5 Meditation apps for people too busy to mediate

Everywhere you look, people these days are stressed out. There is a drive to cope and to survive. People are getting savvier about how chronic stress can lead to ill health. With the rise of stress levels and dwindling attention span, people are increasingly using technology to tap into age old technique of meditation.

Meditation apps are now trending big time. Meditation apps can help you chalk out time in your day to meditate and can teach you how to meditate. They range from meditation for beginners to extensive lessons and subscription tutorials.

Each meditation app has its own unique features. So simply take your headphones, close your eyes and let these apps guide you wherever you are.

1) Sattva:

satttva-phone 393x800

The app has tools that encourage and inspire you to make meditation a daily practice. The app includes a collection of free guided meditation and soothing music. This app not only helps you to keep track of your meditation timings but also helps you to track your state of mind pre and post meditation. Plus, it keeps records of all your meditation and you can unlock titles and achievements as you progress. For a beginner, this can be a good start.

2) AURA:

Aura 394x800The app has a different concept each day; you get a three-minute meditation that’s customized based on how you’re feeling in the present moment. When new users join, they get to answer a few questions to help the app understand their needs and their familiarity with meditation. They have a mood tracker to check how you’re feeling over time, and also they offers daily reminders for completing short breathing exercises. After each session, users can provide feedback that can help Aura become more in tune with their goals.

3) BUDDHIFY:

Buddhify 400x800The app introduces users to techniques of meditation compatible to urban lifestyles. It offers 80 guided meditations ranging in length from approximately 4 to 30 minutes. The 11 hours of guided meditations practices are designed for activities such as commuting, taking a short break at work, at the gym, and going to sleep, etc. There are also multiple voices to choose from until you find your favorite soothing voice. You can also track your progress through stats and graphs.

4) HEADSPACE:

Headspace 396x800Headspace teachs less spiritual and more science-based meditation techniques. They have one free section while access to the rest of the app requires a subscription. The Take10 series is free and comes with 10 daily guided meditations. Andy, the narrator is a Tibetan monk, has a soothing voice and makes it easy to meditate. You can download guided meditations for offline use as well. There is stepwise detail instruction given to users along with animations to guides you every possible way.

5) CALM:

Calm 450x800Calm explains the mindfulness meditation technique with the 7 Days of Calm. This features seven sessions of 10 minutes each. Once you complete seven sessions, you can move on to 21 Days of Calm and the full catalog with a paid subscription. The app offers sessions for situations, such as when you’re traveling, angry, or need to focus. The app keeps account through a calendar that shows you how many times you’ve meditated during the month.

Meditation is a personal practice. While one app may be perfect for one person, it may not work for others. Most of the above apps have a free trial option, so the best way to see what works for you is to try them.

 

This article was originally published by our friends at SOULSCAPE.ASIA.

Review: Best Pea Protein Powder is Nuzest

The following is an excerpt from the full article at superfoodly.com.

Whether you need it for building muscle or as a meal replacement for weight loss, the vast majority of the powders on the market – including those which are plant-based – come with 3 major pitfalls… 

1. Whey and casein causes gas and bloating 

2. Many vegan protein powders are bad, too

3. Stevia is “highly mutagenic” in animals, human effects unknown

Review of Nuzest protein

Unlike Vega and most other brands, Nuzest is unique in that they use golden peas grown in Northern France, which are then processed using chemical-free methods in Belgium.

The result is a pea protein unlike what’s in Vega and similar. This is a powder which for whatever reasons, does not seem to cause GI distress.

It blends amazingly, even with just plain water…

What you see there is how we prefer to eat Clean Lean Protein. Rather than dilute it in lots of water, we use a little and make a delicious protein-packed pudding. Topping it with berries, nuts, and raw cacao nibs gives you the satisfaction of ice cream or yogurt, but with the nutrients an athlete needs for a post-workout treat.

For weight loss, try substituting out your dessert with some of this.

For making a traditional shake, just add more water…

That’s blended with just a spoon in a glass of water. Not using a shaker or blender means there’s less air added to the drink and in turn, it’s another reason why you’re far less likely to experience gas and bloating with Nuzest.

When you use an electric blender to make a protein shake, all of that added air has to escape your body somehow.

A spoon and 20 seconds of stirring gives you this incredibly smooth texture with zero grittiness.

It’s one of the few alkaline protein powders in existence. Its pH is 7.8 is something you won’t find with whey protein or any animal-based source, unless it has something like baking soda added to it…

Read the entire article on superfoodly.com.

