How to get the most out of your meditation app

Diana winston, director of mindfulness education at UCLA Center for Conscious Consciousness Research (MARC), notes that there is a lot of research on mindfulness, which is why many applications are based on mindfulness. This includes Free space and Calm– which are among the best known – and even UCLA Aware, guided by Winston and the MARC team.

How to choose and use your meditation app

Whether your goal is to reduce anxiety, become more mindful in your daily life, or develop a daily meditation practice, research found that online meditation can work; you just need to know what to work with.

Focus on one meditation technique at a time

If there isn’t one meditation technique to rule them all, how do you know which one will work for you? This is where apps can be extremely useful, as they provide the ability to try out many different techniques, all in one easily accessible place. According to Zeidan, however, you don’t want an app that forces you to do too much, too fast. (For example, you shouldn’t do three different types of meditation in 15 minutes.)

“One way to judge the effectiveness of an application is the number of techniques it presents to you at a given time – little time -” says Zeidan. “You don’t want that; you really want to master one thing and then move on. We tend to want to try a lot of things, but I think focusing on the breath and the body are really the most critical ways to start.

Again, mindfulness meditation is growing in popularity and can be achieved through multiple practices, such as breathing, body scan meditation, walking meditation, etc., but finding the one that is right for you can be done. require some trial and error. “Which application you choose depends in a way on your goals,” adds Winston. “Is it mindfulness that you are looking for or some other kind of practice?” If you want to learn mindfulness there are many applications and it can be overwhelming; what people tend to do is go to the more popular ones, like Headspace, which are good apps. The problem is finding something that you resonate with.

Find an app that resonates with you

If you don’t have a connection to your meditation app, it will be almost impossible to have a connection with yourself at the time. Winston says something as simple as finding the instructor’s voice boring is reason enough to try a new instructor on the app or, if that’s not an available option, get a brand new app.

“Trust your own intuition, listen and really observe the way you instinctively react to the person [or instructor], adds Valdès. “If you don’t feel connected, it can be difficult to concentrate. Ultimately, they say, if you don’t feel comfortable with the atmosphere of a specific app, course, or instructor, don’t hesitate to move on. You are not stuck with any app or method. If you don’t feel drawn to the vibration that the person or the technique is giving you, there is so much out there.

It is important to keep in mind that some meditation techniques, such as Vipsanna – a self-centered Buddhist practice – are rooted in ancient practices, which is often lost in the colonization of the well-space. to be. For this reason, Valdes suggests that those interested in starting a meditation practice seek out instructors who make it a form of their Aboriginal or cultural practice. In app form, options include Plum Village, created by the monastic community led by the visionary Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, and To free, a meditation app designed for the black community, with BIPOC instructors.

Find apps with an educational component

If you are looking to become an experienced meditator then you will want to look for an app that has an educational component of guided meditations and exercises, for example, a popular app To wake up includes lessons and conversations in meditation theory, until you find what helps you achieve the goal of training your mind to be present.

Winston notes that many apps will offer classes in week-long increments, for example, as an introduction to the basics of meditation. Most educators suggest studying meditation one-on-one, as many experienced meditators often receive individualized instruction or go so far as to attend in-person retreats. Finding an app with professional access is a feature to look out for if questions arise during your practice. Ten percent happier is one of those apps, offer subscribers have access to a personal meditation coach. “Some of the things that come up [during meditation] can be personal to that person and there is an awareness of other things that can be awakened, such as trauma and side effects, like seeing spots and feeling like floating, ”says Zeidan. “Having clarity can help you not let your mind wander over what it is.”


In other words? Actually use the app. While there isn’t a magic number that experts can provide to tell you how much or how long to meditate, Winston encourages you to do it when you can. Of course, daily practice is best, but it’s less about the time you spend per day and more about overall consistency. In reality, research suggests long-term meditation practices have measurable impacts on the brain.

“To become an experienced meditator, you have to keep practicing,” says Zeidan. “In fact, I asked the Dalai Lama [when showing] him my research, ‘How much training does it take to really be a good meditator?’ And he said, “One life. “

How to get the most out of your meditation app

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