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Relax With As Little As 5 Minutes With These Meditation Apps

Relax With As Little As 5 Minutes With These Meditation Apps

Sometimes, you just need a break. With these meditation apps, a relaxing moment of peace is just a click away. Here are the top five meditation apps that make meditation so simple and easy that you can get started in as little as five minutes.

Meditation Timer

Meditation Timer is one of the most flexible free meditation apps available. While simple to use, it can also be customized in more ways than other meditation apps, making it the best app for those who know the framework they want for their meditation. Customization options include customizable background images, audio, preparation time length, and meditation length. It also includes features for using interval chimes, which are a great way to help you re-focus during a meditation when you don’t want a fully guided session. Chime sounds can also be customized, as can the end and rest chimes.

*Secret feature: You can change the background image by quickly turning your phone upside down and right-side up again. It will not work if you turn the phone over too slowly.

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    Calm

    Calm incorporates background music into its meditation and offers a variety of background images. The free “7 Days of Calm” guided meditation is a great free beginners meditation program. One unique feature is the guided breathing imagery, where the breathing circle contracts and expands to guide your breaths.

    Item to note: One downside to Calm is that the moment you open the app, it immediately starts playing background sounds, even if you have your phone on silent mode. So, don’t open this app anywhere that hearing birds chirping in the trees wouldn’t be appropriate.

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      10% Happier

      With a slogan like “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics,” you know that 10% Happier doesn’t take itself too seriously. On the other hand, with images of men in suits and ties, this is the best app to be caught using while at the office. This app was developed by ABC News anchor Dan Harris, in partnership with Change Collective, as part of his personal mission to make mindfulness and meditation approachable and understandable. The app provides an in-depth free 7-day introduction to meditation that includes video lessons and guided meditations, as well as pre-recorded guided meditations with Joseph Goldstein, a renowned meditation teacher. The only downside to this app is that guided meditations start at 10 minutes long.

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      If you have a little more time, this app will help you learn about the mindfulness principles that are the foundation of meditation practice. Paid options with this app are very professional and include coaching and training to use meditative practice to positively impact your life. Paid sessions include thoughtful topics such as “The Blame Game,” “Understanding Strong Emotions,” and “Raising an Issue Without Starting a Fight.”

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        Headspace

        Headspace has a game-like feel for those who learn best through challenges and achieving accomplishments. A variety of “singles” (individual meditations) with cool names like “SOS” and “On-The-Go,” as well as meditations grouped by themes like Health and Relationships, are available. Unfortunately, most require upgrading to a paid version of the app.

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          Centering Prayer

          For faith-based individuals, the Centering Prayer app may be a compelling option that aligns with their spirituality. Centering Prayer a contemplative prayer style taught by the Contemplative Institute and is a great option that incorporates both periods of silence and time to contemplate scriptural verses or other inspiring quotes and passages.

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            All five of these meditation apps have great features. Some provide a simple interface, others provide in-depth learning and guided meditation. For beginners, taking advantage of free introductory programs such as those offered by 10% Happer may be a great starting point, while Meditation Timer offers a free, flexible way to meditate on a daily basis in time intervals of as little as 5 minutes.

            Still not convinced? Here are 10 Reasons You Should Meditate Every Day.

            Featured photo credit: Nickolai Kashirin via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on November 11, 2019

            How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

            How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

            Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

            To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

            Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

            1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

            Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

            Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

            To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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            2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

            Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

            If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

            Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

            3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

            Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

            Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

            4. Feed Your Brain

            Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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            This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

            Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

            Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

            5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

            According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

            Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

            Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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            6. Write it Down

            If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

            It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

            You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

            7. Listen to Music

            Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

            8. Visual Concepts

            In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

            Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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            Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

            9. Teach Someone Else

            Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

            Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

            10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

            Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

            So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

            Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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