Mindfulness rocks. Plain and simple. If you’re new here, get caught up for a second. If you’re a regular reader, and you’re practicing mindfulness, fist bump for you. If you’re a regular reader and you’re not practicing mindfulness, whaaaat? What’s stopping you?!
Now, I can’t read your mind through the computer to know your answer as to why you’re not regularly practicing mindfulness, but I can guess a few of your answers based on what I hear my clients say. It’s hard. It’s unfamiliar. It’s easy to forget. You don’t have time. You’re not sure how to start. It feels awkward. And to those, I say, “YEP.” It is hard, it is unfamiliar, it’s easy to forget to practice, it takes time, and it can feel awkward when you’re first starting out. Yes to all of those. Nonetheless, mindfulness is critical to mental and emotional health, so I want you to give it a try. Thankfully though, you’re not alone, technology has got your mindfulness back.
Enter my favorite (as of now) mindfulness and meditation app and site, Stop, Breathe & Think.
Stop, Breathe & Think is a simple tool to guide people of all ages through meditations for mindfulness and compassion, and if I’m being honest, it’s AWESOME! Here are the top five reasons I love the app (and want you to start using it!)
1. It starts with a check-in, prompting you to take a quick inventory of what you’re experiencing at the very moment. This helps you develop and strengthen the “muscle” of slowing down and tuning into your experience, which is essential in mindfulness.
2. The app explains the how-to, the why, and the science behind mindfulness and meditation, as well as the impact it can have on your mental and physical health. I’m a big believer that knowing how and why something works, increases our likelihood to actually practice it. (Case in point, when doing physical therapy several months ago, I couldn’t figure why they had me doing leg and arm exercises when I had a back injury. Several sessions in, my physical therapist noted my lack of at-home practice and dragged a life-sized skeleton on wheels over to show me how all the parts of my body are connected, how the leg muscles impact my back, and why they gave me the assigned exercises. I responded with an impressed “Ohhhhh” and a sheepish grin, and I got intentional about my at-home exercises.)
3. It prompts you to tune in to both your physical and emotional experience, both of which are important are when aiming to increase your awareness of the present moment. Even more exciting to my emotional vocabulary loving heart, it prompts you to be specific about what emotions you’re feeling, clicking and checking emotions that capture your present experience in a more nuanced way. (You can read more about my love for growing your emotional vocabulary here.)
4. The app tailors the meditations to YOUR experience. That’s right, the emotions that you just clicked? The physical check in you just did? That is factored into what meditations are presented to you! I think this helps us come to better understand what we need in given moments, which is always a positive. The meditations are also relatively short and simple in duration, ranging from a few minutes to longer time periods of 15 to 20 minutes, if desired. And these meditations are kid friendly, meaning they are awesome to do around bed time or as a family after a stressful day.
5. It tracks your progress. There are countless studies out there that document the power of tracking progress when trying to make change. (Just take a look at all the fitness and nutrition apps out there!) This tracking helps keep you accountable and engaged, which increases the likelihood that you’ll practice mindfulness on a more regular basis. Mindfulness isn’t a skill you learn about, practice a few times, and then have ready in your back pocket. It requires consistent and intentional practice, as you aim strengthen the “muscle” of being aware of the present moment.
6. I know I said I was listing my five favorite reasons I love this app, but I had to add one more. It’s free! Free, free, free. You can’t beat that price.
So here is my challenge to you. When you are finished reading this post, head to your app store and download the app. (And don’t say, “I’ll do it later, because you’ll likely forget.) You can access the app on an Apple or Android mobile device or through your desktop. Then make a commitment to use the app at least once a day for three weeks. If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up; try to regroup and refocus for the next day. Remember, it might feel silly or strange at first, but stick with it! After three weeks of intentional practice, mindfulness is more likely to be a habit, and you’re well on your way to establishing a mindfulness practice.
We use technology for all sorts of things, so why not use it in regard to our mental health? (Now go, right now, and download the app!)
PS: I am in no way affiliated with Stop, Breathe & Think, and I am not receiving any compensation for this post. I flat out love the app and want to share it’s goodness with y’all!
Hi, I read your post about the think, stop and meditate app and I agree that it’s a great app, I have been using it for more than ainth now, I’d like your suggestion on one thing, now that I’ve learnt and practicing mindfulness, the excitement and the motivation of meditation is not the same today as when I had started, it feels like I have to force myself to do it today, is there anything I can do about it, or maybe take a break from meditation for some time and come back to it again when I feel like, does it work that way?
This is a GREAT question! I would encourage you to add some variety to how you practice mindfulness. Try some new exercises, try a new approach, try some DIFFERENT! Mindfulness is a “muscle,” meaning there are lots of different ways to work it out and strengthen your ability to focus on the present moment. Try a mindful eating exercise, a mindful walk, a new meditation, a body scan, emotional check-ins…there are lots of options. Mindfulness doesn’t have the same effect if it becomes a chore, so change it up! I think so many people can relate to your question that I am going to work on some video content to address this issue! Thanks for reading, commenting, and supporting Dr. Allison!
Hi, I read your post about the stop, breathe and think app and I agree that it’s a great app, I have been using it for more than ainth now, I’d like your suggestion on one thing, now that I’ve learnt and practicing mindfulness, the excitement and the motivation of meditation is not the same today as when I had started, it feels like I have to force myself to do it today, is there anything I can do about it, or maybe take a break from meditation for some time and come back to it again when I feel like, does it work that way?
Just got app and used for the first time. Excellent mindfulness! Thanks!
Awesome, Jill. Enjoy!