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Stress is a part of everyday life, especially if you have to deal with difficult clients, stare at a computer screen for several hours of the day, or constantly reply to emails — not to mention the often horrific commute to and from work during rush hour, and various other things you have very little control over.
Luckily, meditation can help reduce (or even stop) stress.
Meditation is a practice in which you learn to rest your mind and reach a state of consciousness that results in total clarity and calmness, usually achieved by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, listening to ambient sounds and breathing deeply. You can meditate for as little as 10 minutes a day. Ironically, the main cause of the average entrepreneur’s stress (technology of course) can also help us find our zen. Let’s take a look at seven apps and gadgets that can help you meditate, a modern alternative to a practise that’s been used for thousands of years.
Calm is a meditation app that helps with sleep, relaxation, and mindfulness. It’s free to download via Google Play or the Apple App Store, and once you login via Facebook or e-mail you can start a beginners session called ‘7 Days of Calm’. Each session is only 10 minutes long. Perfect for busy entrepreneurs to use during lunch breaks or when stuck in traffic! If it works for you, you can subscribe for $9.99 a month or $39.99 a year.
Muse is a headband that measures brain signals while you meditate. Its seven calibrated sensors (two on the forehead, two behind the ears, three reference sensors) detect and measure the brain’s activity.
It connects to an app on your mobile device via Bluetooth and once connected, you’ll be taken through a tutorial on how to adjust it to fit so that it reads and monitors your brain signals effectively. Before every use, because your brain is different on a daily basis, you will complete a 60-second brainstorming task.
After de-stressing you with relaxing music, Muse offers feedback on your meditation session by converting your brain signals into wind sounds. Calm winds indicate that your mind was settled; winds become stronger when the brain is more active. After use, your progress is recorded and you’ll unlock new app features.
Are there any downsides? Maybe. It looks quite obvious that you’re wearing it, and it costs $249 (on Amazon) — if this doesn't bother you, the reviews are averaging at four stars!
Spire ($149) is a small stone-shaped activity and mindfulness tracker that fits easily on your waistband, making it ideal for those who are constantly on the move or need something they can take to work. It records your breathing and activity and conveys it on its corresponding app.
Spire displays your breath in real-time on your device screen, as if you were breathing on a mirror, and lets you know if you’re feeling stressed or lacking focus. Once it notifies you of your current state of mind, the app provides you with activities in order to achieve the best level of mindfulness.
Sadly it isn’t available for Android, but it’s coming soon!
Headspace is an iOS/Android app that describes itself as ‘a gym membership for the mind’; it uses the concept of the gym buddy system to make meditation a social experience too. Like Calm, there’s a free course called ‘Take Ten’, but if you love Headspace you can subscribe for as little as $6.24 a month. Subscribers can enjoy hundreds of hours of content, including both guided and unguided meditation session ranging from two minutes to an entire hour.
Thync is a curvy triangular module that snaps onto two strips that then attach to your forehead and neck. It connects to smartphones via bluetooth, and using safe electric vibes (low-energy wave forms), Thync interestingly stimulates the same nerves that are stimulated during kissing, a soothing massage, or when cold water splashes on your face. You can choose different vibes depending on whether you need to relax or energise, via the app. Thync is $199.
6. Buddhify 2
Buddhify 2 is an app which allows you to take a break and meditate wherever you are — awesome for those who are travelling to meetings or work, or during the stress of rush hour, or those that need a minute to breath during their hectic day. It includes over 80 guided meditation sessions for all times of the day, including travel, sleep, lunch breaks and work (even working from your computer), a fantastic choice for busy entrepreneurs.
Available for both iOS and Android devices, Buddhify 2 is only $2.99, an affordable, minimalistic choice for those who don’t require all the bells and whistles.
Omvana is an app bundled with calming music, meditative speeches and soothing sounds. Dubbed the ‘Spotify’ of meditation, Omvana can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices. It features thousands of tracks, some even targeting specific areas such as sleep and productivity. Omvana also has a mixing board which allows users to mix and edit tracks, creating their own relaxing meditation environment.
Meditation doesn’t have to require a secluded, quiet location or take a huge chunk of time out of your day; thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can meditate on your morning commute, in your office, and for as little (or as long) as you like.
How has technology helped you meditate better? Is there a meditation app that’s changed your life? If there are any apps or gadgets that I may have missed, share them in the comments below.