I’ve chosen to use it over other apps recently because of the variety of exercises it offers.
We all get stressed. Some people significantly more than others. I am one of those people who can go from serene to shall we say a little strained in a matter of seconds. I place unrealistic expectations on myself and when things don’t go to plan, which inevitably is most of the time, I let it bother me. I have had to learn pretty quickly since becoming a mum that life does not always ever go to plan. Only this morning, I turned my back on Harry for ten seconds to lock the front door when he launched himself head first into a puddle. Full change of clothes required for both of us. If that had happened a couple of years ago, I would have been able to feel my blood pressure rising. Today I just laughed (and took a quick picture for Instagram of course). It’s not that I don’t find things stressful anymore; it’s just that I have started to learn how to cope with stress better. One of the things I started doing whilst I was pregnant to try and get on top of some of the anxiety I was feeling was to start practicing mindfulness and meditation. Whilst I was dismissive to start with, I found the process really beneficial and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What is mindfulness?
The NHS describes mindfulness as the practice of paying more attention to what is happening in the present moment. It means being conscious of your own thoughts and feeling and being more aware of the world around you. It can be used as a therapy to reduce stress and anxiety, to improve mental well-being. Click here if you would to find out more.
In a mood?
How often do you actually stop to think about your mood and the things that are affecting it? Like most people do you just rush from one thing to the next every day? One of the features that I found most useful with the Thrive app was the mood assessment tool. Regularly taking time to identify my feelings and what was causing me to feel that way has been really powerful. Instead of letting negative emotions take over, I was able to identify a cause and in most cases do something about it.
The whole app is themed around an island. The sounds of gently lapping water, and the odd seagull help to create a sensation of calm. The app then offers you daily activities based on your mood. There are breathing techniques, meditation, deep muscle relaxation and self-suggestion to try. The app talks you through deep breathing techniques for relaxation and you can select a time limit, so you can take part in an exercise with as little as three minutes to spare.
Within the meditation tab is a mindful body scan. This is a practice that I have tried before and find it is a very effective way to stop my mind wandering. Once you’ve been guided through the technique a couple of times, this is something you can do anywhere at any time. I have be honest deep muscle relaxation isn’t really my thing, I just don’t like the sensation, but it was great to try something new and well worth giving a go if you carry tension physically.
Did I find it useful?
I have a couple of meditation and mindfulness apps on my phone and I have to say I have really enjoyed using the Thrive app this month. I’ve chosen to use it over other apps recently because of the variety of exercises it offers. I have found myself making time for it and looking forward to trying new techniques. When I have been particularly distracted I have used the Zen Garden feature and just let myself zone out for ten minutes. If you are new to mindfulness and meditation this is great app to get started with, it is easy to use and will provide you with a plethora of practices that you can use to try to bring some calm to the more trying moments of being a mum!