Concerns about how smartphones impair mindfulness have arisen as smartphones become more widespread in today’s environment.
When used excessively or continuously, smartphones are certainly an enemy of mindfulness, but they aren’t our only alternative. Rather than seeing smartphone use and mindfulness as oxymorons, we could consider how we may use our phones to help us practice mindfulness.
True, we can use our cellphones to learn about mindfulness and even improve our practice if we pay attention to how we use them.
You could utilize one of the many useful meditation and mindfulness applications available, and download your own favorite meditation sessions, put up some music or ambient noise files, and make reminders and notifications to get you into regular practice.
The top 10 mindfulness apps for mindfulness and meditation are listed below;
If you’re not sure where to start, these applications can help you build a daily mindfulness practice. Establishing a daily practice is an effective strategy to develop a mindfulness habit, and practicing mindfulness will soon become second nature.
These apps should help you whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, and whether you want to spend money or not.
1. The Mindfulness App
We’ll start with the Mindfulness App because it’s an excellent place to start for beginners. It’s an iOS app that teaches you how to be more aware.
You’ll begin with a five-day mindfulness introduction and guided meditations to get you used to meditating. It also allows you to customize your meditations and offers scheduled sessions (both guided and quiet meditations) ranging from 3 to 30 minutes.
If you don’t mind dipping into your pocket for more content, the app also has a premium subscription option that gives you access to courses on relationships, attention, and peacefulness, as well as 250+ guided meditations. Download it HERE.
The Headspace app is an iOS and Android app with hundreds of themed meditation sessions designed to help you de-stress, relieve anxiety, enhance attention, and even fall asleep (or wake up) faster. It guides you through daily meditation 10 minutes at a time.
Headspace aspires to be your mindfulness “personal trainer,” guiding you through the process of developing a daily meditation practice.
It is undoubtedly the most popular meditation app, with over 600,000 reviews and a 4.9 rating in the app store. This app is also backed by a number of scientific research, making it a safe bet.
Headspace offers a free trial and some basic content for free; but, after the first two weeks, you will be automatically enrolled in the yearly subscription. If the year plan is too much of a commitment for you, you can pay on a monthly basis, albeit you only get one free week with that choice.
While the notion that you will eventually have to pay for a subscription may put some people off, there is nothing to lose by giving it a try for free. Download it HERE.
3. Mindfulness Daily
Mindfulness Daily is a free app for iOS and Android devices (although there are extended practices available for purchase). It encourages you to practice mindfulness for a few minutes in the morning, a few minutes in the middle of the day, and a few minutes at night to help you create a daily mindfulness practice.
It also keeps track of how many days you’ve followed your mindfulness program in a row. Because it provides a regular guided routine to follow, the Mindfulness Daily app is a perfect answer for someone who wants to start practicing mindfulness but isn’t sure where to begin. Download it HERE.
4. Stop Breathe & Think
Stop Breathe & Think is yet another iOS/Android/Web software that offers free basic meditations as well as two membership alternatives (monthly or annual).
It allows you to check-in for a few minutes whenever you have a few minutes to squeeze some mindfulness into your agenda.
Over 55 tailored meditations, a customizable meditation and breathing timer, tools to measure your progress, and videos on a variety of themes are all included in this app to help you live a healthier and happier life.
Stop Breathe & Think is a fantastic alternative for folks who don’t think they’ll be able to integrate mindfulness into their hectic schedule but still want to try it. Download HERE.
5. 10% Happier: Meditation
Do you want to improve your happiness by 10%? That’s what this app claims to be able to provide! This free app includes over 500 guided meditations on a range of topics, fast meditations to fit into a hectic schedule, and “bite-size stories, wisdom, and inspiration” that you can use throughout the day to stay aware, happy, and healthy.
This program will teach you the foundations, provide you with sleep meditations, and allow you to track your progress as you work to make meditation a daily habit. Personal coaching, offline listening, and the meditation of the day, as well as practical tips about meditation, are all available.
