There has been a huge explosion in the practice of mindfulness lately. Mindfulness is a practice that allows people to develop equanimity – a state of being that allows us to approach reality as it is, without judgment, fear, or desire.
With the influx of people practicing mindfulness have come technologies that help encourage people to remain mindful. One of the most common technologies that’s used for this purpose is mindfulness apps.
Mindfulness apps can be easily downloaded onto a person’s smartphone and used while they’re on the go. But are they really as helpful as people would like to believe they are? This article will discuss what these apps are, how they function, and let you know if they’re actually worth using.
What Are Mindfulness Apps?
Mindfulness apps are varied in nature, but they generally support the same thing. As E-counseling.com notes, it is “the psychological process of bringing awareness to what is happening in the present moment.” There are a number of ways in which these apps can encourage people to be more mindful.
- Providing reminders to practice mindfulness. Of course, you could simply set alarms to remind yourself to practice mindfulness meditation throughout the day. But for some reason, it seems easier to actually acknowledge these reminders if they’re coming through a mindfulness based app – and that’s what many of these apps provide. You can set various reminders throughout the day to remind yourself to be mindful, and your phone will play a tone and sends you a notification to remind you to do so.
- Providing meditations. Mindfulness can be a highly meditative practice, but unfortunately many people lead busy lifestyles and forget to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation is unique, however, in the sense that it can be relatively easily performed anywhere.
This is because mindfulness doesn’t rely as heavily on silence and stillness as certain types of meditation. Because of this, you can practice mindfulness anywhere – like when you’re sitting in traffic on the way to work. However, the stress and distraction of being in traffic can often be enough for someone to forget to practice their mindfulness.
Do Mindfulness Apps Really Work?
A lot of the research that’s been done on mindfulness apps surrounds Headspace, one of the most popular apps which has garnered more than 20 million users throughout 190 different countries – a colossal number.
The app was headed by a Buddhist monk named Andy Puddicomb, and it encourages breathing and body scan exercises. A study was done on the app which followed 70 people over the course of a month. Half the group followed the practices in the app, whereas others listened to Puddicomb’s audio books.
According to the research, the meditation group reported much better scores in positive feelings, stress levels, and irritability. They were less dominated by their desires and adversely influenced by their responsibilities.
Mindfulness apps do seem to work. However, it’s important to note that you actually need to follow the practices to receive any benefit.
Many people consider mindfulness to be ‘simple and easy,’ however, this is rarely the case – at least for beginners. Being mindful takes dedication, discipline, and a lot of practice. Newcomers often get discouraged, and if you think mindfulness is ‘easy,’ then you’re probably doing it wrong.
Fortunately, some mindfulness apps do seem to be backed by research. If you think that you have the determination and dedication to begin a mindfulness practice, then apps could be the first step for you – remember, though, the app itself won’t lead to a complete transformation. That’s up to you.