“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.
Read review here
Shruti R., second-year undergraduate, Saint Louis University, Missouri
“Are long weekends and breaks the only answers to relieving our stress? Sometimes, yes. Always? Definitely not. I always thought that in order to achieve something (e.g., a good grade on a test), I’d need to sacrifice something else, such as sleep, socializing, or mental sanity. Turns out I can maintain all of the above and do well on an exam, with Calm. Not only does it have bed/naptime stories, it even has a college collection mindfulness 101 meditation feature to help relax those nerves before a big test. With its peaceful lake and fireplace scenes, there’s a perfect backdrop and supplemental audio to help you clear your mind and rejuvenate through mindful meditation.”
I’ll admit that at first I was pretty skeptical about giving up 10–15 minutes of my precious study time, but after listening to the “7 days of focus” feature, I found myself using my phone less (which = major productivity) and actually understanding what I was studying. I honestly don’t even know how many cups of coffee I’ve avoided by listening to the sleep stories.
To be real, this app is literally meant to bore you to the point of relaxation. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself yawning during the sleep story or have your mind wander while listening to the features—that means it’s working. The different music and relaxing scenes are still totally fun to scroll through!
Like I said, with only 10–15 minutes a day, Calm’s features will make you feel more chill and super calm, not to mention the bedtime stories that never failed to help me fit in a short power nap between study sessions.
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
Chen, K. W., Berger, C. C., Manheimer, E., Forde, D., et al. (2012). Meditative therapies for reducing anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety, 29(7), 545–562.
Friese, M., Messner, C., & Schaffner, Y. (2012). Mindfulness meditation counteracts self-control depletion. Consciousness and Cognition, 21(2), 1016–1022.
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.