As women, we wear "busy" like a badge of honor. We are overstressed, overworked, and distracted. We talk about being busy, we complain about being busy and we don’t really know how to do anything but…be busy. We aren't able to sleep; our anxiety is increasing and we don't know how to be in the moment. We keep hearing that mindfulness and meditation are good for us. They might be the key to serenity, happiness, increased focus and productivity. However, we don't even know where to start when looking for time to sit down and chant. Quite frankly, we feel it just won’t work for us.
In our daily lives, we feel depleted, emotionally reactive and stuck. We are so busy running in circles and doing, that we really aren't going anywhere...life feels like a hamster wheel. This perpetual state of stagnant motion is keeping us from being present.
The downsides to living this way include an increase in anxiety, depression and frustration. We feel lonely and isolated and our connections with our friends and family are strained. It might be impacting our work, causing us to feel stressed out, scattered and unproductive. We have trouble focusing and maintaining our attention. Recent research studies show that women are twice as likely to experience major depression than men and are up to three times more apt to suffer from anxiety disorders. While the reasons are complex one thing we know for sure…. stress has a big impact and does not help!
Perhaps for you it plays out in your life like this
You are running around, just got off of work, checking things off your to do list a mile long, while trying to get your steps in, respond to social media and get a little work done. You had planned to check out a meditation class at tonight, but you lost track of time and quite frankly....you just feel too busy. You tell yourself you will hit the next class, which again you miss. You eventually write if off by telling yourself it’s not for you. You just don't have time or the personality to commit to it. You leave the goal behind and just keep pushing. 6 months later, you are feeling the same way and nothing has changed. If anything, maybe you feel even worse.
Research says mindfulness and meditation are keys to finding inner peace, decreasing anxiety, increasing focus and even helping us move forward. BUT, you hate it, you tried it once and it's not for you. You don’t have a lot of time and don’t like to sit still. You tell yourself this is on your to do list, a lofty goal, a new wellness practice. You read about it and hear about it, but you don’t know where to start. It's not for you, Zen and incense aren’t your thing.
Eventually, habitually living with busyness and stress as a badge of honor in your life will keep you from being present. Present with your friends and loved ones, present at your job and present for yourself, leading to a lack of self-care, a lack of compassion and a state of toxic stress. But the truth is, spending a small amount of time focusing on quieting the mind and being present is a sure way to find calm and peace. It’s OK to use busyness as a shot of adrenaline to get cross things off your list and be extra productive in times of intensive need. This can be a great way to achieve your goals and get things done. However, the key, is to not let it be a constant way of life and take you down in the process.
It’s true there will always be intense busy times and there will always be days where three-minute meditations feel difficult, but if you can learn to make it a brief, daily habit, life may feel immensely more manageable. Cultivating a daily meditation practice makes it possible to slow down and focus on becoming more present to go after your goals and create sustaining relationships.
Keep reading to see just the support of an app designed for skeptics like you, can help you move toward inner calm, focus and happiness.
Life Without Calm
Unfortunately, when we live life according the rule of "being too busy” it affects our lives in numerous ways. You know of things and ways of living that might be good for you, but you just can't fit it in. You don’t know why, but you just stay stuck. You aren't happy and are unable to experience joy or focus on the things that matter. You have big plans and goals but you find yourself feeling stressed out, frustrated and struggling with anxiety.
At the very least you find yourself struggling to get everything done. You struggle with your to-do list because you can never seem to cross everything off, and when you get close, you realize you forgot to write a few things down in the first place. Your mind is absent and there’s no time or space for you to collect your thoughts. When talking to friends, you focus on your stress, how tired you are and how you wish you could just slow down. It’s become a pattern, a way of life. You can’t imagine any other way.
Living like this is keeping you from being present with your loved ones and really hearing what they are saying. It’s getting in the way of creating deep relationships. You feel guilty that you don’t have more time, guilty that you aren’t “fun “and are worried you are a “downer” a lot of the time. At work, you feel so stressed and busy, you don’t take the time to interact with coworkers, creating strain and distance in your relationships. You are missing out on new and exciting opportunities because you appear unfocused, stressed out and incapable of taking on more.
Life with Focus and Calm
On the flip side, by spending a few minutes a day doing daily meditation, you will likely experience better sleep, less anxiety and more focus. By setting an intention such as increased joy, quiet, focus or emotional control you learn to use quick and targeted meditation to reach these goals.
Imagine taking a few minutes to practice calmly inhaling and exhaling, as you are guided to do on these apps and walking away feeling less stressed and sleeping better. Take that image further and imagine walking away from your computer for 5-10 minutes and recalibrating each day. What would you feel like? How would your day improve? Would you feel more productive?
It’s absolutely possible to begin feeling less frazzled in your life. When you decide to become more intentional about self-care you can actually be more productive, more relaxed and less stressed. You free yourself up to be less scattered and tend to focus on what matters.
