Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mindfulness: Top 10 websites and apps to teach and model this concept

The stress level in my household has been off the charts this past month. As if having two teenagers in the midst of puberty wasn't enough, I'm helping to care for an older family member who has significant health issues. Inevitably, my stress leaks over into my speech-language therapy practice. When I'm tense and short-tempered I start to notice those same qualities in my students. Time to start practicing some mindfulness! Mindfulness is simply awareness; awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodies and environment. When children learn to practice mindfulness, it can help them focus, self-calm and make less impulsive decisions. I've gathered some helpful websites and apps to teach and encourage this skill in ourselves and our children.

If you'd like to download any of the apps listed, please show your support for Smart Apps for Special Needs by using the links provided.

Websites/Articles

Kids Relaxation - This website is dedicated to sharing resources, ideas and activities to teach relaxation and reduce anxiety in children. I loved this post featuring a Spider-man themed script for practicing mindfulness and increasing focus.
Left Brain Buddha - This site authored by Sarah Rudell Beach is about "living and parenting mindfully, joyfully, and thought-fully, especially in left-brained, analytical lives." I enjoyed this post entitled, Five Strategies for Teaching Mindfulness to Children, as well as this one written specifically for older kids, Teaching Mindfulness to Teens.
Edutopia - This website is "working to improve public schools with resources, tools, and solutions for teachers, administrators, and parents." The have some wonderful information about mindfulness in schools. I love this post/video about the Importance of Cultivating Focus by Daniel Goleman. Check out another video of Goleman's about Breathing Buddies.

The Mindful Teacher - This website is "designed to provide a virtual community of inquiry and practice for all educators who are seeking more mindful and humanistic schools and systems." It's divided into three sections: Practice, Learn and Connect.








Apps
Take A Break! - Guided Meditation for Stress Relief by Meditation Oasis

You can enjoy the deep relaxation, stress relief and benefits of meditation now with this app by Meditation Oasis™. Featuring two popular meditations from the the Meditation Oasis podcast, the app gives you the option to listen with or without music or nature sounds. You can also listen to the relaxing music and nature sounds alone. 

(iPhone/iPad, Free)


The Mindfulness App by MindApps

The Mindfulness App helps you to reduce stress and increase wellbeing. Scientific research proves that regular practice for 20 minutes a day brings desired effects. Try it out for yourself! 

With The Mindfulness App you are always close to inner peace and stress relief. Due to its beneficial meditations and clever functions The Mindfulness App has climbed all the way to the top on App Stores lists in 11 countries all over the world. Now it also includes a store with meditations by some of the world’s foremost meditation teachers like Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodron, Sharon Salzberg among others. 

(iPhone/iPad, $2.99)



Calm - Meditate, Sleep, Relax by Calm.com

Now available for iPhone, Calm can help you meditate, sleep, relax, focus and much more. By downloading this app, you’ll discover how meditation can improve your mood - and your life. 
Highlights: 
 - The 7 Days of Calm - learn the basics of mindfulness meditation in our free introductory program 
- 7 guided meditation sessions from 2 to 30 minutes 
- for whenever you need a break from your day 
- 10 beautiful, immersive nature scenes - choose the perfect background sounds and scene to help you relax 
- 16 blissful music tracks by meditation music master, Kip Mazuy. 
- 50 premium guided meditations for focus, creativity, energy, confidence, sleep and much more 
- The 21 Days of Calm - deepen your meditation practice with our paid program available only to subscribers

(iPhone/iPad, Free with in-app purchases)


Headspace.com - meditation and mindfulness by Headspace Meditation Limited

Headspace is meditation made simple, a way of treating your head right. Using proven meditation and mindfulness techniques we’ll show you how to train your mind for a healthier, happier, more enjoyable life. 

Starting with our free Take10 programme, we’ll teach you the basics of meditation in just 10 minutes a day. 

(iPhone/iPad, Free with in-app purchases)



At Ease: Anxiety and Worry Relief by Meditation Oasis
GUIDED BREATHING MEDITATIONS 
The meditations are the core of the At Ease program. When we are anxious, our breathing becomes shallow and constricted. You will learn to deal with anxiety by breathing in an easy, natural way that makes you feel more relaxed. In addition, the meditations will also train you to let go of worry and find the pleasure in breathing. 

JOURNALING & EXERCISES 
The At Ease journaling process is designed to increase self-awareness -- the foundation of all meaningful change. It will also help you develop some important strategies for dealing with anxiety. You will be given exercises to do during the day, and questions to write about as you reflect on your experiences with the exercises.

(iPhone/iPad, $2.99)


Simply Being - Guided Meditation for Relaxation and Presence by Meditation Oasis

With this App you can:
 - Meditate easily as you are voice-guided step by step 
- Choose a meditation length of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes 
 - Listen to the meditation with or without music/nature sounds 
- Read instructions to support and enhance your meditation 
- Listen to music or nature sounds alone 
- Choose how long the music/nature sounds will continue after the meditation ends 
- Relax deeply and experience the present moment completely 
- Enjoy the benefits of meditation easily 
- Links to support on the Meditation Oasis website The Simply Being meditation is useful for beginners and experienced meditators alike.

(iPhone/iPad, $1.99)

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Sarah's friend gave her a candy bouquet this week. She loves it so much she left it at work so she wouldn't have to share it with her family.

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