Month: August 2018

Great Apps For Practicing Meditation

There is a lot of scientific evidence that backs up the effectiveness of meditation, it helps you relieve stress and get rid of excessive mental and physical tension, which in turn, helps one feel lighter and better about themselves. More and more people have been looking into meditation now thanks to the insane amount of stress that has become common in most of our lives, in the beginning of 2018, “meditation app” was one of the most Googled terms of January 2018, which goes to show just how many people are looking for a way to de-stress themselves without having to drastically change their lifestyle.

Fortunately, app developers saw this opportunity and jumped at it, there are loads of meditation apps on the Google play store and the Apple store that help users meditate in various ways. Today, we are going to take a look at a few of our favourite meditation apps.

Calm

This app has received a lot of positive attention thanks to its neatly organized interface, its plethora of meditation programs, and its ample use of beautiful nature shots that you get to look at whenever you use the app. It offers a program that lets you meditate for a week, this program basically acts as an introductory course to meditation, and there are a number of other, more advanced programs available as well. The app has some great user reviews and can be found on Android and iPhones, you can get the app for free or subscribe on a monthly or yearly basis.

Headspace

Headspace makes approaching meditation incredibly simple by naming its courses according to the emotions that one might be feeling, such as sadness or restlessness. The app also provides guidance on healthier and controlled eating, pain management, and anxiety management. Headspace is great for people who are new to meditation thanks to its guided mode, and it provides more experienced meditators with an unguided mode so they can meditate at their own pace. The app even has exercises that are designed to help people manage and control their temper and panic attacks while they are on the go.

Headspace is available on iPhone and Android devices, it comes with a free option and a monthly subscription as well, you can also find plenty of great reviews about the app that give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from it.

ZenFriend

This meditation app focuses on keeping things simple and giving user’s s chance to connect with one another by sharing their meditative experiences. It’s simple user interface come with a timer that starts when you begin meditating and stops once your session has ended, it also has a meditation log that notes down the duration of your sessions and lets you write down notes about every session if you feel like it. ZenFriend’s paid version is significantly cheaper as compared to other apps, it also unlocks up to 10 guided meditation sessions. ZenFriend also has a free version.

A Peaceful State of Mind Results in Peaceful Dreams

There has been a surprisingly small amount of research conducted on whether or not pleasant dreams have an effect on our day to day life, however there has been recent study in Scandinavia that has shown a relation between a peaceful mind state and peaceful dreams. The study took a close look at how the emotions that we feel in our dreams are derived from emotions that we feel while we are awake, meaning that people who experience bad emotions in their waking life are more prone to bad dreams and vice versa.

This study gave extra attention to a particular aspect of happiness; a peace of mind, a state of mental and spiritual peace and harmony that is considered to be an important component of happiness in many Eastern cultures. Peace of mind has received very little scientific scrutiny as many people tend to associate it with philosophical and spiritual schools of thought, however, this study about well-being listed peace of mind as an important variable.

The study had its participants fill in a questionnaire to measure their waking well-being and ill-being, after filling out their questionnaires, they were instructed to maintain a dream diary for three weeks in which they would write down their dreams the moment they woke up and rate the emotions that they experienced will in a dream state. After analysis, it became clear that people who had achieved higher well-being scores in the questionnaire had reported generally happy emotions as compared to those who had higher ill-being scores.

The study also revealed that the opposite of peace of mind, anxiety, was one of the leading factors that resulted in people having bad dreams. Another interesting thing that was noted was that many aspects that are usually factored in well-being studies did not show any relation with the content that one experiences in their dreams. This goes to show that peace of mind and anxiety both have some special characteristics that effect one’s dream state.

It was proposed that people who have a better peace of mind tend to have a better grasp on their emotions, not only while they are awake, but also while they are asleep. This allows them to regulate their emotions better while asleep, and the opposite holds true for people who have higher levels of anxiety, they are unable to regulate their emotions while awake and also while asleep.

This study shed light on a number of questions that so far had vague answers, and the researchers are hoping that they would be able to take what they learned and apply it to future studies to find out even more about our ability to control our emotions. Further studies could help us get a better understanding of how self-control works and what factors affect each person’s ability to control themselves. With enough research, we might eventually be able to figure out what practices can lead to an improvement in one’s self-control.

Why Silence Can Be Great For You

Everyone knows that stress is bad for you, but not only because of the fact that it gets you cranky and makes you feel tired, stress can also be incredibly bad for your mental well-being, and unfortunately, there has been an upward trend in our stress levels for many years now. There are a lot of things that cause stress, one of the most common being noise, noise is everywhere nowadays and feels almost inescapable if you live in a well-populated area. In fact, we humans have become so noisy that experts have dubbed it as a new form of pollution, a modern plague that can damage our overall well-being and our mental health in the long run.

Many people who live in noisy areas fall victim to chronic stress that affects them over a long period of time and causes all kinds of problems, including problems in the immune system, diabetes, a higher chance of afflicting heart disease and more. A prolonged state of stress can also cause damage to your brain cells, and eventually lead to the formation of several kinds of mental illnesses.

Fortunately, silence provides us with a cure, sort of. Studies show that being in a tranquil environment significantly reduces one’s stress levels, allowing their body to take a much needed break from all the tension and discomforts being caused by chronic stress. Simply driving out to the middle of nowhere or jamming ear plugs into your ears will not do the trick, research also shows that when one goes somewhere quite while in a state of stress, they begin to get assaulted by thoughts that only further increase their stress levels.

If you really want to subject yourself to a silent treatment that produces positive results then you need to go somewhere that is not just silent, but also tranquil. One can simply go for a camping trip somewhere off the beaten path, somewhere that is off the beaten path but also safe. Or you could go on a weekend trip to a spa or resort that lets you escape from the daily hustle bustle of your lifestyle. If you do not feel like you are up to planning a camping trip or going to a resort then you can even do something as simple as getting away from your smartphone for a couple of hours, go off the grid by switching off your Wi-Fi and relaxing in your home.

The Japanese practice Shinrin-Yoku to alleviate stress, shinrin-yoku translates to “forest bathing” and is a deceptively simple way of treating your stress, it involves going on a relaxing walk through a forest that eases the mind and also boosts one’s immune system. If you live somewhere where there is an abundance of trees that simply going on a walk through the forests can significantly lower your stress levels.

We often become so engrossed in our day to day routine that we end up forgetting to slow down and give our body and mind some breathing space.