Tag Archives: apps

I didn’t realise that it had been that long!

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I never really meant to stop posting on this blog, but the rest of my life kind of took over. Settling into my new job (which now seven months later should probably just be referred to as, y’know, my job) the seemingly constant task of employing new assistants and trying to figure out what to do about my ongoing lack of suitable accommodation (if you want to know more about these other parts of my life in a separate blog let me know) I gradually started meditating less and less. It’s the usual story with me, the more I need to meditate the less I seem to have the motivation to actually sit down and do it. (Or at least just do it in my case).

This week I’ve decided to make an effort to get back into it. I’ve resubscribed to Headspace. There are a lot of other apps that I like but it just seems to be the way my brain works I need the structure to follow. Headspace, like meditation in general, leads to mixed experiences. Sometimes I feel much calmer and like it’s made a huge difference, other times I feel like it’s made very little difference, it just depends on the day and probably my mood. Still, the thing that always brings me back to Headspace is that I need to have a session to do every day in order to create that routine of meditating. I’ve talked about Headspace a lot previously, check out my old posts if you want more details.

It’s only been three days so far, but I already feel better. To be honest that’s probably because I no longer have the voice in my head telling me that I should be meditating, but whatever the reason it’s nice to have a head that feels even a tiny bit clearer.

This time I’m not going to make any promises about new starts or regular posts or practices to myself or you. I thought I would write this post to give myself one less thing to think about that I’m not doing.

Anyway, I will hopefully see you again soon if this motivation continues.

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Get Some Headspace

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If you have been following this blog for a while then you will probably know that Headspace has played a big role in meditation becoming a habit  for me. Particularly when it comes to meditating on a daily basis, something which I have at times found really hard to stick to. Headspace gives  you a separate session to do each day  focusing on a different aspect of mindfulness within your chosen pack, with ideas around how to apply mindfulness in a practical way, which keeps it interesting.

My meditation practice is still very up and down. Some weeks I find I am very calm and it feels like my practice is going really well and I have developed some depth and stability in my ability to stay present. Other days it will be back to being very choppy and it’s difficult to step back from the critical thoughts. Whatever type of practice I  am having Headspace helps keep it consistent. This little video about letting go of effort both in terms of getting to sleep and having a calmer meditation is something I have found helpful and like to remind myself of quite often.

 

On the day this is posted I will have reached 200 days of meditating daily. As a reward for my ‘run streak’ I have a code for 3 months free access to help you get started with your own mindfulness practice. I am posting it here, but please only take it if you are pretty confident you are going to use it, as it can only be used once.

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Simply copy the code, click here to go to headspace.com click ‘redeem code’ follow the instructions and enjoy!

 

Another App that Helped me: Buddhify

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I wanted to talk about another app I have found really helpful. Buddhify is an app that focuses on meditation and bringing mindfulness into your everyday life.  One of the best parts about Buddhify is the amount of different techniques that are available, so you can do a specific meditation depending on what your mood is that day.

I have found the multitude of techniques  helpful because it means that there is always something new to explore. At the same time, if there is a technique I am comfortable with, I can go back to it as many times as I like. For example,  the one I have probably used most often is the Rain technique  in the ‘Feeling stressed’ section. (R.A.I.N. = Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Non-Identifying)   which is extremely helpful when there is something making me feel anxious.

One of my other favourite meditations  is a technique to help deal with critical thoughts. (found in the ‘Difficult emotions’ section)  This takes you through a  process where you are encouraged to give your everyday inner critic silly names. As in Doctor Who naming the monsters that you have to fight, making them weaker and giving you more space from these negative ideas. As you may know from previous posts anything that encourages the use of Doctor Who to help with meditation practice is going to get a thumbs up from me.

