Struggle To Meditate? You Need This App

Struggle To Meditate? You Need This App

Tech may seem the antithesis of mindfulness, yet your phone could offer the solution to unwinding after a hectic day. Meet Calm – the app recommended by top psychologists and mental health experts – which promises to boost your mindfulness and help you rise above digital distractions. We tried it for a week to see what all the hype was about...

What is it?

The benefits of regular meditation are well documented – from helping people de-stress, sleep better and improve their memory, to cultivating greater patience, kindness, tolerance and creativity – and Calm is a popular app for those looking to get started.

How does it work?

The app recommends you begin with a week-long programme, so we opted for the aptly named Seven Days of Calm, which teaches the basics of mindfulness meditation in seven ten-minute sessions.

There’s no need to follow the seven days consecutively (we struggled on the weekends) but you should aim to keep sessions relatively close for optimum results. If you’ve blamed being time-poor for your lack of meditation efforts, there really is no excuse with Calm, as the sessions can be done as and when it suits you.

What makes it different to other apps?

If you’ve previously struggled with meditation, Calm couldn’t make it simpler to use. It has an appealing Insta-worthy design, and users can customise their chosen meditation with nature sounds, music and animated backgrounds – if you find the sea soothing, you can choose to gaze at rolling waves whilst concentrating on your breathing.

The app’s built-in calendar shows when you’re on a meditation roll (we’re currently at 1-hour, 29 minutes) and will appeal to those who like easy-to-read visuals of their progress. Plus, the app’s soundtrack comes courtesy of Kip Mazuy – a big name in the music meditation world.

Is it free?

Yes and no. The initial seven-day introduction is free. After that, you’ll need to sign up to the subscription at £7.99 per month, or £29.99 for the entire year. Once signed up, you’ll have access to a series of sessions, including a 21-day programme for general wellbeing and a week-long series that focuses on helping you get a better night’s sleep.

However, there’s plenty of free content on the app – think sleep stories (we’re yet to get to the end of one – they are seriously effective); a game-changing breathing bubble; unguided timed meditation and more than 30 soothing nature sounds and scenes to use during meditation and yoga, or to help you sleep.

Does it really work?

Don’t expect miracles – like learning a new language, meditation takes practice, but stick with it and you’ll soon reap the benefits. After doing just seven days’ worth of sessions, we feel more in control of our breath – the innovative breath bubble has become our go-to for calming frayed nerves – and, dare we say it, calmer in stressful situations.

What are people saying?

Named Apple’s App of the Year 2017, Calm continues to garner impressive reviews. The New York Times reports the app will “take you from a first-time meditator to mindfulness guru” whilst Marie Claire claims it will “transport you to a happier, calmer place while you meditate”. And that’s even before we mention the thousands of five-star reviews from users, health bloggers and industry names.

Want in? Calm is available to download from the App Store now.

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