Finding Calm

I recently started using the Calm app.  I never really intended to do a review on it, but in just a few days it has made enough of an impact on my life that I decided to share my experience.

Calm is a free app designed to help you begin a mindfulness meditation practice.  I have tried many times in my life to “meditate” using many different approaches but never felt like it was working.  My mind still felt cluttered, and I didn’t feel any of the relaxation or anxiety reduction that everyone was talking about. This time, using the Calm app has been very different.

I started as a subscriber to their Instagram page. I loved the beautiful images and often drew inspiration from the quotations.  I always just ignored the app, but one day I decided to try it out just for something to do.   So far, I have only used the free portions. Although there are many other options available with a subscription, I find the free content to be valuable.

Here’s what I like best:

  • Only takes a few minutes a day
  • Beautifully animated images of nature scenes with your choice of many different nature, calming, or white noise sounds playing in the background (can be played in app only or outside of the app depending on your settings)
  • Helpful guided meditations that teach you how to have an effective mindfulness practice
  • A selection of guided and unguided meditation sessions
  • A breath timer that allows you to focus on breathing and relaxation
  • Stories that engage your mind and then slowly taper off to help your mind transition from the bustle of your day into deep and relaxed sleep (just like when you were a kid!)
  • A calendar to help you track your practice (number of consecutive days, number of sessions, total time spent meditating)
  • An option to leave feedback after every guided session

If you’re like me, and always wanted to try meditating but never found a way to actually achieve it, I highly recommend this app. In just a few days I am beginning to notice when my mind wanders, and am discovering things about myself by noting where it wanders to. I love how the guided meditations encourage you to notice these wandering thoughts, and not be frustrated or judge yourself about it but just come back to the moment. I’m excited to see what changes in my practice and in my life after more time spent cultivating mindfulness and meditation.

 

 

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Love Me Don’t Leave Me by Michelle Skeen, PsyD

51JqLOofH8L._AC_US240_FMwebp_QL65_If you’ve ever struggled with building strong and healthy relationships despite fears, anxieties and road blocks from your past, you must read Love Me Don’t Leave Me. The main focus of this book is for people with fear of abandonment, but it also goes in depth with other common anxieties that hinder relationships. I couldn’t turn the pages of this book fast enough. Author Michelle Skeen, PsyD writes in a voice that at once makes you feel comfortable and understood . She introduces the reader to her content in a way that is never boring or judgmental. In this book Skeen explores the idea of core beliefs: how and when they are formed, emotions and reactions they cause, and the affects they have on relationships. She then guides the reader through ways to recognize when you are reacting to a core belief, how to cope with the emotions and thoughts that result from your core beliefs, the consequences of unhelpful reactions based on core beliefs, and then introduces practical and attainable strategies for changing those actions.  What I love about this book is the depth of understanding I walked away with, and the knowledge that everyone can experience relief from the anxieties and fears and that relationships don’t have to be sabotaged because of them. Those of you who have read this book, what did you think?