Generally, it’s an oxymoron to think of your smartphone as an instrument of mindfulness. Constant checking and re-checking, texting, Apps, social media, all attention grabbers and potential distractions to being present in the moment. Fortunately, a few new apps are attempting to change how we use our phones to actually promote mindfulness.
Space is an App for your smartphone, that gives you a few moments to think before launching directly into a social media App. Ironically, you will not be able to find the App in the iTunes App store, but you can download it in Safari from your iPhone. It is available in the Google Play Store.
Space is designed to open when you click on an App, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or any other App that tends to use a lot of your time. Space gives you a temporary screen with prompts you to breathe with the App before opening the intended App. It’s like a time out to actually catch your breath and consciously consider if you actually want to spend time on social media, or if you are simply perpetuating an addictive smartphone behavior.
Insight Timer is a meditation App that has different options to help you customize your experience. You have a choice of several thousand guided meditations to listen to on your smartphone or tablet. Categories include topics like relax, chakras, gratitude, emotional balance, stress, nature, movement, sleep, inner peace, etc. You can also do a timed meditation by selecting the interval bells and ambient sound of choice, as well as the length you wish to meditate.
The App also provides a social media component – which you can opt out of – allowing you to join Insight Groups with discussions focused on thought leaders like Pema Chödrön and Thich Nhat Hanh, or types of meditation like Transcendental and Vipassana. There are also discussions relating to health concerns like weight loss, chronic pain, mental health and cancer. And, even groups for discussions on self-care, humor, relationships and mindfulness.
Relax Melodies is an App that allows you to create your own meditation or sleep background sounds. It features over 100 sounds that can be customized to sound alone or layered with one another for your own unique experience. Natural sounds like river, rain, wind and waterfall can be combined with instruments like flute, piano or drums. Animal sounds like birds and frogs can be added, along with sounds like singing bowls or a heartbeat.
There are also features like isochronic tones – regular beats of a single tone – and binaural beats – two tones listened to through headphones that produce a third tone. Several guided meditations are included, as well as a clock that allows you to set the duration of your meditation or background sound.
The next time you grab your smartphone, consider downloading one of these Apps to help you become more mindful of how you are using your device and spending your time.