The upcoming election, the Zika virus, heart-wrenching season finales. Summer is supposed to be a carefree time filled with fun and trips to the beach, but with so much going on in the world, you might be finding it hard to relax.
Even though most of modern day stress is psychological, it affects your body physically. Short-term stress can actually be good for you. You’ve probably heard about your body’s fight-or-flight response to immediate stress, which is controlled by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus.
What happens is that when the hypothalamus feels threatened, it releases adrenaline and cortisol. Everything is supposed to go back to normal when the perceived threat is gone, but if those
Your body is just not made to be in a state of stress for a long period of time. So a reaction that is good for you in the short term will actually give you digestive problems, heart problems, joint pain, headaches, and a slew of other problems in the long term.
Keeping stress at bay is harder now more than ever. You can go for a hike or go on a retreat and come back feeling refreshed. But what is waiting for you is a constant onslaught of bad news via social media and TV. And not everyone has the luxury of going off the grid, making this type of digital stress almost impossible to escape.
You’re always on your phone, so you might as well use it to unwind and have the easygoing summer you deserve. Our Impact Health team personally uses the following apps to help us fill some relaxation into our day:
Meditation can seem intimidating because it’s easy to get caught up in whether you’re doing it right or not (Protip: the best meditation is the one you actually do). It’s funny how a practice that’s supposed to help you feel relaxed can actually cause you anxiety.
Breathe makes meditation as easy as possible with free guided meditations that are tailored to your emotions.
You can also choose from a list of quick meditations that are centered around themes like Change, Gratitude, Mindfulness, etc. It also tracks your progress with cute stickers every time you use the app, with special encouragement for waking up early or meditating days in a row.
If your gym bag is always packed with yoga gear, but never manages to leave your car, then you might want to try this app. Down Dog app makes it possible to actually fit yoga into your day.
You just choose your level (beginner or intermediate), the pace, playlist, and length (15 min to 70 min) and they guide you through the movements. It’s that simple.
Rainy Mood + Spotify/iTunes/Tidal
For $3.99, Rainy Mood allows you to listen to the calming sounds of rain, thunder, and birds. Play it simultaneously with your music player and you’ll get a double dose of relaxing sounds.
Described as “a gym membership for the mind”, Headspace is another app that makes meditation easy. If you like structure and want to make meditation a habit, then you’ll probably like their Take 10 program that pushes you to meditate for 10 min for 10 days.
The Take 10 Program is free, but you’ll need a paid subscription to get more content.
A subscription gives you access to their many meditations that are assorted via categories like Sleep, Stress, and Focus. They also have one-off meditations that you can do on-the-go or when you only have five minutes to devote to some wellness.
Good health is the key to a happy life (and a happy summer). You just can’t function right if you’re stressed all the time. In an ideal world, we would all be able to disconnect more often than not, but the reality is that we need our phone to work, socialize, and catch up on the things that matter, like cat memes.
So go ahead, use your phone. And while you’re at it, fit some serenity into your day with these apps. Your mind and body will thank you.