February challenge: summary

I don't believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.So it’s the last day of February, this (normally) dark month of the year. I had two goals this month, to meditate daily and to finish the first book in my conscious readings for the year. Did I succeed? Ehrm… no.

So what happened? Life, I guess. I had to do some really intense reading of 19th century French literature for school and it completely threw me off. The book was not bad, but the stress of making finishing it on time really took a toll on my energy levels and my overall quality of life. Except for that, I just plainly forgot some days. When visiting family and friends, meditating might not be at the top of the list and you might be, you know, enjoying your time with loved ones so much that the last thing on your mind is meditation.

Still, I do not see this as a failure, because I really enjoyed myself and the meditation I did do. If you put it in perspective, I had not meditated more than a few short sessions in the past months, but now I got over 20 sessions in just during February! The perk of setting quite high goals is that even if you do not reach them, there is a fair chance that you improved and learned during the process.

So all in all, I am happy with the daily meditation challenge. It has made me realize how much I enjoy this type of guided meditation since it slows my mind down and brings me back to me and what’s important. If you too would like to try meditating more, I shared some interesting post on meditation and mindfulness this past month, such as mindful eating, mindful mornings, how to sleep better with meditation and some good meditation apps.

Regarding the conscious book club, I’m just going to continue reading into March. So far I like the book, but I’m only about 70 pages into it, so we’ll see how it turns out!

Apps for a mindful life

duo-chen-751601-unsplashDo you want to live a more mindful life and to introduce meditation and other mindfulness techniques in your life?

My intention for February is to meditate daily, to build some sort of practise that will stick or at least teach me enough techniques so that when times get rough and I need coping techniques I’ll have them. My experience meditation is very sporadic and not very deep. Most of the meditation I have tried, has been in the form of yoga (or chanting in yoga class), so a type active or moving meditation. I also had a period in time where I would do guided meditations with my gymnastics team, most often leading up to competitions. These were mostly some type of body scan and about setting intentions and I never really got the hang of it.

Later years, my meditation practice has turned into guided mediation apps. I tried the first one about 3 years ago when I was going through a really hard time mentally and even though it didn’t “heal” me, it did help me get through the worst panic attacks that would arise. Since then I have tried a few different options and now I wanted to share some of them!

Which apps do I use?

Like I mentioned above I have tried a few different ones and these are the ones I like.

Buddhify

This is the one I have used the most out of all the apps. When I got it, it was offered at a fixed price (around 5€), but now it seems to be offered with a subscription. Buddhify is all about meditation on the go and they offer guided meditations for “work break“, “being online” and “eating“, as well as some more classic ones like “going to sleep“. This is also what I like most about it! Whenever I open the app, suggestions show up based on time of day, so if I open it at night it might show the “going to sleep” (or if it’s really late rather “can’t sleep”) and within that topic you can then chose between 4-5 different guided meditations of different lengths.

Smiling mind

This app is FREE! It is a non-profit and they believe that everyone should have access to mindfulness!! And it’s actually pretty good! It has different programs you can go through, like introductions to meditation and mindfulness, programs for mindful eating and what not. It also gives stats on your progress so you can track you yourself. This one also offers different programs and modules for all different ages, so great for those who want to introduce their children to the practice.

Headspace

This one is probably the most known one of the ones I have tried. Headspace is offered with a subscription, however, the first “module” of 10 meditations is free, which allows you to try it before signing up. The interface is simple and understandable and they offer themed sessions for example sleep, anxiety and focus. I have only tried some of the free sessions, but I really did enjoy them.

An extra one worth to mention:

Calm

This one I did not try, but it is the #1 app for Meditation and Sleep, so I figured it was worth including. They offer guided meditations for all levels and even has “sleep stories”, a kind of bed time story but for adults. The biggest con is that it is pretty expensive and you have to sign up for the trial, so if you do not cancel the service before the seven days end, you are bound for a yearly subscription…