough. Mindfulness seems like a kind of emotional self-awareness—but be honest. How many times have you swallowed frustration during a meeting, or sadness at a friend’s words, only to feel the full weight of your feelings hours—if not days later when you are overwhelmed by a sudden rush of emotion. Such suppression of sentiments as we attempt to deal with it later can create feelings of stress and anxiety that can negatively impact us emotionally, physically, and can even put a strain on our relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.
How to Begin Practicing Mindfulness
If you’re wondering how you can get started eliminating distractions from your life and quieting your mind when it’s filled with internal pop-up messages and reminder alerts, and grounding yourself in the presence of the moment, you don’t have to do it alone. A variety of digital tools are available to help you get started. Yes, there’s an app for this. Just make sure you are using whichever one you choose with all other alerts turned off. Here are three applications to help you get started channeling your inner peace.
Three Apps that Can Help You Practice Mindfulness
- Calm. As its name implies, the Calm app intends to help you reduce stress and reset your emotional and physical well-being with meditation techniques that are ideal for beginners and advanced options for those with experience who need to be held accountable to a routine. When you need an extra injection of relaxing stimuli in your day, the app offers a library of soothing nature sounds and scenes for your enjoyment. Since mindfulness is not just about meditation, Calm also offers bedtime stories for adults to help you drift off to dreamland peacefully.
- Headspace. This meditation app will help you to maximize your productivity in a way that won’t ask you to multitask. The free app can be used anywhere and anytime and includes meditations and exercises to help you adopt mindful practices.
- Aura. For those who need a personalized meditation experience to guide them to greater self-awareness, Aura may be the ideal solution. The app experience begins by asking you a series of questions that are used to customize a daily, three-minute mindfulness meditation session, based on your needs and comfort level.
Do something purposeful and healthy for yourself today.
Commit to practicing mindfulness at least once a week. Challenge yourself to build up to several mindful sessions weekly, until it becomes a daily part of your routine. We are confident that once you experience the emotional and physical benefits of greater self-awareness, it won’t feel like one more task on your to-do-list. It will feel like the choice you’ve made to live a more meaningful and present life.