 

Quit Stressing! But Why?

Most of us know stress is bad for us. But turning it off isn’t always easy – it’s not just a simple switch you can turn on and off at will. What’s more, stress isn’t always bad for us – in fact, some of you will be pleased to learn (if you didn’t know it already) that we’re actually designed to function with some level of stress. Importantly, there is good stress and bad stress, or positive and negative stress. If we’re interested in being the best, most vital and healthy beings we possibly can be, we need to ensure we’ve got the right amount of positive stress, combined with as little negative stress as we can muster.

 

What kind of stress are you under?

Dr Hans Selye, the widely acknowledged ‘father’ of stress research, devoted an entire book to the subject of ‘stress without distress’. What’s clear from more than half a century of research on the subject is that we all have different levels of stress tolerance. Some people are able to cope with much higher levels of negative stress than others, and one person’s positive stress might be another person’s negative stress.

Stress is a reaction caused by a stressor of some sort. It might be excessive hours of work, a series of seemingly unrealistic deadlines, or a tyrant of a boss. It could be exams or a bully at school, a poor diet, or an under-par immune system that’s struggling to ward off infection. It might also be pushing yourself to the limit in a given sport or overdoing it in the gym. As Dr Selye said, “a painful blow or a passionate kiss can be equally stressful” — at different times, or to different people. He also reminded us that “complete freedom from stress is death”.

The nature, duration, severity and, in particular, our response to stress, are what determine whether stress is ultimately going to do us good or harm. And don’t forget, you can suffer negative stress that also does you good. An example of this is being caught in traffic on the way to the airport and then running late for a plane. The psychological and physiological stress response that causes you to run to the check-in juggling all your bags, and then through the terminal feeling as if you want to bowl over any slow-moving passengers or over-zealous security officers isn’t good for you. Your nervous system is on red alert, your heart has nearly punched its way out of your chest, and your adrenals are spent. But, although severe, it’s short-lived. Once you are seated in the aircraft, the relaxation that comes over you allows you to recover quickly. Ultimately it was your stress response that got you on the plane and, as unpleasant as it was, it might well have put you in a better and healthier position than facing the consequences of missing your flight. In evolutionary terms, you’ve successfully escaped a sabre-tooth tiger and that’s why the ‘flight-or-fight’ response remains with us today.

 

The stress response

Psychologists have come to define the stress response as the biological and psychological response to a threat that we don’t feel we have the resources to cope with adequately. That of course relates specifically to negative stress. Multiple systems in the body come into play, from the endocrine (hormonal) system, the nervous system, the immune system and the digestive system.

When confronted with a threat or potential stressor, the first thing we do is evaluate it with our senses. Our ability to do this very quickly helps us to survive as a species. If we decide the threat is real, and that we need to act quickly to reduce its impact, we trigger a cascade of events affecting multiple systems in our body, including three key endocrine organs – the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in our brain, and the adrenal glands that sit atop our kidneys. This is known as the ‘HPA axis’ and is a key part of what is sometimes called the psychoneuroimmunological (PNI) or—wait for it— psychoendoneuroimmunological system, owing to the multiple systems affected. More recent work suggests the gut and the gonads are also involved in the stress response; as a result, some functional medicine practitioners find themselves referring to the system as the HPAGG axis.

The key ‘stress hormones’ released from our adrenal glands belong to a group of steroid hormones called the glucocorticoids, the most important actor of which is cortisol which is synthesized from cholesterol. Cortisol and the HPA axis operate a complicated negative feedback system to control the stress response with hormones like adrenaline, and also to bring it quickly back into balance once the stress or threat has subsided.

 

What happens if you over-stress your body?

Typical stress responses include elevated heart rate, rapid breathing, elevated blood sugar levels (caused by cortisol triggering glucose production in the liver), decreased digestive activity, loss of appetite and a suppressed immune system. It’s not hard to see how this system that was designed primarily to help us survive more severe and short-lived threats and stresses, starts to create havoc with our bodies in our modern world where chronic stress, even though less severe, is so common. If our bodies are not given the chance to get back to our unstressed balance point things often go awry.

Gaining weight, developing ‘cortisol tyres’ around the mid-section, suffering gastrointestinal problems or regular infections, a failing memory, and losing our capacity to tolerate ‘normal’ levels of stress, are all examples of symptoms of chronic, inadequately managed stress.

The good news is there’s lots we can do to transform negative stress into something more positive, as well as supporting the body nutritionally so it can cope better with stress. And that’s going to be the subject of the next three articles in this series.