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Here and now

Six apps to cut life’s distractions and help you get more mindful.

You rely on your smartphone for just about everything. But if your apps are limited to games and social media, you’re missing out on a lot of apps well worth trying. There are many apps that can help you quiet your mind. Being more in tune with the here and now helps you pay better attention to things in your life that really need your focus. Being more mindful also helps you overcome small daily obstacles.

Curious? The following apps are a good place to start.

Day One (dayoneapp.com)
Journaling is one of the best ways to clear your head and keep stress in check. You don’t need pen and paper, so you can write everywhere and at every moment. Plus, you can add things like photos, current location and weather data into your entries. