My friends know that if they come to me with an ailment or problem, my response is likely to be “have you tried meditating?”. Meditation is the coolest. It can make your life so much easier, you can do it any place, any time with or without anyone, you can sit any which way you please (or stand, or walk, or lay down)…and…it’s completely free.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had some very talented teachers who have equipped me with the knowledge and skills to practice a range of mindfulness and meditation techniques. I prefer to call them life skills.
I’ve reaped a huge amount of reward from this (sometimes inconsistent) practice. I’ll list a few below, but really – the list is endless. I’ve found there to be immediate benefits (like, literally straight away!) and longer term benefits (after a period of daily or near daily practice). There seems to be a general consensus between the experts that it takes about eight weeks to make measurable changes to the brain. Pretty freakin’ cool, ha!
So, here are just some of the benefits I have experienced from my meditation practice.
- Better mood, calmer and more peaceful
- Improved concentration, attention and focus
- Improved ability to stay in the present moment
- Improved sleep
- Increased appreciation and gratitude
- Increased happiness
- Reduced monkey-mind/mind wandering
- Ability to respond more skilfully and gracefully to everyday situations as well as life’s difficulties
- Ability to respond to pain better
While I’ve learnt a variety of meditation styles and techniques from wonderful teachers, books, videos and good ol’ Googs, I still turn to the trusty phone apps. Guided meditations not only help to keep me on track but keep my mind open to learning new techniques and tidbits along the way. Here’s my top 3 FREE meditation phone app recommendations for you.
NUMBER 3: SMILING MIND
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For sure the best part of Smiling Mind is how they’ve taken the time to consider the youngies. They have specifically created meditations and mindfulness exercises for tweens right up to adults. So if you’re seven years young and reading my blog (thank you), you can use it! They’ve carefully considered how it could be utilised in primary and secondary school classrooms and made being mindful not only totally accessible, but age appropriate as well. There are heaps of free meditations, including one where you are guided through mindful chocolate eating. Hello hips! But it’s ok, because you eat ~20% less when you’re doing it mindfully. Yeahhhhhh! They’ve also integrated a mood-measurer where you input your mood pre-meditation and post-meditation then compare the results. TBH, I skip this part but maybe it’s your cup of chamomile tea. A great app to use with your kids or students. It’s never too early to be mindful. Oh hey also, using the app is entirely free. BOOM!
NUMBER 2: HEADSPACE
Here’s the excuse you’ve been looking for to watch some cartoons! Headspace is sure to give you an unreal foundation to mindfulness. You have free access to Take10, a ten-day mindfulness introduction which perfectly combines audio meditations and visual animations. Out of all the apps I’ve used, websites I’ve visited and YouTube video’s I’ve watched, I’ve found that these animations offer the best explanations of mindfulness and meditation. For me, they created so much clarity. A perfect lightbulb moment. Definitely download Headspace for the Take10 animations. After this, you’ll need to subscribe which will cost you a hefty fee. $19.99/month (which seems okay) right up to $599.99 for a lifetime membership. At that price, I’d like a few therapy sessions thrown in, but until then I highly recommend completing Headspace’s free Take10 course. Regardless if you’re a meditation beginner or pro, there’s always room to strengthen our foundations.
NUMBER 1: CALM
I’ve used the free version of Calm regularly for nearly a year now and I ab-so-lutely love it. I’m hooked straight from the point of tapping the app open when you see “take a deep breath”, right to the calendar automatically inputting my meditation sessions so I can review how “on track” I am. For me, it really does tick all the boxes. The free version offers a decent variety of guided meditations, timed body scans, timed un-guided meditations…all of which lasted me an entire year. I really have gained a lot from using Calm. So much so that a few days ago, I exhaled tight-arse Rachel and inhaled the full version of the app. $62 for a year and I now have access to a huge range of guided meditations ranging from 7 Days of Sleep, 7 Days of Calming Anxiety, 7 Days of Focus to 7 Days of Gratitude. There’s also guided meditations specific to commuting, concentration, creativity, self acceptance and sooo much more! This is for sure my top mediation app recommendation – I use it nearly daily. My advice…start with the free version first to make sure it’s up your alley. Final opinion? Totally on point. Cue OK Hand Sign emoji.
SEE MY FAVE MEDITATION SPOTS ON SNAPCHAT! USER: RAERAEDELUXE