Appy Friday: Are Meditation Apps A Help or Hinderance?

The Chicago Tribune recently featured an article titled Think on this: Meditation apps are not good enough. Now investors of the popular Headspace app which just secured a $30 million round of funding, might disagree. However, the author certainly articulates some important insights. In the article, Jon Lieff, a psychiatrist and a specialist in the interface of psychiatry, neurology and medicine points out:

“This is a wired generation,” he said. “If they can wire themselves to un-wire, then I guess that’s good. It can get you started, but you can’t just depend upon it because otherwise you’re missing the key ingredient of doing it yourself.”

I agree that meditation apps are a great way to provide some accountability and guidance as we are either getting started or looking for a tool to support us in a continued practice. In fact, you can check out my Appy Friday reviews here. However, like with anything, moderation is key.

The number one ingredient in any meditation practice is having the willingness to do it. So regardless of how you arrived at exploring the practice of meditation whether via app or something else, the good news is that you actually have a practice. If you feel you might be relying too much on an app and are ready to experience meditating without, here are a few tips to ease you into it.

1. Go without it for the weekend: Use the app during the weekday, and go without it during the weekend when you have some more flexibility with your schedule.

2. Add two a days: Use the app at a regular time each morning (or whenever your most effective time is), and then introduce a second shorter meditation without the app during the day at lunch, during happy hour (in lieu of the afternoon coffee) or before you got to sleep.

3. Guide yourself: If you are using an app that provides guided meditations, explore trying without the guidance and using just the time feature or use your alarm on your phone.

A meditation practice is called a practice for a reason. It requires showing up EVERY DAY and tapping into whatever tools we need to feel effective. The benefits of being more present, focused and responsive in a meaningful way will continue to be revealed in ways we could never imagine. So whether it is an app, an article, a class, or a teacher, all of these are tools to be seen as support which ultimately will provide the path to cultivating a sustainable practice that fits your lifestyle. Keep up the great work!

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