Mindfulness doesn’t come easily to everyone. Sometimes you need a gentle reminder to journal, make time for meditation, or monitor your moods. Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist at the search engine company Bing, reminds us that there’s a long tradition of using technology in the service of spiritual practice.
“Even the earliest spiritual practition-ers of meditation used external tools to help them, whether it was focusing on something in nature or prayer beads,” he explains.
Whether staying connected to your routine or easing into a new practice, the recent proliferation of health-and-wellness apps gives smartphone and tablet users a variety of affordable downloads to sample.
At Ease. Guided breathing exercises aim to ease anxiety; a journaling option allows you to track how well each session reduces stress. $2.99 for both iPhone and Android at meditationoasis.com/smartphone-apps.
Optimism. This action plan app helps you develop and monitor strategies for improving overall mood and monitoring symptoms of conditions like depression and anxiety. Free for iPhone and Android at findingoptimism.com.
Relaxing Nature Sounds. This popular app features 70 relaxing sounds to help with meditation, sleep, or physiotherapy. 99 cents for iPhone at rtstudio.net/NatureSounds.html.
Chakra Meditation. A beautiful interactive animation allows you to follow along visually while listening to a calming narration. $2.99 for iPhone or Android at saagara.com.
Relax & Sleep Well by Glenn Harrold. Narrated by the well-known author, this self-hypnosis app helps to alleviate stress and soothe you to sleep. Free for iPhone at i-mobilize.com/relax-sleep-well-by-glenn-harrold.