As I’ve gotten older and wiser (supposedly), I’ve come to realize that I am not exactly great at regulating my stress levels. In fact, I’m pretty damn awful at it. Luckily, I’ve recently introduced meditation into my daily routine. Now, I was like many of you, likely considering this to be for hippy dippies and yogis, but I have to say, it’s made a world of difference. There are so many benefits of meditation. These include, but are not limited to, better management of stress, the ability to be more present and mindful, a lower resting heart rate, and just a general feeling of gratitude to yourself for doing something positive for your body (in sharp contrast to the stuff I normally share on this site).
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to meditate for very long each day. Five minutes a day is a great place to start. One thing I have to recommend for anybody who travels a lot is a set of wireless headphones. That way, you can meditate anywhere, anytime, no matter who is around.
I’m not nearly zen enough to figure this out on my own, so I’ve downloaded and tried a number of Apps and Websites. Here are the ones that I’ve found to be most helpful.
Simple Habit - This is my go-to for daily meditation. They have a lot of 5 and 10 minute options, which is kind of what I set as my daily minimum. They also have a wonderful feature called “On-The-Go,” where you can enter what you are doing at the moment and they will suggest a specific meditation. The free version is very good, and sufficient for many people, but the paid version is worth the money if you are serious about making meditation a priority.
An app with some cool features, some of which I haven’t taken full advantage of, is Calm. They have a pretty great set of Sleep Meditations and Sleep stories which I have tried and like a lot. I haven’t used many of their traditional meditations, but they have a good reputation..
Meditation Studio is similar to Simple Habit in a lot of ways. One thing that sets them apart is that you can get a full series of guided meditations in their free version, while Simple Habit will usually only give you the first two. Their guided meditations are topical and very useful.
Once you have gotten used to meditation, you might want to download Relax Melodies. This app is a little more self-driven. You can essentially weave together various sounds and listen to them on a loop. One key benefit of this app is that you can also download them to your phone, which is excellent for air travel.
The four apps above are a great place to start. Of course, there is always Youtube, which has seemingly unlimited, but poorly curated options available. If any of you have come across any apps or techniques that you’d like to share, please comment, tweet, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.