You can get the essentials of meditation and daily reminders for free, but to access all of the information in this app, you’ll need to upgrade to membership. Download HERE.
Calm is a free iOS and Android app that claims to be “the #1 app for meditation and sleep” and offers guided mindfulness meditation. The download is free, but the free content is limited. The program starts with a “7 Days of Calm” course that introduces you to mindfulness meditation and includes both guided and unguided meditation sessions.
You may subscribe to Calm for a monthly, annual, or lifetime subscription to unlock all of the content (additional multi-day courses, a “Daily Calm” course, and many, many more guided meditations). Calm is a fantastic option for folks who prefer well-organized multi-day courses to unstructured individual sessions. Download HERE.
Omvana is an iOS app with more than 50 guided meditation recordings as well as sleep sounds. It is available for free download and includes some tracks that are absolutely free, as well as tunes that may be purchased.
Simple meditation music to fully guided meditation recordings are all available. You may also personalize your meditations by choosing from over 200 ambient music. Omvana is an excellent option for folks who aren’t sure if they want to invest money on a meditation software because it allows them to try out numerous different tracks for free. Download HERE.
8. Smiling Mind
If you want to introduce meditation to young children or students, the Smiling Mind app is a fantastic choice. This software is available for download on the App Store and Google Play, and it is absolutely free to use, which is unusual in today’s world! It was also created by psychologists and educators to be suitable for individuals of all ages.
Choose from a variety of programs for children aged 7 to 9, children aged 10 to 12, children aged 13 to 15, children aged 16 to 18, adults, athletes, mindfulness in the classroom, mindfulness in the workplace, and a sleep program. Download HERE.
9. Take A Break!
The Meditation Oasis podcast has released another iOS and Android app, Take A Break! It’s identical to the Simply Being app, but it includes two more guided meditations from the podcast. People who are interested in the Simply Being app but are hesitant to pay for it can first try Take A Break!, which is free.
This also implies that Take A Break! is a perfect free option to the Simply Being app for anyone who want to try out the applications from the Meditation Oasis podcast without having to spend any money. Download HERE.
10. Relax Melodies
Relax Melodies is an iOS and Android app that allows you to practice mindfulness meditation on your own while listening to music. Because the software just provides backing tracks, there are no guided meditations.
Relax Melodies is an excellent alternative for folks who already know how to meditate but want something to go with their mindfulness meditation sessions because it is absolutely free. It could also be beneficial for mindfulness practitioners who are musically inclined. Download HERE.
10 Beginner Core Strength Workout Exercises
Many people associate core strength training with ridiculous ab techniques that have been shown on TV infomercials for years.
If you’re one of those people, I don’t blame you!
I used to believe that core strength just applied to the abdominal muscles.
However, the image has become clearer after several years of training (primarily in the sport of powerlifting) and much research.
What is core strength?
Despite popular belief, a strong core is sustained by more than just muscles. In reality, the quality and depth of one’s breathing are linked to the strength of one’s core.
Many people in our society don’t breathe properly: they don’t take deep belly breaths with a concentration on filling the base/full 360-degree core.
Before air enters the upper chest and lungs, they should expand the lower rib cage.
Many people do not breathe deeply and instead spend the majority of their days only scratching the surface of their breathing capacity, relying solely on upper chest breathing.
So, before you try any of the exercises below, focus on your breathing.
Wrap a thick string (such as a shoestring) around your waist and cross it over your navel (much like a belt worn high).
Ensure that you can place two fingers between the string and your navel – this will prevent you from trying it too tightly and allowing you to breathe freely into your belly.
The goal is to keep the string on your body throughout the day and use it as a tactile reminder to focus on deep belly breathing.
When you breathe deeply into your belly button, you’ll notice a string tightening around your entire core.
After a few days of experimenting with this method, attempt the exercises below without the string while still focusing on your breathing.
