Contrary to popular opinion, you can meditate without a yoga mat, religious guidance, a peaceful personal space, incense candles, and any other apparatus. If you’re new to mindfulness meditation, however, some external tools can help.
Mindfulness meditation is all about developing better self-awareness through tuning into your mind and your surroundings. Essentially, you are training your focus to concentrate on one thing at a time, and slowly get rid of all the stimuli that are coming your way all the time. Over time, your mind learns to dissociate from a barrage of external factors.
This practice has been shown to have tremendous benefits. You probably already know that meditation helps de-stress you and builds your compassion, but there are lesser known advantages too. For example, mindfulness meditation is recommended by psychologists to successfully recover from a relapse in your resolution.
The one thing you concentrate on can be anything, from simply concentrating on your breath to even mindfully surfing the Web to build your focus. It can be a difficult concept to master initially, so having a guide helps. That’s where Stop, Breathe & Think (SBT) comes in.
How Stop, Breathe & Think Teaches Meditation
SBT starts by telling you to dim your screen for 10 seconds and really take stock of yourself. Then, you tell the app how you are feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally — all of these are choices from a list. Based on your current state, SBT will recommend a few meditations.
Each meditation lists the name, the number of minutes it runs for, and a brief description. There are also a few paid meditation guides, ranging from $1 to $3 — you might want to spend on these eventually, but as a beginner, don’t bother. The built-in free guides are good enough.
SBT tracks your progress, charting the number of minutes, the emotions you commonly meditate on, and so on. It also has a range of stickers that you earn over time. It’s yet another way to gamify your good habits, which has been a successful method for many people.
How Stop, Breathe & Think Helps Advanced Meditation Practitioners
Whether you’re new to meditation or already practice it, SBT has something for you.
If you have been meditating for some time, SBT doesn’t make you jump through the hoops of identifying which type of guide you need. You can quickly scroll through the full list of meditations and choose.
Advanced users can also opt for a silent, self-timed meditation so that you get a gong to prompt when to start and stop, instead of an annoying alarm. Still, it would have been nice to have a few sound-based options in this, like the free nature sounds you can download to meditate.
It’s completely free. You can buy additional guides, but they really aren’t necessary.
It’s cross-platform. You don’t have to have your phone with you, you can just open a browser. Plus, because it’s free, you don’t have to buy it twice, once for your Android phone and again for your iPad.
It’s designed well. Don’t underestimate the power of good design to keep you coming back for more. SBT proves it in spades, just like Buddhify did before it.