When getting closer to your phone actually helps you disconnect. Pennie Varvarides tests out the new meditation app from Buddhify
We’re all addicted to our phones these days, you can’t walk down the street without seeing a sea of city dwellers staring down at their device as they expertly side-step the obstacles around them without ever looking up. It’s a skill really, our ability to be in two places at once: out here and in there.
There have been countless studies on how our addictions to our mobile phones are linked with our mental health, such as this 2014 study from a university in Iran which looked at the relationship between mental health and a selection of mobile phone behaviours including: dependant, addictive and involuntary.
(I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who’ll open Instagram five minutes after looking at it to check if anyone else has liked my new fabulous post.)
The study found that as addictive behaviours towards mobile phones became less, their mental health also improved.
And in a world of social media, trolls and fake news – and heck all the terrible real news too, it’s unsurprising that our constant need to check our phones will lead to some negative impacts on our mental wellbeing.
But what about the positive impacts that are available? We’re always talking about all the bad, which is there and it’s valid, but for people who may not be able to easily get out and about, mobile phones can actually be a lifeline.
When mobile apps can help your mental wellbeing
As someone who definitely spends too much time on my phone, I was intrigued when Buddhify got in touch to offer me a chance to review their new meditation app. The idea of using my phone to bring me back to myself was an interesting one. A few years back I was in a good habit of meditating and would do it most days; I even went to a couple of meditation retreats, including Vipassana – a 10 day silent retreat that completely tore me to pieces before making me whole again.
But when you’re a self-employed empire-builder things can sometimes get lost and find themselves moved further and further down that to-do list before completely falling off.
Guided meditation is always a great entry-way into meditation. It’s particularly helpful for beginners – or people who’ve just not done it for ages, or people who generally struggle to calm their minds – so having a pocket-sized guide who offers over 80 different meditations is pretty fab.
Pros and cons of Buddhify
The Buddhify app is a cheap resource that is available on iPhones and Android devices, with a user-friendly interface and plenty of meditations to choose from.
The meditation wheel is set up with options to suit whatever you’re doing, whether you’re just waking up, going to sleep or anything in between. If you’re doing the going to sleep one, and you’re in a relationship with someone who hates meditation, you should probably get some headphones!
The meditations range from four to 30 minutes, so you can pick one depending on how much time you have. It introduces users to meditation techniques and all the meditations require active listening techniques. You’ll be listening to a voice guide you through, so you need to be paying attention (and not just falling asleep).
You don’t need any previous meditation experience to get something out of using this app and you’re encouraged to try meditation without the guided voice, with the option of using a timer. This helps you get used to meditating solo, so maybe after a while you won’t need the app anymore.
As someone who used to meditate regularly, I can attest to the benefits of regular meditation on my mental wellbeing as well as my productiveness.
So far I’ve not managed to get back into the habit of it. I’ve used the app a few times and enjoyed the meditations when I did them, but I’m still always full of that I’m too busy for any of the things feeling and despite knowing that it’s good for me, I’m yet to return to a meditating rhythm. I’ll keep working on that.
I think meditating is a wonderful thing that we can do more of. The Buddhify app has helped me remember that I used to love it and would like to do more of it, but has thus far not totally got me.
The app is cheap, user-friendly and gives you guided meditation on demand, with tonnes of options to choose from.
If you’re looking for help getting into meditation, I think this app could be very useful. Having that guidance makes it a lot easier, and once you know the methods and you’re into the habit, you can continue on by yourself.
If you already meditate solo regularly, I’m not sure how much you’ll get out of the app. But if you’re a regular guided-meditator looking for some different guides, then this could be great for you.
I really like the idea of using a device that we’re all so attached to anyway to help us relax and disconnect from the buzz for a while. I think using something that is never out of arm’s length to get people to meditate is a genius idea and there are obviously tonnes of meditation apps out there to choose from. But of all the ones I’ve tried, this one has the most options to choose from and the least annoying voice, so that’s definitely a plus.
You can find out more about Buddhify at buddhify.com