Take Two for September 4, 2013

App Chat: Tools to help you chill out when you're stressed

The just-launched Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone is the latest competition for Apple's iPhone 5.

Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images

The just-launched Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone is the latest competition for Apple's iPhone 5.

One thing you might not have done over Labor Day weekend is de-stress. 

Even though most people know meditating is healthy, it can be difficult to find the motivation to just sit there and "ommmm."

In this week's App Chat we're going to work on all of that, because we're going to be talking about meditation apps. Jacqui Cheng, editor at large for Ars Technica, joins the show  to explain how we can use our usually distracting electronic devices to learn to meditate. 

Headspace
The first 10 guided meditations are free on this app,with videos and audio that walks you through it. Then there are nine more that you can purchase from within the app for specific uses. They offer different kinds of meditations, some for sleep, some for stress, eating, that kind of stuff. You can see how far you've gotten and then how much left you have to go in each series.

Lift
This one if free, but it's more of a general fitness app. Unlike a lot of other fitness apps, it incorporates a lot of other things: yoga, stretching, meditation, so it might be good for someone who does a lot of different activities and wants to consolidate in one single app and not use a lot of different things. There are channels on the app called "habits," so when you subscribe to these habits, you're basically adding yourself to a group. For example, if you added yourself to mindfulness meditation, there is a community of people who are doing that, and you see everyone's posts about it whenever they do it. You can add friends if you want to, so even if you don't like interfacing with strangers, you can add your friends and then your friends can comment on your daily practice.

Equanimity
This one is $4.99, but if you're really into meditation, this is like the advanced version if you can get into it. It allows you to take notes about your meditation practice then you can export those notes if you want to. You can email them to yourself or export them as a spreadsheet. The app also tells you how many days its been since your last meditation. You can add practices if you did them without the app, like f you went on a meditation retreat, you can still enter them in.


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