We can all agree that this is not the kind of summer we had in mind. However, we can always bring more positivity in our lives. With more opportunities to focus on ourselves, we can devote a little more time to self-care.
Mindfulness is a mental state or attitude in which one focuses one’s awareness on the present moment while also being conscious of this awareness. Mindfulness finds its origins in Yoga philosophy and Buddhism, however, since the late 20th-century, it has been increasingly taught and practised as a formal discipline, often involving meditation with a focus on one’s emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Source: “mindfulness, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2020.
When I started at York, I had a packed schedule with lots of things to do around campus. My massive reading lists, assignments and other commitments kept me on my toes, and I loved being busy. So, I had never practiced mindfulness and never thought that I would need to until COVID-19 hit. Online classes freed up a lot of time in my schedule and I began packing my day with commitments just to feel productive. Soon I realized that this was taking a toll on my mental health. That is when I began looking for mindfulness apps that would be able to calm my mind and help me hit the “refresh” button.
Today, I would like to share five mindfulness apps that will help you focus and stay healthy.
With 45,000 free guided meditations and music tracks and scientifically-researched practices, InsightTimer provides you with options across music, talks, concentration practices, recovery and healing, stress management and so much more!
I personally like using InsightTimer because it offers music as a method of healing. Music has always had a huge impact on me, and it is no surprise that it helps me relax, focus and heal.
Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit initiative that helps you practise mindfulness anywhere, whether you are at school, work or home. The app asks you questions to provide customized recommendations that suit your needs. You can learn how to relax and regulate your emotions, improve concentration and increase productivity, reduce anxiety and stress and much more.
Declutter The Mind is a free meditation app that teaches you how to meditate and how to practice mindfulness. The meditations are broken up into categories, so whether you’re interested in mindfulness, loving-kindness, or you are looking for something to help ease anxiety, within each category, there are various guided practices from five to 30 minutes in length.
This app has both free and paid versions. You get 30 free sessions and the app lets you track your progress. You can even earn cute badges after completing levels!
The name of this app reminds me of a neat trick that I use to calm myself down. Whenever I am nervous about something, I take a step back, close my eyes and slowly take a deep breath. It might sound simple, but it immediately composes my mind.
As university students, it can sometimes be difficult to dedicate time for self-care. The Buddhify app caters to your wellness needs by categorizing its meditations based on what you are doing. Therefore, you will find guided meditations for walking, work break, going to sleep, waking up, and the likes.
Although it is not a completely free app, the $30 annual membership is more comfortable for students than the other paid apps.
Although Calm is a paid app, its free resource page gives access to meditations, stories, music, talks and more, all hand-picked to support mental and emotional wellness.
York U Student Resources
If you are looking for a session with a counsellor, as a York student, you have access to York’s Student Counselling & Development. Their website offers a wide range of supports to students from individual, virtual one-on-one and group counselling, workshops and other resources to help students manage their mental health and wellness.
The Accessibility, Well-Being and Counselling Centre (AWC) at Glendon offers a variety of services for Glendon students. These services include personal counselling and accessibility services for students with learning disabilities, mental health disability or physical, sensory and medical disability.
Share your mindfulness journey in the comments below and let us know your experience with these apps. We would love to know how you are keeping yourself healthy!
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