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FEAR & MEDITATION APPS

SHOW NOTES

FEAR & MEDITATION APPS

Jessica Lynn Williams

I believe that fear gets way too much air play. So many people say, people don’t take action because they have too much fear or fear is holding people back and I think this is so common in our language, to the point where it’s almost comedic. It’s ridiculous, it’s like what are they fearful of? What are they scared of? We live in the modern world right now where there aren’t all these impulsive fears that are driven by a physical reality to be safe.

We aren’t being chased by animals that are trying to kill us, often. Most of the fears we actually have are negative contemplative thoughts that we’re re-running too often and we associating so much pain to that that now it becomes convenient. Oh it’s fear, as if fear is some big unknowable, scary awful thing, when mostly it’s not. Most fear is just bad management of our own mental faculties. It’s not an impulsive physical thing generating in our brain, telling us to fight or flee and everyone wants to use that as an excuse. —Brendon Burchard

  • This week, Melissa and Jess review meditation apps. Below is written reviews for all the apps. 

 

KARMIC

MELISSA |★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Aesthetically pleasing and fun to work with. Liked the quotes but it got boring after a while and I just wanted to get on with the meditation. Meditated for 10 minutes, not guided - just an “electric hum” which started to really grate on my nerves after a while. Found myself getting distracted as there’s nobody to talk you through it. You can choose the length of your meditation (up to 30 mins). The dial is a bit tricky, however, and I struggled to get it on exactly 10 mins (which stressed me right out with my OCD). There are some lovely ideas for kind actions to do during the day and the quotes were nice. May be better for more experiences meditators who are into the spiritual side of meditation, but might be a tough start for beginners. 

JESSICA | ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

When you open the app there is a clear set of instruction on what to do and how to use it. It’s incredibly aesthetically pleasing. I am more a fan of simplicity but I could see where this could fit into someone’s life. There is an option within the app to read quotes and good deeds. While I do appreciate what they’re trying to do here, I don’t think it’s an extremely cohesive way of prompting mindfulness. As for the meditation time itself it drove me crazy that I couldn’t set it at exactly 10 minutes! I know this shouldn’t be that big of a deal but fuck! In terms of the meditation exercise there is an ominous om that plays when you set the timer. I wouldn’t want to use this in every day life however I also would say that it would be perfect for someone who us using public transportation and wanted to meditate but didn’t want to experience all of the sounds public transit has to offer. You can hear an audible loop break in the soundtrack which is annoying. 


HEADSPACE

MELISSA ★★★★★★★★★★★★

The best meditation app I’ve used. If you are interested but worried that you won’t be able to do it, this is the one to go for. Step by step instructions to guide you through each moment. (Individual ones for the 10 days, with more gaps later on for you to put the tools you have been learning into practice). I found the app deals with mindfulness in a straightforward and easily digested way. There are also a few informative little cartoons to give you some insight into the effects of meditation, which I found to be very useful. 10/10 Free app for the first 10 days. 

JESSICA | ★★★★★★★★★☆

I do really enjoy using headspace. I've been through the app once and it's incredibly helpful. The voice isn't annoying. It's all extremely approachable. I like pretty much everything about it. Aesthetically as an artist I have qualms with the visualizations. It kind of reminds me of medication commercials where the cartoon is acting as a metaphor for the individual's problem. I appreciate the work that was put into the cartoon but personal preference says the content is good but the visuals aren't. I've done 1-10 because it's around $8-$12 bucks a month. Really for me that's kind of steep. I think for most people my age that's kind of steep for what it is. Overall a fantastic app. Probably the best out there. 


