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psychologist Sabina Read shares her top 4

Picking up your phone in the middle of a workday may not usually be conducive to productivity, but the case can definitely be made for a quick 10-minute guided meditation.

In the past few years, mindfulness and meditation have proven much more than a trend thanks to their ability to reduce stress or anxiety, help promote sleep and even boost focus.

SEEK’s resident psychologist Sabina Read is a big fan too.

“I think it’s an oversight if we think we can’t use technology to support our wellbeing, and why not use technology that makes these skills accessible, particularly in the workplace,” she tells news.com.au.

“A lot of them are free, but most have minimal costs, and they’re obvious and easy to follow.”

Although she believes there may be a few misconceptions and unrealistic expectations that need busting around these practices, Ms. Read says they act as a great “circuit breaker” during the workday.

“Some people may feel more agitated, angry or tired along the process, and they may find that their mind wanders and it’s difficult, challenging and sometimes uncomfortable,” she says.

“It doesn’t mean you’re not doing it right, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, it just means we’re human, and perhaps it’s a greater invitation for us to use them as a respite in our hurried day-to-day life.”

With so many options on the market, Ms. Read shares the top four tried and tested apps she regularly recommends to her clients.

SABINA’S GO-TO MEDITATION APPS

1. Headspace

Founded by a former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe, and advertising executive Richard Pierson, the mission behind Headspace was to demystify meditation and make it accessible.

It’s something they’ve definitely succeeded at, and it’s now one of the most well-known mindfulness apps on the market. Complete newbies can start with a free 10-day guided meditation course, while subscribers have access to specialized tracks for things like focused attention, creativity, reflection, and more advanced meditation guides.

Memberships are $19.99 monthly or $91.99 annually.

2. Calm

For an all-inclusive app that boasts meditation tracks and masterclasses, music, stretching sessions, sleep aids, and even nature scenes, Calm ticks all the boxes. There’s a category to help you get through whatever challenges you’re facing, so you can feel a little more prepared and composed to face your day. Their offering also includes curated playlists and sleep stories from A-list celebs (think: Harry Styles, Bindi Irwin, and Kate Winslet).

Subscriptions are based on a monthly cost of $23.49, $91.99 annually, or you can get a lifetime membership for $599.99.

3. Insight Timer

Insight Timer gives you access to over 80,000 free soundscapes, yoga videos, and guided meditations despite being completely free. There’s also a special section for parents filled with reflections, bedtime stories, and mindfulness courses created for all ages, from babies to teens.

If you want access to an additional 700 courses, including new weekly content, they offer a Member Plus feature for $88.99 a year.

4. Smiling Mind

Developed by psychologists and educators, Aussie not-for-profit Smiling Mind claims that 10 minutes every day is all you need to get the benefits of mindfulness. They have specialized programs for families, classrooms, workplaces, and youths, plus sessions developed in Indigenous Kriol, Ngaanyatjarra, and Pitjantjara languages.

Even better, the app is entirely free to use. However, you can donate to help Smiling Mind continue its work with schools and community organizations.

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