3 Meditation and Mindfulness Apps for Stressed-Out Event Professionals
With so much uncertainty in the world, and with most of us isolating in our homes and feeling concerned about the future, there is no time like the present to establish a meditation and mindfulness practice. While the idea of sitting still and trying to quiet your mind while breathing deeply may seem challenging for many, there are incredible benefits to be had from a regular meditation practice. As many long-time meditators (including yours truly) can attest, a regular practice not only helps relieve stress, increase focus and improve sleep, but also enhances one’s self-awareness and overall well-being.
“[Meditation] takes practice; it provides opportunity for patience; and you can set your agenda around your meditation,” explains Hadley McClellan, founder of EvCon FITNESS, which matches event organizers with local fitness instructors to teach on-site fitness classes at conferences and events.
She continues, “The light that radiates from you after calming your heart and mind penetrates your day, the people around you and yourself. Now is the time to start so that you are able to walk through the next phase [of your life and career] ready, present and calm.”
To make meditation easier to adopt and maintain a regular practice, you can turn to apps. While there are myriad mindfulness and meditation apps available through iTunes, Google Play and Android, we asked two mindfulness experts to share their favorite options. Here’s what they recommend:
(Cost: Free or 7-day trial with subscription content; access to the app’s entire catalog runs $12.99/month, $59.99/year and $299.99 for a lifetime subscription.)
Upon opening the Calm app, you’ll be greeted by serene images and relaxing sounds, including chirping birds or crickets, flowing water, falling rain or a crackling fireplace. Visually pleasing and easy to navigate, Calm offers a range of timed and guided meditation experiences ranging from three to 25 minutes. Try out morning sessions to start your day feeling alert and refreshed, wind down in the evening with “sleep stories,” or choose the Daily Calm option for shorter meditation sessions.
“I love this app for four reasons: daily meditations with intentions that many times speak to exactly what I need; categories of guided meditations that help me in certain areas of my life or times of stress; night sounds and stories that help when my mind is restless and I need extra help turning it off and going to sleep; and timed meditations for when I need to take a moment to be still and quiet my mind,” McClellan says.
(Cost: Free for first 2 weeks; $12.99/month or $69.99/year.)
Breathe in and breathe out – that’s what the Headspace app tells you to do as soon as you open it. Launched by a former Buddhist monk, this comprehensive mindfulness tool is designed to release stress and anxiety and suits any level of meditator.
Features include categorized, 10-minute daily meditations, including a “singles” series that helps with everything from sleep and letting go of stress and anxiety to being more forgiving and mindful, and SOS meditations that can be particularly helpful during times of crisis. The app also offers quick 2-3 minute meditation sessions and special animations that teach mindfulness skills, and answers user questions.
When first subscribing, start your journey with the 3-10-minute Basics course to get a thorough introduction to the art of meditation.
“Taking a moment, whether it be one minute or 30, to be still and breathe [helps] reignite creativity, establish a new sense of balance, and calm the anxious heart and mind,” McClellan says. “It sets me up for success.”
(Cost: Free or $60/year for the MemberPlus premium features option.)
This popular meditation app offers 40,000 guided meditations from more than 1,000 teachers covering topics like self-compassion, dealing with life’s obstacles and overall self-improvement, in addition to talks and podcasts. Once you find a teacher you enjoy, you can follow them to make sure you don’t miss any new content; if you prefer a quieter experience, try the option of meditating to intermittent bells or a calming ambient noise.
“I started with this app for my own practice and loved it,” says Lee Papa, a mindfulness and well-being speaker, trainer, author and creator of the Mindfulness Lounge. “Then I was invited to upload a sampling of my own meditations... I resonated with the core values of the company and I loved that the app was free for meditations.”
Insight Timer also features thousands of background music tracks, including nature sounds, ambient music, sound healing, drumming, chanting and mantras, binaural beats and instrumental music.
“Having a wide variety of [meditation app] options benefits [your] collective whole as you begin to navigate the mindfulness and meditation scene,” Papa says. “The most important part is to go with what feels right to you and honor your own inner journey.”