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“Mindfulness sounds great, but I have no clue how to get started.” I hear that a lot, and I get why. There’s a ton of (deserved) buzz around mindfulness as a way to reduce stress, improve focus, and become happier and healthier. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much in terms of simple, trustworthy, “start here” kind of instruction, so hopefully this post will help.

In the video below, I share the easiest way I know to get started with mindfulness practice: a fun, easy “mindfulness game” you can do anywhere. If you enjoy it and want to go a bit deeper with mindfulness, I encourage you to try meditation and some other ways to bring mindfulness into daily life.

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Student review: Calm By Calm.com cofounders, Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew

Read review here

Melania B. is a second-year student at Glendale Community College in California.

 

“The purpose of Calm is to release tension and stress using different meditation programs. In order for it to be effective, one should be consistent with it—making meditation and mindfulness a daily routine. Therapists usually emphasize the use of techniques to stay in the present, be mindful, and nonjudgmental. This app feels like a free therapy session!”

USEFUL?
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Having the app on something as convenient as a smartphone can make meditating more accessible and easy to do on a regular basis. Living a busy life can make us feel overwhelmed, but the app helps you let go of all the worries and stay mindful.

FUN?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
There are so many fun and cool options to choose from, such as changing the background picture/sound and a variety of meditation programs/topics (breathing, better concentration, staying present, reducing anxiety, sleeping, etc.), with your choice of how long the session is! The reason I subtracted .5 of a star is because as I skim through the options, there are so many of those that you have to pay for to have access. The titles raise my curiosity, but I wouldn’t want to actually pay to buy many of them.

EFFECTIVE?
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The soothing voice of the narrator, background sound (volume of narrator versus background sound can be adjusted), and the positive affirmations can really help release us from the chaos of thoughts, emotions, and criticism. With consistency, meditation can have a huge impact on emotional balance.

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..you will apply to everyday life?

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Article sources

Addley, E. (2015, May 29). Planet’s happiest human—and his app. TheGuardian.com. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/29/planets-happiest-human-and-his-app

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Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., et al. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357–368.

Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169.

Hughes, J. W., Fresco, D. M., Myerscough, R., van Dulmen, M., et al. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction for prehypertension. Psychosomatic Medicine, 75(8), 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3182a3e4e5. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3182a3e4e5

Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Lamm, C., & Singer, T. (2012). Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training. Cerebral Cortex, bhs142.

Stahl, J. E., Dossett, M. L., LaJoie, A. S., Denninger, J. W., et al. (2015). Relaxation response and resiliency training and its effect on healthcare resource utilization. PLoS ONE, 10(10), e0140212. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140212

Zeidan, F., Johnson, S. K., Diamond, B. J., David, Z., et al. (2010). Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: Evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and Cognition, 19(2), 597–605.