The fast-paced schedule of classes, friends, meals and sports in college can become overwhelming. This is especially true if, like me, you spent the last weeks before starting your freshman year as a couch potato. Suddenly, you go from lazing around and sleeping in, straight to meeting hundreds of new people and running around to make sure you get to your orientation activities. Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, Apple has a solution. Here are five of the best smartphone apps to keep you grounded and centered during such a hectic time.
Chill is an app that gives you a daily quote from any famous thinker or artist. It is the only mindfulness app on this list that gives you reminders randomly throughout the day. You can choose how many reminders you want, and sometime during your day, a notification will pop up on your screen saying something like “Bring your attention back to your body” or “Are you rushing? Is it out of habit?” If you access the app when the reminder comes up on your phone, the screen will give you advice on how to solve the issue that it is referring to. The more that you pay attention to these reminders, the more you will become constantly aware of how you are feeling and acting.
Pause is a game that is meant to calm the mind down if anxious or stressed. You move around a colored circle on your screen and it slowly grows in size. The trick is, if you move too fast, the game ends. You have to be patient, which ultimately makes your mind calm down and stop obsessing over hypothetical situations or thoughts. This is a good game to play if you just had a fight and you want to calm down and think more rationally about the problem at hand.
Calm is an app that provides you with soothing sounds and environmental images. This app can be used in the background while meditating or trying to sleep. Sounds such as rain, fireplace, lake or white noise are available. The images can bring you to a happier place if you are stuck in a dark dorm room on a stormy day.
4. Relax Melodies
This app allows you to combine your favorite sounds from its pre-selected recordings and make your own, soothing melody. These sounds could help you while exercising, trying to fall asleep or even studying. You can make different mixes for different occasions and save them to the app for future use.
Meditating is a process that can actually help you change your mindset, clear your mind or center you. This guided meditation app helps you to reach your fullest potential as a student, friend and human being. Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Go to a grassy area on campus (or off campus), plug your earbuds in and go to the Headspace app for a ten-minute session. It will definitely pay off.
6. Yoga Studio
Yoga, an exercise that is meant to bring your attention back to your center and your breath, is an extremely healthy way to stay mindful and present for the rest of the day. Whether you are trying to wake your body up or need to pencil in a quick session between classes, Yoga Studio supplies you with poses, tutorials and classes for all levels. If you've found your favorite poses, you can create a custom class for any length. Practicing yoga, even for five minutes a day, will help you to maintain your center and increase your flexibility and balance.
Lumosity is an app that helps you pinpoint your mental strengths and weaknesses in areas such as memory, attention, problem-solving, flexibility and speed. The memory games, for example, in only a minute per day, can increase the duration of your memory in other aspects of life. Strengthening your mind with brain games is proven to have affected other areas of life. Although this app is not the first one that comes to mind when you think of "mindfulness," it does show you what you might need to work on.
College, as transformative as it can be, can sometimes be overwhelming. These smartphone apps will allow you to experience everything you want while remaining present and content. The transition from couch potato to successful college student may seem daunting. However, being mindful and being able to assess your emotional state will make it a lot easier to thrive in such a new environment.
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