The Merit Club Gets Mindful: The Best Apps to Help Your Wellbeing
What even is "mindfulness"?
In line with our Meditation & Mantras series, we wanted to investigate a little further how we can bring a stronger and more focused sense of wellbeing into our every-day lives. And maybe even succeed in finding more 'mindfulness' along the way. But first, we can't lie, we did have to ask ourselves, what even is 'mindfulness'. What is it you are being mindful about exactly? It sounds great, it sounds very zen, but what does it take to practice mindfulness in every day life and actually know what you're talking about without sounding all airy fairy?
Founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979.
First of all, we turn to Greater Good Magazine, which defines mindfulness as, 'maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.'
Living in the present... don't we do that all the time? But no, the more we think about it, we don't, and that's where mindfulness comes in. It guides us into the present moment. It encourages us to challenge the chaos of our everyday minds, hurtling to and from past events and future plans, and direct our thought waves into the simple present. Here, accepting the present moment, we can check in with ourselves, both mentally and physically about how we are feeling. Practicing meditation allows you to create more space between your thoughts and reactions, so you can figure out what's really going on in your head, what it is that makes you stressed, and how you can curb any annoying or unproductive habits. In this meditative space you can open, clear and cleanse your mind without judgment.
As we have discovered in our Meditation & Mantras series so far, there are useful ways to deal with distraction, methods to concentrate on your breathing, good times to meditate and favourable places to practise. However, if you are looking for that little extra push, there are some really useful apps that will guide you with your practice, break up the silence of your room, and motivate you to keep going with meditation every day, even if it is just 3 minutes! We've tested them out to save you the time and have rounded up the best we can find.
Words by Lottie Franklin