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Five Resources to Aid your Mindfulness Practice

Last week, we discussed how a regular mindfulness routine can lead to success in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond. While It can be intimidating to think about consistently finding a time (or place) to meditate, we put together a list of resources that can make fitting in a mindfulness practice a little less challenging. 

Five free or low-cost mindfulness resources

  1. Headspace. This app provides users with a library of mindfulness resources, including different guided meditation programs suited to a variety of needs, videos, articles and research, and animations. First-time users can access a free meditation basics course and a free 14-day trial. You can then choose from an annual subscription at $69.99/year (or $5.83/month) or monthly at $12.99/month.
  2. Calm. Similar to Headspace, the Calm app offers a variety of tools to sustain a regular meditation practice. Rather than offering multiple-day programs, Calm provides a new meditation technique each day. The app also includes music and visual nature scenes that users can queue up throughout the day, as well as a robust offering of guided meditations for specifically for sleep. First-time users to use the app’s unlimited services for seven days. After that, users can choose from the following subscriptions: $12.99/month, $59.99/year, and a one-time $299.99 lifetime rate.
  3. Stop, breathe, think. This guided meditation app emphasizes the development of a user’s emotional resilience, and offers different programs for adults, children and educators. The app includes more than 100 activities involving meditation, breathing, yoga and acupressure, and can be customized to fit users’ needs and interests. New users can access a free trial and then subscribe for as little as $4.91/month.
  4. YouTube. It goes without saying that YouTube can be an incredible resource for free mindfulness content. Those looking to complement their meditation with a regular yoga practice should consider the Yoga with Adriene channel, which offers more than 100 free yoga videos.
  5. Tara Brach. Brach’s website offers free guided meditations that range from 15-20 minutes. Beginners can download a free meditation toolkit that includes meditation FAQs, two brief audio meditations, a two-part talk on the benefits of meditation, and instructions/resources for commiting to a regular meditation program.

 

The benefits of meditation and mindfulness

Meditation — or mindfulness — is a practice centered around being fully present and paying attention to the current moment without judgement. While a regular meditation practice is known to alleviate stress, it can also lead to successes in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond. Here are four reasons why you might want to consider incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine:

  1. Boost your academic performance. Meditation can improve one’s ability to process and recall information; an essential skill to any student or professional. This increase in brain efficiency is due to growth of grey matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and problem solving.
  2. Reduce stress and anxiety. Adult learners are skilled at balancing competing priorities, and while there’s a certain thrill in the simultanrous accomplishment of both professional and academic goals, that doesn’t mean that the additional projects and deadlines don’t create stress and anxiety. Although you may not realize it, stress can lead to physical symptoms such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and even physical aches and pains. are all symptoms of this type of response. Meditation is an effective tool in combating these symptoms by encouraging your body to slow down. By taking the time to meditate, the body is able to recognize that it is no longer in “flight or fight” mode.
  3. Strengthen your emotional resilience. The occasional failure is a crucial part of professional development. Without failure, and the ability to control the negative emotions associated with failure, there is no room for growth and improvement. Frequent meditation is proven to strengthen the emotional resiliency necessary to process and overcome negative experiences.
  4. Improve your overall health and wellness. Meditation has even been linked to a stronger immune system. A recent study found that meditation can potentially impact inflammation, cell-mediated immunity and biological aging.

Starting a meditation practice may seem overwhelming, but thanks to technology, mindfulness resources are more available than ever before. Stay tuned for a roundup of our favorite easy-access meditation tools.

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