Meditation Apps that Lower Stress
by Bev Bachel
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the father of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), recently delivered a lecture at the University of Minnesota, and my friend Liz Anema was there. She assists with MBSR experientials in the Twin Cities and teaches mindfulness classes at The Marsh, a nationally acclaimed center for balance and fitness in Minnetonka, Minn.
Anema said Kabat-Zinn was amazing. “He actually had 2,300 people meditating so quietly that you could hear a pin drop,” she explained.
But you don’t have to attend a Kabat-Zinn lecture in order to meditate with him. You can purchase one or all three of his JKZ Series (iOS/Android) apps instead. Each costs $9.99, which is worth the price since they come jam-packed with great features, including daily practices and journal exercises, and can be used in conjunction with Kabat-Zinn’s books.
Anema particularly appreciates the app’s Zen-like messages she receives throughout the day. They include “You can be nobody but yourself” and “There’s no place to be but right here, right now.” “I have them set to arrive between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.,” says Liz, who credits the messages with helping her to be more mindful, even during busy, stress-filled days.
Other great meditation apps exist as well. Aside from the JKZ Series, here are two more of my favorites:
Cost: Free (iOS/Android)
This app is a “portable stress management tool” that teaches you diaphragmatic breathing, a technique that’s been taught for centuries as a way of reducing stress and decreasing the body’s fight or flight response.
Choose the breathing cycle that’s right for you, and the app makes it easy to practice. As you develop your skills, you can begin to “belly breathe” as you walk, drive, watch TV, attend meetings and perform other everyday activities.
strong>Cost: $2.99/$1.99 (iOS/Android)
Designed to help reduce stress and increase well-being, this app gives you everything you need to develop a regular meditation practice.
It’s easy to use, even for beginners, yet it’s robust enough for serious practitioners. You choose how long you want to meditate and whether you want to do so in silence or with the help of a guide. You can also use the app to track your progress.
So whether you’re seeking to be less stressed or more mindful, these apps can help — and thankfully, they’re just a download away.
Freelance writer Bev Bachel lives in Minneapolis and uses her phone to talk, text and email friends and family around the world. She’s the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go For It!
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