Apps for Relaxation & Meditation
I have recently been trying to focus on relaxation and meditation to alleviate stress in my life. It turns out there are many apps out there that can help with guided meditations or sounds to play while relaxing. Here's a snapshot from my phone of all the apps I've downloaded:
I'll give you a quick description of each app and how I've come to use each of them:
This app is free and very easy to use. You're given pre-set scenes with relaxing sounds that can be used with a timer. Sometimes I'll just open this up while I'm reading or doing stuff around the house to have some background noise. There is also a series of meditations and a program of guided meditations to follow. I haven't used these yet, but plan on trying them out soon.
As the name implies, this app can be used to alleviate anxiety. There is a pre-recorded meditation session that lasts for almost half an hour. I found it to be very effective to help me relax and clear my mind. The free version has limited options for the settings, but they can be configured if you pay $2.99 for the upgraded version.
In the free version of this app you are given 10 days of meditations. They are each 10 minutes long and are guided by the same person each time. The app also has some handy animations to explain some of the principles of meditation. This program would be great for a beginner who doesn't have much time. There is an option to subscribe to the service for more programs. I have gotten through 7 out of the 10 days, but I don't think I'd subscribe for other programs only because there are other free options available elsewhere.
This app is similar to the Calm app in that it has pre-set recordings you can easily choose. It also has a timer function so you can set the sounds to stop after a certain amount of time. There are locked sounds that you have to pay for and I find it frustrating that it gives you the option to unlock the sound but doesn't tell you how much it costs. When I click the unlock option it prompts me for my iTunes password without giving me any indication of how much I'm about to spend. I'll just use the free sounds if I'm tired of the sounds offered by Calm.
I think this is my favorite app for sounds. It has a lot of options that you can layer together into your own personal mix. My favorite right now is a combination of Thunder, Rain on Roof, and Wind in Trees. I like it so much that I haven't tried any of the other sounds. There are other sounds that are locked. It says you can get a lifetime access of all 108 sounds for $9.99. Your other option is to choose either the 3 month subscription for $6.99 or the 1 month subscription for $4.99.
This is the only app that I paid money for out of all the ones I've listed. It was recommended by one of my favorite YouTube channels, so I went ahead and bought it for either $1.99 or $2.99, I can't remember which. As soon as I heard the voice for the meditation I realized it was from Meditation Oasis, which is a podcast I've been using for meditation for the last couple of years. So if you want to save some money and not buy the app, just go to the Podcast app and subscribe to Meditation Oasis. They have plenty of meditations for different purposes, so I can't imagine that the app is much better.
I have had Sleep Pillow for a long time and had kind of forgotten about it until I got back into listening to relaxing sounds on my phone. It is easy to use and gives you the option to either use pre-mixed sounds or the option to create your own.
At first I really liked this app because it has set meditation programs for you to follow and gives you badges as you complete the series. I also like that it tells you how many minutes you've spent meditating with the app and how many meditations you've completed. I started with Mindfulness 101 in the Adult section of the Programs menu and really liked it. Then I went to Mindfulness 102 and things started to get weird. One of their meditations is called "Where Did My Food Come From" and another is called "Mindful Eating". Maybe these are common meditations to some people, but it seemed weird that they were in the generic Adult section. I stopped following the program at that point and have yet to get back into it. I just looked ahead to Mindfulness 103 and it looks a little better. Maybe I'll keep trying it.
This is another sound app that I've had for a long time. I find it a bit clunky and not as user friendly as some of the other ones, but it is possible to create your own scenes and sound mixes. I've got mine set to Waves after playing around with the other options. I turn it on when I miss being on a cruise and want to remember how relaxing it is to listen to the waves outside my balcony.
So those are all the apps I've found that I would recommend to anyone who is hoping to relax or meditate. I also just found Happify but have not had time to play with it very much, so I don't know if I would recommend it or not. If you have any apps you think I would like, please let me know in the comments below!
Snack Ideas: Bento Boxes
I've seen a few different posts on Pinterest for using Bento boxes for packing snacks or lunches, so I decided to get some containers and make my own version. I also put together a list of some different types of food you can combine together to make a well-rounded snack. My plan is to pick one item from each category to make sure you get a healthy combination:
Celery sticks with peanut butter
Sugar snap peas
Sliced bell peppers
Hard boiled egg
Jif peanut butter cup
Rolled lunch meat
Laughing Cow cheese wedges
Roasted garbanzo beans
And here are some of the ones I put together for myself:
I have pre-packed enough snacks to last me the week, so now I can just grab and go without preparing anything. Let me know in the comments if you have any other healthy snack ideas!
Book Review: The Slight Edge
I have recently decided to spend some of my extra time on personal development. Reading "self help" books has always been something that I've enjoyed, so I decided to ask for a recommendation from someone else who has read a lot of them. The first book they suggested was The Slight Edge. I looked it up online and liked the description, so I bought the e-book and just finished reading it today.
Honestly, I think this book might change my life. That may seem like a bold statement, but The Slight Edge has completely shifted the way my brain works and I don't think I'll ever think the same way again. Here is the description from Amazon so you can read for yourself what the book is about:
"The Slight Edge" by Jeff Olson in 8th edition of his popular book again helps readers learning how to realize the dreams and not be someone who just dreams while life passes by.
He sees the solution in the introduction of his Slight Edge principle that can be applicable not only to our profession, but also marriage, relationships, friendship, love, almost anything in our lives.
What is most interesting about this book is that most things found inside are common sense, although it's often forgotten.
For example when he says "...The average person spends between 250 and 350 hours every year driving to and from this place and that. That's about forty minutes to an hour each and every day. If you spend that time listening to educational and self-improvement material, you'll have the equivalent of a Ph.D. on any subject you choose in just a few years. That's the Slight Edge...." or "...being productive and being busy and not necessarily the same thing. Doing things won't create your success; doing the right thing will..." reader has to agree with him.
Maybe some readers will be disappointed to realize that slight edge is not some complex principle, something difficult or unique of which you have never heard before.
Slight Edge is actually about the driving force in our life that pulls us closer or moves us away from our goals.
The difference between these two diametrically opposite sides is someone ability to accept this philosophy and advances, with small or large steps toward the goal.
Overall, Jeff Olson's work is very inspiring and motivating piece, well-written and easy to read, and due to all those reasons, a book that can be recommended.
I hope this post has inspired you to take the time to read The Slight Edge, I truly believe it will change your life just as it has mine!
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.