Are you curious about meditation or mindfulness but can't seem to get into it? Or are you plain skeptic and don't believe the hype? With so many channels nowadays telling us that meditation is the key to a happy and positive life, why is it so hard for some of us to become believers?
Mindfulness is a simple, scientifically approved training method for your brain, and one app in particular helped me discover the true meaning of it. Being a cynic myself, the 10% Happier app stood out from the crowd.
The app is set up as a two-week trial, led by skeptical newsman, Dan Harris and meditation expert, Joseph Goldstein. Every day you get video guides that teach you the essentials of meditation and audio ones that take you through the app's process step by step. Here's what happened when I tried the 10% Happier app:
1. Did you actually feel happier after trying this mindfulness app?
Yes. Partially because you feel like you're doing something for yourself. Even though the benefits aren't overnight, I feel like it's a practise. The science is there, and that alone makes me feel like I'm making an educated effort, which in turn makes you naturally feel a little happier, psychologically. Also, I noticed that after I meditate, I see colours much more vibrantly!
2. Would you recommend it?
Definitely – especially for people who are apprehensive about meditation in the first place and find it difficult to relate to. With this mindfulness app, each session is introduced and then each meditation is guided, so you feel like you're in good hands and motivated at times when you feel like giving up.
3. What is the time commitment?
All it takes is 15 minutes a day – the introduction video explaining how you will follow the guide is around 4 minutes, so the meditation itself is super manageable.
4. What were your favourite and least favourite aspects of the app?
The introductory videos in this mindfulness app are relatable and funny – they take the hocus pocus out of meditation. The guides are simple and manageable but quite powerful – they don't feel like hard work, and I do find myself thinking about it for awhile after.
I guess the good and bad thing simultaneously is that I feel like it's a huge commitment to include into my daily routine, so I tend to schedule my 10% Happier time for the mornings so I know I'm making time for it. If I don't make it, I feel like I can't do it, and if I can't do it, I feel like I failed.
On another note, you have to pay £9.99 a month to subscribe to this mindfulness app. I know that's a negative for most people, but I actually think paying for something makes me more conscious of its value. So I remind myself to do it, because I'm paying for it!
I know it's a weird thing to say but part of me feels like meditation is like coffee or wine. It's an acquired taste and you can't force it. You just have to try different ways like apps, websites or seek experts to guide you, every now and then and one day, randomly, it clicks like it did for me, and I NEVER thought I could stick to meditation – so long, cynical me!