My 10 Favorite Apps that Help Frazzled Skeptics Turn into Calm Believers
Enter meditation apps. Research has shown that the daily practice of being present and really experiencing and feeling our thoughts, and emotions without judgment helps us to manage stress, connect more deeply with others, and increase our ability to focus on what is important. A number of meditation and mindfulness apps have recently launched for people who are busy, beginners, or just haven’t decided that meditation is for them. These apps bring some benefits to those of us who struggle with developing a new daily habit. They can provide the structure, the prompting and the flexibility many of us need to pick up a new habit.
Continuing on with the status quo isn't catastrophic. However, you will likely hit a point where your stress has deep impact on your life. You may find that your inability to focus and your high level of stress is causing small problems that are piling up. You are making mistakes at work, have increased tension with your coworkers and even be experiencing a negative impact on your health.
Here are my top 10 apps and podcasts for mediation skeptics
if you are new to this, headspace starts with the basics, through light, animated videos, and a guided, 10-minute session each day. As you progress through the levels, you can pick a series based on a topic of your choice (health, relationships, performance). For really busy folks, you can access really quick sessions that you can do while walking, commuting, going to sleep—or attempting to avoid a meltdown at work. This app is very popular – in fact, this app got me started on my own personal meditation journey. I highly recommend it.
2. Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by 10% Happier
This app is great! If you're skeptical of meditation, this app is designed to win you over. The app offers an extensive introductory course and also features meditations, that focus on specific emotional challenges and mindfulness techniques. Integration with the Apple Health App is also possible. If meditation sounds like something that you couldn’t possibly do, this app might be just the ticket.
3. Stop, Breathe, & Think
There are a ton of meditation exercises loaded on this app. You should never run out of things to try and boredom is unlikely. The app prompts you to take 10 seconds to think about how you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally, and then offers a handful of meditations tailored to your current needs. This structured app allows you to customize the sounds, chimes and alerts and easily track your progress.
This is for the frantic people out there. Too busy to meditate? Buddhify offers quick sessions that fit into things you're already doing, such as walking, cooking or trying to sleep. I also personally use this app. It’s perfect for those moments on the go. I love to customize how I use this app. This is a favorite of many out there, as it allows you to easily track your progress over time.
From the moment you open up Calm, your journey has begun. Both the app and site offer guided programs with intention. You can pull up also one-off sessions for specific situations, such as needing focus, needing an emotional time out, or how to handle sitting in traffic. The relaxation sounds are used by many for sleep – falling asleep to rain sound good anyone? Even the pictures and graphics are beautiful and calming.
Are you someone who is really connected to your phone and loves to play a good game? Are you someone who loves a competitive Fitbit challenge with friends? Sattva uses games to motivate. It allows for trophy’s; banners and you can connect with others. The goal is daily meditation with features like preloaded exercises and heartrate monitoring. For those goal-oriented folks, this app is certainly worth a try.
Move around and fidget much? Pause uses your hands to help you meditate. For those of you who struggle with sitting still and cringe at the thought of closing your eyes and chanting, calm yourself down by following the relaxing audio and slowly and continuously moving your fingertips across the screen. Pause is suited to all levels and was designed by an expert team of meditators, psychologists and cognitive scientists.
8. The Mindfulness App
Started by Yoga and Mindfulness Instructors, this meditation app includes a five-day guided meditation practice, reminders and prompts for when it’s time to chill out, and other activities based on your customized meditation habits. It can also be integrated with other health apps if you are someone that relies on other apps to monitor and improve your wellness. This is a great app for integrating daily mediation into your life.
Breethe offers mindfulness and meditation techniques to get people meditating more regularly. The app brings you content for mornings, sleep, inner peace and other tailored topics. It provides users with supportive tools on how to bring in meditation and mindfulness throughout the day. This is a great App for building your skills. You can fully customize it, meaning you can tailor this app to your specific needs and skill level.
10. Oasis Walking Meditations app
Designed for those that find it difficult to sit still to meditate and enjoy being active. Walking meditation can be profound. This easy and informal app guides and supports you in experiencing your body and your surroundings fully as you walk. Supports you in letting go and being in the moment. The walking app has three different meditations with different intentions.
As you can see, there are many different options for those of us who aren’t super excited about the idea of meditation or just don’t even know where to begin. I would definitely recommend trying a few out, seeing what you do and don’t like and seeing what might best fit you. Don’t like a particular app? Move on to the next one! Most of them are free so there is not risk to shopping around.
Achieving calm and focus can be life changing. You can absolutely feel more relaxed, more present and more connected and Grit and Grace can help.
To start learning how to embrace the calm and decrease the busy mindset, schedule your free consultation to learn more about how we can start working together today.