With the release of iOS 10, Apple added a Mindfulness section to the iPhone’s Health app, allowing users to record the number of “mindful minutes” they spend each day. Various meditation apps have been updated to allow their data to be integrated in this way; here are some of what we consider the most promising such stress-busters.
Calm: Meditation techniques for stress reduction (iOS)
If you have only recently become interested in practising mindfulness and are unsure exactly how to get started, installing this app – it’s free to download – would be a good move. Straight away, you will get to enjoy the ‘7 Days of Calm’ introductory program, with which you can learn the basics of mindfulness meditation.
You can then pay to access the ’21 Days of Calm’ program, ideal for learning how to meditate on those occasions when your iPhone won’t be at hand. The app’s other goodies include over 10 soothing natural scenes to enjoy. There’s also an Apple Watch app.
Simple Habit – Meditation & Guided Mindfulness (iOS)
If one thing stopping you looking seriously into mindfulness is the concern that you simply wouldn’t have enough time to practice it, this app should help you to put that fear to one side. Billing itself as “the best meditation app for busy people”, it’s designed for use in just five minutes each day. It’s a free download – but, after an initial 7-day trial, you will need to pay to continue using it.
Another neat touch that we particularly like is the accompanying iMessage app. This allows you to, during iMessage chats with friends you know are beset by mental anguish, casually pass on helpful little treats from Simple Habit.
Pacifica – Anxiety, Stress, & Depression relief (iOS)
In the description provided for this app in its App Store listing, Pacifica Labs explains that an ongoing cycle of thoughts is responsible for stress, depression and anxiety. That cycle, it continues, sees thoughts bringing on physical feelings – which, in turn, trigger actions. Pacifica pledges to try to break this cycle through tools targeting each of its stages.
The app is free to download, but unlocking all of its content requires payment. Unlike the other two iOS apps we have just mentioned, this one has an iPad-optimised version as well – though the Health app currently isn’t available on iPads.
If you have an Apple Watch running watchOS 3, you will already have access to Apple’s new Breathe app. As iMore senior editor Georgia Dow – also a practicing psychotherapist – explains, with this app, you can restore yourself to calm by breathing deeply and rhythmically from your belly. Doing this will signal your brain to relax.
Dow advises that, to reap the most benefit from Breathe, you should use it 8-12 times daily. You can have it remind you every 2-4 hours, which will help you make a habit of using it.