In the midst of a difficult time, I downloaded a mindfulness app called “Stop, Breathe & Think“. If I start to feel myself spiraling, or like I can’t possibly sleep and never will, I simply open up the app.
You take 10 seconds to scan your body and how you’re feeling, then pick your level of physical and mental/emotional wellness, and then pick up to five emotions from a fairly comprehensive, but organized, list. The app then generates a short list (usually 2-3) of guided meditations for you to try. Most of the meditations are 5-8 minutes long, which is great for a beginning meditator like me. (With such a busy mind, meditation has always seemed a bit daunting to me, so in the past I’ve gone for moving meditation, such as flow yoga. I’m sure many others can relate.)
Each meditation talks you through the whole process, using imagery, asking you to feel for different areas of your body, and bringing your awareness to different perspectives. So far each time I have completed a meditation, my emotions at the beginning were quite desperate sounding, and at the end they are at least neutral, with a bit of “hopefulness” or “love” or “gratitude” mixed in there.
My favorite guided meditations so far have been…
- Falling Asleep: Before I downloaded the app I was unable to fall asleep, and then upon falling asleep would promptly wake and be unable to get back to sleep. Needless to say, I lost a lot of sleep. Now, before bed, I do an emotion-specific meditation and then “Falling Asleep”. I’m usually out before the meditation is finished. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can just turn this on and be drifting off in no time.
- Great Compassion: In a time where it would be easy for me to be angry or upset at someone, I have instead been able to have love, empathy, and compassion for the other person.
Sleeping instead of not sleeping, and loving instead of being angry? I would say that’s a pretty big deal. So, go download the app. It’s free. What do you have to lose?