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There are a lot of things that can help you as you try to deal with the stress of enduring abuse, or the after-effects that can come once you escape it. One of those self-care strategies you might want to consider is meditation.
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If, when you hear that word, you picture a man in a robe sitting cross-legged atop a mountain with his eyes closed, then you definitely need to keep reading. Meditation went mainstream quite some time ago—from CEOs using the practice to increase productivity among their staff to the military implementing meditation before deployment to help prepare troops for high-stress combat situations, to mamas-to-be using meditation to get through childbirth without the use of drugs—meditation has countless uses in practical life.
For survivors of abuse, meditation can have myriad benefits—10 are listed here—including promoting inner calm, reducing anxiety symptoms and increasing your ability to concentrate.
While first-time meditators may find taking a class helpful as an introduction, not everyone has the time or that. Even 5-10 minutes a day of meditating can make a tangible difference in your mental state, say experts. That’s where the beauty of apps come in. You can meditate no matter where you are—your home, office, car (not while driving!), while sitting in a waiting room, even in the shower while you wait for your conditioner to soak in.
Protip: Can’t quiet your racing thoughts? Keep this in mind—the point of meditating is not to silence your mind completely, but rather to let thoughts float right on by, like cars passing on the road, and instead, focus on your breath.
Apps to Try
Here are our top 6 apps that you can use just about anywhere to find your Zen.
- 10% Happier. This is not your typical approach to meditation. It’s created from ABC News anchor Dan Harris’ book of the same name (which was followed by his second book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics), and assembles some of the top experts in meditation from around the world. The included guided meditations have names like “Be Nice to Yourself” and “Extreme Laziness.” There’s a little something for everyone.
- Headspace: Meditation. One of the most popular meditation apps out there, and for good reason. Simple to follow, well-designed, entertaining animations to start each guided meditation, and a man with a soothing British accent that will lull you into a place of serenity.
- Buddhify: Mindful Meditation. A collection of more than 200 guided meditations categorized by whatever you may be doing at that moment, like traveling, taking a work break or trying to get to sleep. You can even choose the voice and style of teacher that best works for you.
- Omvena – Meditation for All. Think of this as a collective group of the best meditation teachers and accompanying meditations assembled all in one place, waiting for you to pick one.
- Calm. Named the 2017 App of the Year by the App Store, Calm’s guided meditations and beautiful nature graphics can do just what the name implies. Cool features include sleep stories—bedtime stories for adults that will help you more easily drift off to sleep.
- Happify: for Stress & Worry. In addition to guided meditations, this app uses fun little games and activities to help lift your mood and reduce anxiety. Through a series of brief questions, the app will track your happiness level, allowing you to gain insight over time as to how your overall mental state is doing.
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