Back to school is a season of new beginnings. In the spirit of new beginnings, I am a new EIU English graduate student and this is my first return to school as a student in over 10 years.
I am also a new opinion writer on the DEN staff and am delighted to find my place here among my fellow columnists.
I want to dedicate my first column to highlighting how essential it is for everyone to have a strategy for managing their mental health as the new academic year approaches, and to recommend checking out a mindfulness or meditation app if you haven’t tried it yet.
I’ve been using meditation apps since 2015 and was pleasantly surprised to find that the popular Headspace app offers a ten dollar student plan for an entire year. Note that you must send a copy of your registration to PAWS to qualify for the offer.
Besides Headspace, I’ve been using the Insight Timer app for several years because it’s free to use. But, when I started getting into meditation, I used Headspace and found it extremely helpful in establishing meditation as a daily habit.
It also features short, fun animations to help explain fundamental concepts. There are special targeted meditations for sleep, stress, anxiety, and burnout. These are common issues for many students, and I urge people to try a meditation app if they’re struggling with any of them.
I also subscribe to a third meditation app called Waking Up because I find the “Theory” and “Life” sections of the app useful for conversations on different mindfulness topics that provide guidance on how to apply the principles in real life.
The great thing about Waking Up is that if you can’t afford the cost of membership, you can email the developers to request a free membership for one year, no questions asked.
Particularly relevant now with the monetization of our attention via social media, it has become essential for people to take care of their minds. This is where I recommend to everyone, especially students considering the big discount, a meditation app like Headspace, Waking Up or Insight Timer.
I also agree that there are many other mindfulness apps out there, and there are also many ways to take care of your mind besides meditation. People should be encouraged to talk about mental health and have a strategy that works for them when life gets hectic.
For me and my relationships, a daily mindfulness practice has changed my life.
With these apps, when it comes to meditation, the entry bar is low and the benefits are plentiful.
So which is the best meditation app of the three that I use? Of course, this is the one you will use and come back to regularly.
Dan Hahn is a graduate student in English composition and rhetoric. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 217-581-2812