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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Forgiveness by Dani DiPirro

I would call this more a collection of quotes and positive affirmations than a book.  It took me less than an hour to read, and in the end, I don’t feel like I came away with much more than a few new quotes I hadn’t heard before (all of which I found for free and favorited on BrainyQuote for future reference.) I wouldn’t say that I found this book helpful in learning how to forgive, although it did remind me of why it is important to forgive.  At the end of the book, there are some lists of ways to forgive in certain circumstances (at home, at work, in love, etc.) but they are very vague suggestions and don’t give any tips for how one would go about achieving this forgiveness.  Speaking from personal experience, when you have been hurt it is very hard to find a way to forgive even when you want to, especially if a violation of trust is involved.  I was hoping to experience a book about ways to achieve forgiveness in difficult circumstances.  Because all of the quotes can be found on the internet for free, and because most people who are picking up a book about forgiveness already want to forgive, I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy this book if they are looking for help to achieve that goal.  However, if you are looking for encouragement along the journey of forgiveness you have already started, you will definitely find it here, even if you can find it for free elsewhere.

I received a copy of this book for free to read and review through Netgalley