Sometimes, you may feel under pressure at your workplace. It may be due to tight working schedule or difficult job task. If you think there is no way to reduce your job stress and work stress solutions are “untouchable” because you are too busy and don’t have time to relief your stress, then you are wrong. In fact, your work stress solutions are literally very near you if you own a smartphone or tablet. The shocking truth about work stress solutions is mindfulness-based apps can help you reduce your job stress!
Mindfulness is about being aware of and recognizing what is happening within and around you in this present.
What is mindfulness? It is “a way of paying attention: on purpose, in the present moment and non‐judgementally to whatever arises in the field of your experience” or “a way of paying attention in the present moment, to yourself, others and the world around you” (1). In other words, mindfulness is about being aware of and recognizing what is happening both within you and around you at the moment, not the past nor the future, instead of being reactionary and dominated by mindless habits, patterns, and reactivity. It is a way to connect all positive, negative and neutral experiences such that our overall suffering is reduced and our sense of well-being increases (2). But, mindfulness is not mediation. Instead, it is much more than meditation. Because meditation is a practice that aids the development of mindfulness (3).
Mindfulness is a good way to reduce your stress, including your job stress.
There are lots of different types of research proving that mindfulness is an effective tool to deal with mental health problem including stress . Many researchers have reported that mindfulness can alleviate depression’s symptoms, anxiety, severe mental illness, and “improve the quality of life of people suffering from physical health conditions such as chronic pain” (3). Research has also identified that “mindfulness programs have been associated with reductions in stress levels and increased wellbeing in the workplace among doctors and office workers” (3). So, mindfulness is not a scam nor some kinds of religious fantasy. Instead, it is scientifically proven that it can fight your stress.
Mindfulness is achieved by regular and repeated practice.
You may be wondering how exactly mindfulness can relieve your stress or how to achieve mindfulness. Don’t worry! Here is an example: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program!
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is one of the famous mindfulness programs in the world. It was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is now Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, at the Center for Mindfulness of University of Massachusetts Medical School in the USA in 1979.
MBSR program is a structured 8 – 10 week, group program with around 10 to 40 participants (4). The participants may or may not have a similar background or mental health issue. There is a lesson which is last for 2.5 hours each week. Each course also has an additional all-day lesson on a weekend day. Each lesson consists of exercises and topics that are related to mindfulness. For example, the lessons include different forms of mindfulness meditation practice, mindful awareness during yoga postures, and mindfulness during stressful situations and social interactions. The participants are also required to complete daily 45-min homework assignments that are about meditation practice, mindful yoga and applying mindfulness to situations in everyday life. The reason for doing these assignments is that developing mindfulness needs regular and repeated practice.
Mindfulness-based apps can save you if you don’t have the luxury of time or money to join mindfulness program in person.
You may be eager to try mindfulness program such as MBSR program now. But then, you may realize that you don’t have the luxury of time or money to join the program in person. So what should you do now? Should you just give up and let your stress overcome you? Of course not! Here is a good news for you! You can use your smartphone or tablet to achieve mindfulness!
Because we all understand that not everyone can join mindfulness program or know how to achieve mindfulness, many app developers collaborate with mindfulness experts to develop different mindfulness-based apps that are about mindfulness. So, there are many related apps that can help you. You can visit Google Play or apple app store to see for yourself.
Headspace is one of the many apps that you should use.
You may be wondering, or being confused, which mindfulness-based app you should use. Because there are just too many of them. Don’t worry! Here are my two cents. You can consider using an app called Headspace that is available on both android and Apple iOS platform.
Headspace is a very popular mindfulness-based app around the world. In August 2014, Headspace had around 523,000 users in the UK and around 1.3 million users worldwide (5). Last time I checked, the review score of Headspace on Google Play is 4.4 out of 5.0 with 11,827 users giving 5.0 score.
“Andy Puddicombe (founder of Headspace) is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food”
The New York Times
Headspace delivers a course of guided mindfulness meditations with the help of audio and video.
What is Headspace about then? It delivers a course of guided mindfulness meditations with audio and video. These guided meditations are voiced by Andy Puddicombe, who is a founder of Headspace and a former Buddhist monk.
The whole app consists of around 365 different guided meditations and you are encouraged to complete a meditation each day. When you are using it for the first time, you have to go through 30-day foundation course first. The foundation course consists of three levels and each with 10 sessions. You will first start with ten daily meditations, each last for 10 minutes, to learn the basics. All you need to do is tapping the play button on a timeline that appears on the home screen and then follows the instructions.
Then, you will have to spend more time, from 10 minutes through 15 minutes to 20 minutes, on these daily meditations when you are progressing with this app. When you complete the whole foundation course, you are then allowed to access to advanced content related to health, relationships, performance and advanced version of Headspace. For example, you can access to a course which is about developing your awareness of stress and learning how to reframe your negative emotions.
When you complete the whole foundation course, you are then allowed to access to advanced content related to health, relationships, performance and advanced version of Headspace. For example, you can access to a course which is about developing your awareness of stress and learning how to reframe your negative emotions.
You don’t need to pay anything for signing up Headspace! The subscription fee is also cheap!
If you are still not sure about using Headspace or not, you can download and try it first! Because you don’t need to pay anything for signing up! You are free to access first 10 sessions of foundation course without paying money! So, you can just go ahead and try for yourself first. If you are happy with this app and decide to pay for the subscription, it will not cost you an arm and a leg! If you go for the yearly subscription, it is only US$7.99/ month!
Headspace is indeed a wonderful app that can reduce your stress! Why not using it?
1 Ward S. What is Mindfulness?. TraderMind: Get a Mindful Edge in the Markets. 2015:1-21.
2 Germer C. What is mindfulness. Insight Journal. 2004;22:24-9.
3 Mani, Madhavan et al. “Review and Evaluation of Mindfulness-Based iPhone Apps.” Ed. Gunther Eysenbach. JMIR mHealth and uHealth 3.3 (2015): e82.PMC. Web. 9 May 2016.
4 Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of psychosomatic research. 2004 Jul 31;57(1):35-43.
5 Laurie J, Blandford A. Making time for mindfulness. International journal of medical informatics. 2016 Mar 2.