The Loving Kindness Technique. (Found in the Just meditation II section) This Meditation can seem awkward at first and they acknowledge this at the start of the guided meditation, which oddly helped me feel more comfortable more quickly. However awkward this is to begin with I have found it an important one to come back to because as well as practising loving kindness towards others it also focuses on developing loving kindness towards ourselves, something that we probably all need reminding of, especially when going through tough times.

As well as the techniques to use in  more traditional sitting meditation there are also techniques  that you can use  throughout the day.  One of the most useful areas that Buddhify has  techniques for is working online. I spend a lot of my time online so it would be good for me to be able to try and develop more mindfulness in this area. The techniques encourage you to think about the people connected to technology, whether users or developers, which seems a great way to try and widen awareness.  The tip to use blinking as an opportunity to  re-focus when you are working on the computer  is something that I am  definitely going to be trying to use more.

Although this is another paid app I have found it worth the money   just for the sheer variety it provides. Whenever I feel like I need a moment of calm this app will have something that can help me. I always find the meditations in this are both informative and soothing. I have probably only covered a fraction of what Buddhify entails in this post, the longer I have it the more I discover. On top of what I have discussed it includes techniques  for waking up, sleeping, waiting around and pretty much anything you can think of and in my opinion it is well worth the small upfront cost.

Buddhify is £2.99 on Google Play (Android) and £4.99 on the App Store (iPhone)

An app that helped me: headspace

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I mentioned in my first post that it was apps  that had allowed me to really develop a regular meditation habit before I was able to find an accessible class.  The first app that helped me  to do that was Headspace. If you have any interest in meditation you have probably heard of Headspace and Andy Puddicombe, as it is Andy’s voice that will be guiding you through each exercise.

Not only does headspace offer guided meditations that help you build up your confidence and your skills and also give you a specific meditation  to do  every day.  If you (like me) work better  when given a specific structure to follow then this is one of the app’s main selling points. Although I have had a few lapses in the past I have found that the way had spaces structured has really helped me stay motivated and keep meditating on a daily basis.

 

This video is an example of the way Andy explains things. The above example really helped change the way I saw my thoughts working and helped me try to stop getting dragged away by them.  The animations and tips and tricks that headspace provides are a really  quick and easy way to get an insight or a new perspective on something. Another example of this would be when talking about effort. Meditation is often compared to sleep, in that the best way to do it well is to not try at all. I  have always been quite a  goal orientated person so this doesn’t come naturally to me so this idea was another new and interesting perspective.

It’s important to try and remember that there is no such thing as a good meditation or bad meditation, just the practice. Even after nearly 100 days of consecutive practice many of my meditations are still really busy. I still feel like I’m benefiting from trying to take a step back from my thoughts, no matter whether I feel I have been that successful or not.

One of the things that you need to be sure of with any guided meditation is that you don’t have an instinctive dislike to the voice, in my experience this can affect whether or not you enjoy and get the most benefit out of your meditation. This doesn’t affect me with headspace but it has affected me when it comes to other meditations. Also once you feel you are confident with meditation then you may feel that there is a little too much guidance in each session, which can sometimes be distracting. Most of the time though it acts as a reminder to go back to the breath, it just depends what works for you

I found the visualisation technique extremely difficult when I first started using headspace and it even stop me using the for a while.  When I came back to it, when they asked me to visualise a light gradually spreading through my body I used the image of the Doctor regenerating to help me imagine it more successfully.

Some people may be put off by the cost but if you find take 10 (which is free for 10 days) useful and you use it every day and you feel the need to help to build the structure like I did then I think you may find it worth it

The thing I like most about headspace is all the techniques that it teaches you and the way that with each new pack I feel that I am developing my technique even further and throughout each pack there are videos that help you get the most out of each technique.

This is not the only app I use but it is the one I use most regularly.I will be talking about the other apps I have found helpful soon.

Check out Headspace  here

I hope that this has been helpful, thank you for reading.

*This blog was mostly typed with speech recognition software, please forgive any mistakes or oddnesses that have slipped through my proofreading process. Thank you.