From ten to zen

4 mindfulness apps that are allowing us to cope with a turbulent world and alleviate Covid related stress

Photo: Maria Fabrizio for STAT

During 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic has increasingly disrupted routine, led to loss of income and jobs, deprived us of everyday human contacts and made us closely confront death ...And while it was doing that, another silent pandemic, which did not reach the major newspaper headlines, has been ravaging people around the world with even greater speed: compromised mental health.

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, burnouts, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, sleep disorders, panic attacks, OCD - they are all on the rise globally. A recent study of the International Labour Organisation has even found that “the pandemic has meant that half of young people aged 18 to 29 are now subject to depression and anxiety - and up to 20% of health care workers are suffering from anxiety and depression."

That is why, EUROPOST.EU has decided to present you with some extremely useful applications for meditation, which we tried and loved.

Why meditation, you might ask? Meditation is wrongly believed to be practiced only by highly spiritually elevated persons or among small trees and rivers somewhere far away. In fact, it is intended for everyone, as its supposed advantages include increased focus, reduced stress and better sleep quality. And currently, you have a great choice of mobile apps to teach you how to made and achieve these goals, whether you have 2 or 30 minutes a day and its free. But you can also use it as a present for some of your friends, relatives or even employees so that you can encourage them to start paying more attention to themselves?

First and foremost, you need to think about what you need to be working on the most. Are you haunted by anxious thoughts? Or you may be easily losing your focus, barely finding it afterwards? Is your daily life so stressful that you cannot fall asleep for hours in the night? Are you terrified when you have to go out of your home and therefore you are shopping only online? Or possibly you yourself do not know where the main problem lies?

In such cases, the Calm App is one of the best suggestions for you. It includes a dizzying catalogue of free meditations that you can test before rushing to pay for subscription plans. Apart from this, the app really focuses on training the users in various tools, techniques, and modalities so that all beginners can relieve tension and stress in their shoulders and learn to do it even without using a mobile app for this purpose.

Another distinctive feature of Calm App is that besides the care of the mind, it also takes care of the person's physical condition. Its latest feature includes the so-called Calm Body, which offers 10-minute training videos for slight stretching of the body regardless of one’s age and level of flexibility. Another great feature is the Goodnight Stories. You can simply listen to stories read by the soothing voices of great celebrities (like Matthew McConaughey).

The Headspace App available for iOS and Android is an equally excellent choice and is perhaps the most popular one on this theme (and our personal favourite..shht). It includes hundreds of themed meditation sessions intended to help everyone to get rid of their anxiety, improve their focus and even fall asleep faster or go back to their sleep if they have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night.

The main purpose of Headspace App is to become your "personal instructor", who can encourage you to spend at least five minutes for yourself, despite your busy everyday life as well as to help you establish such a practise of meditation. And it does that through a super cute interface that is love at first sight!

Similar to the Calm App, here you can also find for free almost everything you need for complete relaxation of consciousness, but there are some cons and pros. The downside is that the full access to content, which includes meditation sessions, courses, group classes, etc, is paid and the annual fee is even higher than Netflix’s. The good news, however, is that the company behind has regularly some discounts as well as options for monthly subscription plans, which enables you to test if it is "your thing". If you decide that meditation really helps and you like it, the plus is that Headspace content is really developed by experts in the field of psychology, based on a lot of research and characterised by great innovation.

The Mindfulness App is our third favourite, which you can use for yourself or turn it into a present for your loved one. Regardless of whether the user is a beginner in meditation or a professional, this application is designed to provide a wide range of guided meditation practices for everyone. It includes sessions ranging from just 3 minutes to 30 minutes as well as personalised and guided meditations. It sends you reminders and even statistical data to help you track your journey to a calmer mind. Similar to the previous two applications, you will also find access to great number of courses so that you can bring peace to your life - directly from the palm of your hand.

Our final recommendation is Breethe App. As those mentioned above, it also offers meditations of different duration from 3 to 20+ minutes. The class categories include life situations, a course for learners, themed weeks, meditation for kids and families, and even meditation with little guidance. Themed weeks themselves include better sleep, weight loss, less stress, feeling happier, mindful sex and intimacy, and getting what you want.

In conclusion, we can say that every app has its unique features and depending on your experience with meditation, you can choose the one which is right for you. But one this is sure - they are very effective modality to reduce stress and improve mindfulness and the results will probably help you get through the chaotic world we are currently living in.

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