Living in the moment with mindfulness
With or without us noticing – time will march on. It is the most precious resource we have yet so often we don’t truly realize it because we are not mindful of it.
It isn’t that we don’t know how precious time is, but that knowledge easily gets pushed to the back burner of our lives as so many things demand pieces of us.
Whether it’s raising children, running a household, meeting milestones at work, or discovering how deceptively hard it can be to actually relax on vacation, it is a challenge to live in the moment. To live in this section of time we have been given, on this day, at this minute, wherever that may find you.
It’s a powerful idea known as mindfulness.
But what exactly is mindfulness? Psychology Today offers this explanation: “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
Left to my own devices, I will make to-do lists that could keep me busy until the apocalypse. With today’s fast-paced world, I think there’s a tendency for our brains to be in perpetual spin-mode, always asking – maybe even screaming: What needs to be done next?
Although challenging, it’s not impossible to slow down that feeling of constant motion and bring a sense of mindfulness to the forefront of our lives. Technology, while often a driving source of our distraction, can also be harnessed to help bring us back into the present.
There are several apps on mindfulness and meditation. Some inspire you to set an intention for your day, while others offer options to calm your mind – and bring you back into this moment. These four apps are some of the world’s favorites.
1. Insight Timer
Home to over 2.1 million meditators, Insight Timer is consistently rated as one of the top free meditation apps. Available in the App Store, Android and Google Play – there are several ways to bring a calming presence into your life. Whether you want to connect with other users, find inspiration for your day, or just simply slow down and connect with yourself, Insight offers a wealth of resources. You can search by app category, look for specific playlists (like sleep, relaxation, anxiety or even nature sounds), search by teacher – or even learn more about the origins of mindfulness.
As soon as you open Calm’s app, you might just feel … well, calm! Once you sign-up (it’s easy, free and takes less than 30 seconds), you’re greeted with a scene of alpine perfection that would rival Switzerland. Snowcapped mountains reach toward a crystalline sky, bordering a rippling lake, while the sound of rushing water and birdsong plays calmly. There’s even the sploosh of an occasional fish! This app is especially great to play at your desk with a pair of headphones.
Aura’s premise is simple; meditation for people who can’t sit still long enough to meditate. Guided meditation sessions last anywhere from 10-30 minutes, making it a perfect entry point for newcomers, or those truly crunched on time. Available on both iOS and Android.
4. Stop, Breathe, and Think
Could there be a more aptly named mindfulness and meditation app? SBT gets straight to the point, with ‘five minutes to peace’ as their mantra. You can even download it to Alexa on your Amazon Echo or Dot.
Perhaps today, maybe even right now, carve out a quiet minute for yourself and begin a nurturing practice of comfort and self-care. Facedown your wandering mind … and just … be.
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