Protecting Your Mental Health in the Age of Coronavirus: 10 Apps To Help You Practise Mindfulness
In the midst of a pandemic, it's more important than ever to care for not just your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing. These wellness apps help you to overcome stress and anxiety and find positivity and peace in your daily life.
Ranking at number one for health and fitness in the App Store, Calm is a subscription-based meditation app to soothe your mind. Whatever your personal goal—improving focus, building self-esteem, better sleep, or more—the app calms you down with guided meditations, audio masterclasses, video lessons on mindful movement, and soothing sounds of nature. Calm also features sleep stories voiced by famous narrators including Black Panther actress Danai Jekesai Gurira, comedian Stephen Fry, and Bindi Irwin.
One of the best-known apps for mindfulness and meditation, Headspace trumps over other apps with its whimsical, design-centric interface. Touting itself as a ‘gym membership for the mind’, the subscription-based service offers a library of short and simple guided meditations, animations and videos that fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. Great for beginners and veterans alike, this app acts as a pocket-sized coach to help you manage the stress of daily life, even if you can only spare a minute for a breathing exercise.
An all-rounder, Fabulous adopts a holistic approach to improving your wellbeing by building healthy habits and routines in your life. Whether you want to feel more energised, lose weight, sleep better, or focus and concentrate, the app’s integrated coaching feature will motivate you and offer targeted advice to achieve your goals. From physical exercises to meditation, each session is created in collaboration with researchers and backed by scientific studies.
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4/10 Stop, Breathe & Think
Attuned to your state of wellbeing, every session on Stop, Breathe & Think begins by ‘checking in’ on how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally, allowing you to identify and express what you’re feeling. Then, the app uses this information to recommend a list of practices—including audio and animated videos—to choose from in order to achieve a sense of calm and balance. Alternatively, you can also choose from themes like ‘Sleep Well’, ‘Slay Your Stress’, as well as ‘Calm Coronavirus Anxiety’. Sessions last from one minute to more than 10 minutes.
5/10 Portal - Focus, Sleep, Escape
Portal takes a different approach to mindfulness by recreating the ambience of beautiful destinations—from the Pacific waves in Hawaii to the Amazon thunderstorm in Brazil—with immersive 3D sounds and high-resolution visuals. The app comes with three modes: the Focus function allows you to concentrate on a task with a timer; the Sleep function features an alarm clock and sleep timer; while the Escape function offers breathing exercises. Portal’s library of sounds, produced by an Emmy-winning nature sound recordist, can also be mixed with other apps like audiobooks and podcasts.
6/10 10% Happier: Meditation For Fidgety Sceptics
Not sure if meditation is for you? 10% Happier may change your mind. This neuroscience-backed app takes a no-frills approach to guided meditations for sceptics and city-dwellers with limited attention spans. Short video sessions teach users to be more attuned to their emotions and mental wellbeing as well as understand their intentions for meditation. The subscription offers access to more than 500 guided meditations on topics ranging from managing anxiety to focusing, with new content released weekly. Bite-sized stories, wisdom and inspiration are also available on the go to fit into your busy life.
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Designed for busy people, MindFi offers a fresh way to “be mindful with open eyes”. Whether you’re commuting, having a meal, or sneaking in a break at work, the app makes it easy to find time for meditation in your schedule with breathing exercises and short guided meditations based on your mood. If you need to stay focused, the Pomodoro timer helps you to concentrate on what matters for a specified duration. Ten-minute themed sessions of closed-eye meditation are also available to guide you into mastering mindfulness.
8/10 Tide: Sleep. Focus. Meditation
Offering respite from your fast-paced life, Tide aims to help you stay focused, relieve stress, achieve mindfulness, and sleep better at night. The minimalist app offers a Pomodoro timer to increase efficiency and improve focus, nature sounds to create a conducive ambient for rest, and a library of guided meditations from basics such as Breathe, Thoughts, and Body Scan to more comprehensive series like Restful Sleep, Stress Relief and Peace in Crisis.
9/10 Simple Habit: Wellness & Sleep
If you have just five minutes to spare every day, Simple Habit is the app for you. Featuring over 1,000 guided meditations for any situation and from more than 75 meditation teachers—including mindfulness experts at Google and former monks—there’s a little something for everyone. Simple and intuitive, users are asked to select topics of interest for a tailored experience, which offers content ranging from audio meditations and coaching to motivational guides and bedtime stories. There’s also a On-the-Go feature if you need a quick session to calm your nerves and improve mindfulness.
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If meditation is not for you, you may find Reflectly to be the perfect alternative to achieving mindfulness. Describing itself as a journal for happiness, Reflectly enables you to be more attuned with your thoughts and emotions by asking simple questions about your day, how you felt, and why it was good. The intelligent journal saves your answers as stories, which you can look back on to gain insights about yourself and perhaps find more positivity and gratitude in your daily life.