It’s easy to get wrapped up in work to a point where you’re overwhelmed and frazzled. If you let it build up, your overwhelm can evolve into freelancer anxiety from managing your own workload and balancing multiple projects at once. But don’t worry, not all hope is lost. There are plenty of ways to find your calm in the wake of chaos. And you’re going to need to find it – because without your calm, you risk burning out.
Meditation, for one, has been proven (by science) to change the brain for the better. For example, a Johns Hopkins study looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and pain. It found that the effect size of meditation was the same as antidepressants.
Meditation also helps improve attention and concentration. Another study found that after just two weeks of meditation training, participants increased their score on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE by 16 percentage points. If you’re looking to sharpen your memory, increase concentration, combat anxiety and just chill out – here are 10 apps that will help you center your mind and find your calm.
Calm is a simple mindfulness and meditation app offering guided meditations from two to 20 minutes long. If you’re not quite ready to jump head first into meditation but need help calming down, the app and website offer an array of calming sounds from “rain on leaves” to “sunset beach.” If you are ready, choose from a selection of programs such as “seven days of calm,” “seven days of managing stress,” or “seven days of focus,” among others.
With more than five million users, Headspace has become all the rage in meditation apps. Its website says that it is meditation made simple. Learn online, when you want, wherever you are, in just 10 minutes a day. You can browse meditation collections and pick sessions to suit your mood and lifestyle. Choose your session length, replay your favorites and learn how to apply mindfulness to your everyday activities.
Peep Addie Whelan said, “I started using Headspace over a year ago. There are focused meditations for different levels of anxiety or things you fear. For me, fear of airplanes has really ruled a lot of what I do as a person and Headspace has really taught me how to control my mind and my breathing during takeoff and landing!”
3) The Mindfulness App
Regularity is important when building a habit of mindfulness. The Mindfulness App will help you remember to practice daily – even if it’s just for a few minutes. The folks behind the app conducted a survey to see how their users benefited from the app and practicing mindfulness. They found that 79% felt less stressed, 62% slept better and 77% saw an improvement in their ability to focus. As an introduction, the app offers a five-day guided meditation program.
4) Stop, Breathe & Think App
The Stop, Breathe & Think App is a friendly and simple tool to guide people of all ages and backgrounds through meditations for mindfulness and compassion. The app prompts you to take five minutes to stop what you’re doing and breathe to create space between your thoughts, emotions and reactions. To think about what you’re doing and what you’re feeling. The free app was created by Tools for Peace, a non-profit organization that envisions people across the globe connected by kindness and compassion.
Omvana focuses on the soundtrack for your meditation session. The app offers 500+ tracks of transformational audios to enhance every area of your life. Popular categories include body, mind, lifestyle, productivity, relationships and hypnosis. The app and website also offer guided meditations by famous authors, teachers and spiritual celebrities.
6) Insight Timer
Insight Timer is a free meditation app available for iPhone and Android, used by more than 950k meditators. It offers guided meditations and hundreds of customizable features for tracking your meditation practice – peaceful polyphonic bells, soothing ambient sounds, personalized presets, a journal and more. It also has a community component, letting you connect with friends to share and connect over your experience.
Based on the ancient principles of Tai Chi and mindfulness practice, PAUSE brings the act of focused attention to your mobile device. By slowly and continuously moving your fingertip across the screen, PAUSE triggers the body’s ‘rest and digest’ response, quickly helping you regain focus and release stress within minutes. The calming audiovisual feedback in the app is designed to help you keep your attention and focus in the present moment.
8) Smiling Mind
Australian-based Smiling Mind is modern meditation for young people. It’s a simple and free tool developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy. Its goal is to provide a sense of calm, clarity and contentment. It focuses on using Mindfulness Meditation as a treatment of stress, resilience, anxiety, depression and other physical and mental illnesses. Though focused on adolescents, it also offers an adult program.
9) Relaxing Rhythms
A bit pricier at $9.99, the Relaxing Rhythms is a 15-Step guided meditation app that helps you relax your mind and body and relieve stress to gain balance and control over your busy life. It uses IonBlue Sensors (not really sure what that means) so you can see your heart rate, HRV and coherence while meditating. It also offers expert instruction, more than 30 guided meditations and inspirations from mindfulness mentors.
10) Quotiful’s Mindfulness Collection
Quotiful (founded by Peep Nicole Raymondi) is a social quote app that’s all about a community of creativity and inspiration. The latest release of the app includes quote collections, including one all about practicing mindfulness. Sometimes just reading inspirational messages can be reminder enough to take a second to think about your feelings and thoughts.
Finding your Om
As freelancers and business owners, you’re bound to experience plenty of stress and pressure from time to time. It’s important to practice mindfulness and awareness of how you’re feeling so you can address any potential issues and anxieties head on. We suggest giving a couple of these apps a try and journaling how they helped or how they didn’t.
Another helpful strategy for easing freelancer stress and anxiety is to join a community of like-minded people experiencing similar challenges. The Peeps in our community are always supporting each other through various challenges and opportunities. If you’re not a member yet, we’d love to have you!
*Photo above by Radu Emanuel.*
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