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Feeling Overwhelmed? Best 5 Meditation Apps to Destress During the Day

Feeling Overwhelmed? Best 5 Meditation Apps to Destress During the Day

Feeling overwhelmed all the time is mentally and emotionally exhausting. You might think you’re managing perfectly—career, personal, social, and family without realizing how that overwhelmed feeling is overpowering you.

Triggers such as forgetfulness, constant rushing, not preparing for deadlines, missing deadlines, or canceling plans last minute to compensate making up for unfinished work.

We’ve all been there, I think, at one time or another or this is how life has been lately.

In this article, we’ll look into the best 5 meditation apps to help you destress. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at the bad effects stress has on your body.

How stress affects your body

If you think stress is invisible, think again. Stress actually affects your body and mind more than you ever imagined:

1. Hot flashes and the feeling like you’re broken out in a cold sweat.

Have you ever sat down to work and noticed your skin on your cheeks, back of your neck, legs and hands feeling clammy?

When I’m overwhelmed, I’ll notice light sweating which I believed was just from running around. It comes even when I’m not running around, and when it does, I step away from whatever I am doing and go for a walk.

If you can’t step away, focus on diaphragmatic breathing. The symptom is a result of over-taxing. Your body is viewing stress as a toxin and is trying to eliminate it.

2. Heart palpitations and out of control breathing.

The heart is one of the first organs in your body to notice when you’re overwhelmed. Whether you have heart disease or not, stress induces rapid heartbeats.

An increased heart-rate when you’re not working out is not normal. You might notice heavy or incredibly shallow breathing.

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By this point, your brain and heart aren’t getting enough oxygen rich blood. Deep breathing and normal breathing are important for keeping your brain and body’s systems moving.

3. Cramping or pains in your joints (wrists, knees, and ankles).

If you’ve gone out to run those errands and notice cramping in your legs or knees, your body is sending you a signal that shouldn’t be ignored.

My hips and knees cramp up if I’ve been on the move for too long. Our bodies have a way of warning or sending us signals to nurture it more. Balance is a key ingredient to sustaining optimal health and if your body is aching, it’s telling you to stop.

4. Hair thinning or hair loss.

Stress, especially chronic, can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. When you run your hands through your hair or push it behind your ears, you might have noticed loose strands in your fingers.

Hair loss indicates overexertion as well. Only ten minutes or less of meditation in the mornings or the evenings can radically improve your stress levels.

5. When something comes up, you get light-headed.

You pencil a plan or an appointment in your schedule and suddenly feel a little off balance or wobbly, or worse, you feel a sense of dread or doom.

Even if you’ve got something fun planned or a project coming up, you feel light-headed or like you need to sit.

Affirmations can help if you’ve got a full calendar and are worrying about deadlines. Say things like, “I always figure things out. I’ve got this. Whatever the challenge is, I’ll meet it.”

Best 5 meditation apps to destress during the day

Now that you know how feeling overwhelmed can affect you, here are the resources that can help.

Remember, though, that finding the right balance in your day-to-night life will radically transform your mental state. So, here are the five apps I’ve exclusively included that’ll ease your stress, anxiety and depression.

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1. Aura

    Aura is an app dedicated to making you more mindful. At a medical conference I recently attended, a physician introduced mindfulness this way:

    They dimmed the lights, told us to plant our feet on the ground, and focus on deep breaths.

    What’s nice about this app is it specifically addresses stress, anxiety and depression which studies show all work together and against you.

    Every day, this app will determine your current mood and then use that to assign different meditations. The app itself promotes calmness through its blue color.

    Another additional feature of the app is it prompts you to add what you’re grateful for. Overtime, gratitude will make you feel less stressed and more positive when it comes to tackling hefty tasks.

    Available for iOS | Android

    2. Calm

      Calm is another beautifully designed app that has peaceful backgrounds and is relaxing to look at.

      A series of meditations can range from ten to twenty minutes and it will allow you to develop a routine or daily practice.

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      Upon opening the app, you can select something you’d like to immediately achieve such as reduce anxiety, improve focus, increase happiness, better sleep, and the app teaches you how to meditate.

      You can use it for free but if you subscribe, you’ll need to pay to have access to the full set of features.

      Available for iOS | Android

      3. Headspace

        Headspace is free to use and the app goes in depth with meditation, describes why and how it works, and contains guided and unguided meditations.

        What’s nice about Headspace is it allows you to do mental health check-ins to prevent overwhelm from creeping in. Those appointments with yourself are crucial and bring awareness to your mental and emotional state.

        For me, Headspace inspires me to care and focus more on my psychological health and well-being.

        If you have depression and anxiety, it’s critical to manage your mental health daily.

        Available for iOS | Android

        4. Food Planner

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          Stress and overwhelm can stem from feeling like there is no time to cook food and eat healthy. With a slammed schedule, which I always have, I’ve found this app to be quite helpful when it comes to planning simple recipes.

          My cooking routine is toss vegetables in a blender, dump them on a cookie tray, and roast everything in the oven. Meal preparation doesn’t have to take three hours, it can take only minutes.

          If you have a schedule that forces you to be on all the time, making time to eat right can seem impossible.

          Every Sunday or whatever day you have off or down time, plug simple meals into this app. It’s a lifesaver and puts these seemingly impossible tasks into perspective.

          Available for iOS | Android

          5. YouTube

          YouTube can be used to ease feelings of overwhelm. I am only on YouTube to calm my stress and anxiety. My playlist consists of ocean waves, birds, and crickets, and instrumental music with nature sounds weaved throughout.

          On YouTube, you can access guided meditations and find breathing techniques that target emotional well-being. Breathing techniques are an excellent way to take control of anxiety.

          Here’s an example:

          Final thoughts

          All of these apps are perfect for managing depression and anxiety related to stress and overwhelm.

          When you’re overwhelmed, a part of your brain shuts down — the part that controls emotions. If you’re operating on high-stress all the time, you eventually won’t be able to function effectively or do your best work.

          Allow yourself moments of peace and quiet. Listen to your body’s desires for easing stress. A balanced schedule will create a positive difference both at your job and in your personal life.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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          Tessa Koller

          Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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