Have you ever noticed the more you try to fight an idea, the more it fights back?
Like let’s say you hate carrots and refuse to eat them, and then suddenly, you start seeing articles spouting the health benefits of carrots everywhere? Your friend sends you a recipe using a lot of carrots, etc. Maybe, you have no idea what I’m talking about and that’s OK too.
But this is the relationship I have with meditation.
I hate the idea of being quiet, sitting still, and focusing on my breath (with the exception of Wim Hof’s breathwork). Yet, all of the life-changing benefits of practicing meditation keep popping up for me.
For example, when I started reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris last month, I didn’t realize it was only going to be about meditation. Or how Netflix keeps recommending I watch the Headspace Guide to Meditation series. At some point, it begins to feel like a sign from the universe. So, when my mom recommended a free meditation app, I relented and decided to check it out.
How does the Healthy Minds free meditation app work?
Before diving into how the meditation practices work, I’ll first share a little bit about Healthy Minds.
Healthy Minds Innovations, Inc. is a nonprofit that’s affiliated with the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was started by a neuroscientist. The idea is to use scientific research to build and cultivate well-being. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend checking out the Healthy Minds website as well as the Center for Healthy Minds website, which has a ton of fascinating articles on meditation and well-being.
The app itself focuses on four key areas: awareness, connection, insight, and purpose. If you’re just starting out, you’ll start off with the foundations section first.
I like the app because it puts you on a course, so all you need to do everyday is open the app and hit play. Sometimes, you have an actual meditation practice; other times, you’ll have a short lesson similar to a mini podcast.
For the actual practices, you can choose the length of time you want to meditate- ranging from just 5 minutes up to 30 minutes. I love being able to squeeze in a 5 minute practice before I start my work day.
You also have the choice of whether you want the meditation to be sitting or active. For active, these can be done during a walk or standing in line somewhere.
Personally, I prefer the sitting-style practices. But… if we’re being honest, I usually lay down. I know meditation purists say you should be seated, but I don’t enjoy that as much? I would recommend just doing whatever works for you. This is YOUR practice after all.
Why should you use the Healthy Minds free meditation app?
It seems like the benefits of meditation can be found everywhere!
For example, an article from the Mayo Clinic has a long list of potential benefits that includes reducing anxiety and increasing creativity. Who doesn’t want that?
The Center of Healthy Minds is also in the process of publishing a study about the Healthy Minds Program app itself. To quote the center, researchers found ‘substantial reductions in anxiety, depression and perceived stress after 8 weeks.’ I love that the idea that two months of focused work has the power to change your life.
I’m still working on being more consistent in practicing (as I write this, it’s been 3 days…), but I find that on days I do practice, I feel better.
I hope you all like the app as much as I do! If you have any favorite health and wellness apps, please share in the comments.