Saturday, 28 May 2016

Calm: App and Book Review

Calm the mind, change the world

I've struggled to motivate myself to practice mindfulness in the past. Even this past month it's been a challange. Finding journaling tools that allow me to explore mindfulness through writing and reflections have helped me to bring a little bit of awareness into every day. But I still want to find a way of bringing mindfulness meditation into my life. And the Calm app and book are just what I needed to make meditation easy and achievable.

"Being mindful of your thoughts will get easier with practice. When you notice your thoughts, don't hold on to them or push them away. They all come and go and are constantly changing. Just let them be as they are." - Claire Thompson

Calm App

The Calm App is free to download (so no excuses) and it offers different forms of guided or non-guided meditation. With daily reminders to check-in, it's easy to explore the different forms of meditation offered via the app including body scans and loving-kindness. You can only unlock all of the mindfulness tools by completing the first few ones, which gives the app a sort of gaming type appeal. You can choose your own background and sound effects, or change it up every few days depending on your mood.

The first meditation technique I tried out was Noting. For 12 minutes, Calm talks you through how to calmly note a thought or emotion rather than getting lost in it. The advice is to, 'Note it and let it go'. To do this, we name our thoughts and emotions, giving them clear recognition. Give you thoughts a 'one word label' like sadness, planning , worry, excitement etc. Repeat the one word label until the thought wanders away. This tool works particularly well to help you learn about thought patterns and recognise what's going on in your mind. I loved the advice to not get swept away by thoughts or emotions, but rather to acknowledge them as visitors.

Calm Book

The Calm book by Michael Acton Smith offers something different to the app. While they can be used in conjunction with each other, there also separate entities, created in different styles.
The book is divided into a number of themes that you can dip into and out of including Nature, Sleep, Relationships, Travel and Creativity. It contains practical tips and tricks to help you bring meditation and mindfulness into your everyday. As well as being full of inspiring quotes and pretty illustrations. In many ways, the Calm book acts as a mini journal where you can record your own observations, feelings of calm, three highlights of the day, and moments of happiness. But it also contains numerous suggestions and tips for practicing meditation. One of my favourites was cloud gazing (which is literally just that!) and I can't wait to put it into practice as the weather picks up.
The book retails at around £9.99

There is so much to like with Calm. Not only are the app and book easy to follow and engaging, but they also make mindfulness meditation fun. The gorgeous illustrations and design of the book make it accessible and enjoyable to use.

If you're looking for the perfect intro to mindfulness, meditation or both, then look no further than Calm.

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