App Review: Stop, Breathe & Think

Feeling overwhelmed? You aren’t alone. The demands of work, life, and family add up quickly in today’s always-connected existence. While the challenges of technology are many (you won’t catch me bashing technology for long), there is a mobile app that can help you in the contexts of self-efficacy, one construct of social cognitive theory, and optimism, a component of planned happenstance.

Yscreen-shot-2016-06-21-at-12-14-33-pmou’ve probably heard about the power of meditation, not just as a strategy for relaxation, but also, as recently stated in The New York Times (NYT) “How to Meditate” WellGuide, to “increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness.” I struggled with the concept for years, with many failed attempts. But, last year I was assigned to write an article about stress management and productivity apps for college students when I stumbled on Stop, Breathe & Think. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

Get Set Up

Download the app on iOS, Android, or desktop, and set up an account. The app offers resources on learning to meditate, as well as a long list of guided meditations.

How Are You?

This is what the app moves you toward, guiding you to check in with yourself – mentally, physically, and emotionally. This reflective process only takes a minute or two to complete. Then choose from recommended guided meditations (pick a duration from 2 to 10 minutes) or set the self-meditation timer (from 1 to 60 minutes).

Stop Breathe Think

The system tracks your progress and even provides rewards in the form of stickers to encourage your personal practice. You can see how many times this week you’ve checked in and/or meditated, as well as a list of your “top 3” emotions for the past week, month, and “all time.” You can also choose to share your efforts via social media, or keep them all to yourself (which is my personal recommendation).

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Keep Practicing

Could an app like this improve your stress levels, or those of your students and clients? Set aside some time to practice (this is key!) and set a goal of a week, month, or more to establish a routine. You may find that “just a few minutes a day can make a big difference” (NYT).

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