PIXEL THOUGHTS

MELISSA | ★★★★★★★★★★

This is the one thing I used daily. Anything I was stressed about, I would stop immediately and use this app. It helps me to focus on whats important and not see myself as the centre of the universe. It puts everything into perspective and encompasses everything I love about science and mindfulness in one little app. It truly worked for me. Watch your worries float away. 10/10

JESSICA | ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Pixel thoughts is fascinating. The concept is good. I suppose it's more of a tool than a meditation app, good for a quick 60 second bringing back down to reality. The aesthetic of it are calming and I enjoy the interactive nature of the app. I kind of wonder what it would be like if someone placed a thought in there which really mattered. It's difficult I think because the app puts emphasis on how minescual the individual is and how minescual the thought is- I just don't know if that could be applied to everyone's problems. Say I write something in there to the effect of "I fear death."  Part of me feels like if I tell this website how much I fear my mortality and it responds back with "that fear is too small to matter."-- I just don't know how comforting that is. As we discussed in prior episodes- the size of the universe is terrifying to me- and to have that concept... Ahem... magnified is a little scary. I appreciate what they're doing here and it would be good for people who write in smaller stressors- but I venture to believe that people want to feel like their thoughts and fear matter. Good concept. Weird choice of words.   


CALM

MELISSA | ★★★★★★★☆☆

Calm is a lovely little app. Aesthetically it’s a dream. The guided meditation voice was very peaceful and serene. I did, however, struggle to maintain concentration on the voice. I think that it works okay, but some of the other apps are better equipped to give you the tools to be an independent meditator, and although the nature scenes are lovely I think a walk outside, in nature, might be more beneficial.

JESSICA | ★★★★★★★★☆☆

I did like the calm app. I remember trying it before and not liking it as much for some reason but I did like it. I don't like it when any app or guided meditation talks about the wandering ,mind- because if my mind isn't wandering I don't feel particularly thrilled to hear about where it could go. The sights and sounds were all so calming, and to be honest kept bringing to mind leaving LA. We're planning on moving next year and I can't stop taking about the next place we're going to go. The app was good, I'll continue to use it throughout the week (unlike the other apps) mostly because I didn't find the other ones to be up to par, I miss nature and water, and I've already completed headspace. I do like the sights and sounds but it does remind me of when I had a parakeet and I would play the sounds of other birds for him to make him feel less lonely (he's since been brought to a Latina woman's home who had over 25 parakeets). The synthetic aspect of this is hard to get past. I feel like I'm trying to convince myself I'm in a forest. 


STOP, BREATHE, THINK

MELISSA | ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

This app is great for anyone who is interested in mindfulness, without the spiritual side of mediation. It offers a lot of information on the scientific aspects of mindfulness and how it affects the brain, although I think the information would have been more effective if it was more concise. The guided meditations are okay, I found myself concentrating more than daydreaming, I did however find the voice a little annoying. I know this might be a strange thing to nit pick, but when you are trying to remain peaceful it was hard to not be agitated. All in all I think the app was just ok.

 

JESSICA | ★★★★★★★★☆☆

In my opinion this app is very different than most meditation apps I’ve used in the past. I would recommend this app for beginners. They do a good job explaining the simplicity of meditation in the beginning if you read through all of the content on the app, and explain the scientific ways in which meditation is beneficial. I think this is rally important because while at yoga or during my own practice, I encourage myself and my teachers encourage me to recognize how I feel before and after meditation. While I always recognize I feel calm, relaxed, and better, there is a part of me that appreciates the scientific aspect of why I am feeling better. When you meditate using this app you can choose different emotional concepts to focus on such as compassion, change, gratitude, kindness, and equanimity. I do love this aspect of the app and will continue to explore it but the guided meditations had a lot  of content for my taste. For instance I did the compassion meditation and it talks about Doctors without Borders, an organization which goes to poor and starving countries for the purpose of making them well while making major sacrifices in regards to their personal health and financial gain. While I recognize this is a good thing to pay attention to, it prompted my mind to wander. That being said, I think the explanation and beginning of the app would be good for beginners, the guided meditation portion might be better suited for someone who has been meditating for a while. I’ll continue to use it for sure, just to see how my practice will change and if I might be able to get to a point where the guided meditation is less distracting.

I just did the be present meditation in this app- all it was was birds and streams. Not really a guided meditation. Feels like cheating. And just trying to add options and audio for the sake of more options. Less well curated than I thought. 

Gratitude meditation- I like this app a little less each time I use it. They say "you may not feel gratitude right now" but I did! And they made me think about a lack of gratitude.