Health Benefits of Core Strength
Core strength is a key element of general health, and we’ll look at a few exercises that can help you not just increase core strength but also core stability, which is perhaps even more important!
10 Core Strengthening Exercises
1. Suitcase Carry with Kettlebells or Dumbbells (“Farmers Walks”)
You’ll note that many of these exercises have easy-to-understand names, and this one is no exception. It works in the same way that it sounds.
Farmers Walks entail picking up a relatively heavyweight and holding it on each side (left first, then right) for 10-15 paces while walking steadily (focused on core breathing).
You should not walk lopsidedly; instead, keep your spine straight and neutral while allowing your core to sustain that stability.
2. Front Plank
Put your arms shoulder-width apart and bring your elbows to the ground in a push-up position. Hold the static position for as long as you can without your knees contacting the ground, then repeat.
3. Side Plank
This core-strengthening exercise is similar to a front plank, only you pivot to each side and rest totally on one elbow or the other.
Perform with the opposite arm stretched straight into the air or parallel to your body, running down the side.
With or without weight, and with or without side bends, they can be done. This is a terrific core strength workout to do right after Farmers Walks if you’re using weights.
Side bending is accomplished by stretching your arm across and forming a half-moon crescent shape while lunging — the arm you arch should be on the same side as the leg with the knee on the ground.
4. Barbell Overhead Press
You wouldn’t think that overhead pressing would have anything to do with core strength, but it does! A straight line overhead press is impossible to do without first stabilizing and bracing your entire core.
When doing the action, I recommend filming yourself from the side and checking that your bar path maintains a straight line over your head.
5. Dumbbell Overhead Press
This exercise is similar to the barbell overhead press, but it demands more core and shoulder stability.
6. Hanging Leg Raises
This exercise is beneficial not just to core strength and stability, but also to the overall health of the shoulders.
Maintain a straight back and shoulder line while hanging – this will keep you steady and in control throughout the activity.
Instead of swinging your legs up and down, raise and lower them slowly and deliberately.
7. Bird-Dog Exercise
Lean forward and place your hands on the ground, with your fingers facing forward, directly under your shoulders (shoulder-width apart).
If required, adjust your hands and knees so that your knees are directly beneath your hips and your hands are directly beneath your shoulders.
Extend your right arm straight forward and your left leg straight back at the same time. Rep on the other side, this time with the left arm straight ahead and the right leg straight back.
8. Goblet Squat
This is a lot of fun! This can be done with a kettlebell, a dumbbell, or even a heavy book.
In essence, you’re standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and pointed out at a 45-degree angle. Ascend into a deep squat and counter-balance with the weight you’re holding.
Before ascending, stay in the bottom posture for 7 or more deep breaths.
9. Dragonfly or Dragon Flag (by Bruce Lee)
This action, made popular by martial artist Bruce Lee, necessitates the use of a decline bench or something similar that can hold your complete weight.
On the bench, lie flat on your back with your feet closer to the ground (on the decline).
Grab the bench behind your neck, then raise your legs from the lower position while using your arms and core to stabilize your upper body.
10. Front Squat
Front squats, which target both the anterior and posterior muscle chains, are undoubtedly the best approach to improve overall core strength. They can be done in three different ways.
First, by crossing the arms over and holding the barbell above the chest (resting on the collarbone), or second, by not crossing the arms and holding the bar with hands shoulder-width apart.
The third method is similar to the second, but if wrist movement is a concern, a pair of straps can be used to keep the bar in place with each hand/wrist.
Core strength should not be treated as a separate entity; rather, it should be viewed as part of the larger ecosystem that is human physiology.
Because of this, core strength is linked to digestion and excretion, and can even be linked to psychological well-being. Many people regard our gut to be a second brain, and if our digestion is in order, so will our intellect.
To help your body reach its maximum potential and stay healthy – both physically and psychologically – try these core strength workouts.
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