Best Mindfulness Tools and Apps to Improve Quality of Life
Mindfulness is the ultimate life hack, but there are a few misperceptions around it. For starters, it’s not a quick fix. It also is not just about sitting still and being present (though that’s part of it). Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. It can help you to cope with stress, manage finances, improve your relationships, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve your overall well-being. Best of all, there’s no need to spend hours meditating or attending a yoga class. You can be mindful anywhere, anytime, especially with the help of technology and mindfulness apps and tools.
In this post, I share some of my favorite tools for practicing mindfulness, including apps that make it easy to do on the go.
Where Did Mindfulness Come From?
The word “mindfulness” comes from two Sanskrit words: manas meaning mind or consciousness; and smriti meaning memory or recollection.
The term was coined by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh in the early 1970s as an attempt to describe a new way of looking at ourselves and our world that he called “interbeing.” He believed that we could all benefit from this new perspective on life.
Over the last few decades, there has been a rise in interest in mindfulness practice, as well as a rise in the number of apps and tools to help you practice mindfulness.
How Does Mindfulness Actually Work?
Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the here and now, noting thoughts and feelings as they come up, and then letting them go after being mindful of their presence.
You can accomplish this by concentrating on aspects such as your breath, the sensations in your body, sounds, or visuals.
If you practice mindfulness on a regular basis, it will become easier for you to recognize when you are thinking about something other than the here and now and to redirect your attention.
Why should I try it?
Mindfulness has been shown to improve the quality of life for people with chronic pain or mental illness, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms. But it’s also been shown to have a positive impact for most people.
It helps us manage stress better. When stressed, our body releases cortisol and increases our heart rate, making us feel anxious, angry, or depressed. But if we learn how to stay calm and focused during stressful times, we can avoid these negative psychological symptoms and use them constructively.
It improves sleep quality. Stressful situations keep us awake at night, causing us to toss and turn. If we learn to relax before bedtime, however, we can fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed. (And better sleep improves financial decision-making)
It boosts creativity. Studies show that creative thinkers tend to be less stressed than others. They also tend to experience more life satisfaction overall.
How do I start practicing mindfulness?
There are many different mindfulness exercises you can do, but here is a basic technique to get you started.
Find an object in your surroundings that can help you be more present in the here and now. You might, for instance, decide to concentrate on your breathing, your feet, or music that is very meaningful to you.
Notice how you feel when you pay attention to that thing. Does it make you happy, sad, angry, calm, relaxed, anxious, etc.?
When you notice that you’ve become distracted from your chosen object, gently return your attention to it.
Repeat steps 1-3 until you find a way to stay focused on your chosen object for an extended period.
Top Mindfulness Tools
Of course, these days there are all sorts of tools out there to help us focus beyond simple physical objects. One of my favorites is mindfulness and meditation apps.
Here are some of the best digital resources and the best mindfulness apps and tools to help you reap the benefits of mindfulness in your daily life:
Headspace – This is one of my all-time favorite apps. It offers guided meditations, audio tracks, and daily challenges to keep you motivated.
Calm – Another great option if you prefer guided meditations over audio tracks. This app includes breathing exercises as well.
Insight Timer – This timer is designed to help you monitor your progress toward achieving your goals.
Focus@Will – A mobile application that was developed with those who battle procrastination in mind. It has several useful activities to assist you in overcoming procrastination.
Meditation Timer – A daily meditation timer that will assist you in keeping track of the amount of time spent meditating.
Mindful Minutes – A free app that provides guided meditations, audio recordings, and daily challenges, allowing you to reap the benefits of meditation on the go.
Sleep Cycle – A free app that monitors your sleeping patterns.
Being mindful of your money and spending habits can be challenging, especially if you have debt. But being aware of what you spend money on can help you avoid unnecessary purchases and save money as well as keep your mind at ease financially.
It’s not just about saving money, though. There are also benefits to using mindfulness to deal with financial problems in your everyday life. Here are some examples:
If you have trouble managing your spending, mindfulness can help you be aware of what triggers impulsive buying.
If you’re having trouble sticking to a plan, mindfulness can help you stay focused and avoid distractions.
Making the Best Mindfulness Apps Work for You
Here at Nav.it, we understand that you’re here to make an impact on the world. And we’re here to help you live that life comfortably. We are an empathic service and community hub that encourages dialogue and practical solutions around mindfully managing your money by providing tools to apply money mindfulness and real financial coaches to guide you.
We believe that everyone deserves access to resources to ensure their financial wellness, regardless of their income level.
That’s why we created the Nav.it money coaching app. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge and resources needed to take control of your finances with personalized money and spending tips. Click here to learn more!