Alleviate stress by deep breathing with the Headspace or Calm app

Mental Health | Recovery

Many people around the world benefit from mindful meditation, and so many others would like to meditate but don’t know how. No worries, your theories about the act of meditation may seem complicated, but it’s not complicated at all. 

As you may already know, mindful meditation is just the act of practicing mindfulness, which focuses on sensing your surroundings and feelings while deep breathing. 

One myth about mindful meditation is that it takes too much time to complete, which is far from the truth. Please note, deep breathing and mindful meditation can be accomplished in as little as one minute per day, but a preferred amount of time is about five to 20 minutes per session. 

When meditating, you do not have to be sitting on the floor with your legs crossed (as is typically depicted in meditation practices); you can be anywhere. What is great about mindful meditation, along with deep breathing, is that you can practice it at your desk, in the car while sitting in traffic, in the shower, on vacation, and literally anywhere you’d like. 

The deep breathing component of mindful meditation can be achieved by simply taking five deep breaths, which takes around one minute to complete. 

On average, the ideal pace of a deep breathing exercise is inhaling for five seconds, exhaling for five seconds; you can also hold each inhale for two seconds between exhaling to strengthen the exercise. 

Practicing mindful meditation by consciously being aware of thoughts and sensing your surroundings while practicing deep breathing can alleviate anxiety, reduce depression, anxiousness, insomnia, lower blood pressure, and heart rate. 

“If you have battled depression in your life, mindful meditation could be an inexpensive, natural and easy way to help. Over four months, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy patients said that it was more or just as helpful as antidepressants or counseling for depression. While 75 percent of the patients in the study who were on antidepressants were able to come off of them after 15 months of follow-up.”

Dr. Shelly Sethi, Personalized Medicine 

For those interested in giving mindful meditation a go, we have a couple of app recommendations, including Headspace and Calm; either of the two are great choices to get you started today. 

Headspace

The Headspace app is free to download, while Headspace Plus is $12.99 per month and comes with an array of services at your fingertips. This app comes with the ability to sift through hundreds of meditations, sleep casts, energizing workouts, and music playlists to find focus. Every day you can be reminded to meditate and enjoy one minute or up to one hour of practices guided by one of its three meditation experts. 

For those who may be stressed out about the future, a forthcoming event, or fear of the unknown, there is a section called “Fear of the Future.” This section provides the user with tools to not allow worrying to consume your daily life. 

No matter what you may be dealing with or experiencing, we’re confident Headspace has a section tailored to your current needs. 

Calm

Similar to Headspace, Calm is another guided meditation app that can bring calmness into your life. You can try the app for free or upgrade to its premium for $14.99 per month to improve sleep quality, reduce stress or anxiety, improve focus, and gain self-improvement. 

According to the platform, 84 percent of Calm users who used the app five times a week saw improved mental health. What’s great about this app is that the user undergoes a questionnaire, and the platform will recommend the best meditation practices for you to strengthen your mentality and reduce stress. 

Before signing up for a monthly membership, we recommend starting with either of the app’s free trials to determine if it’s for you. We’re excited to have you learn the basics of meditation and understand how mindful activity can be achieved by just taking five cleansing breaths a day!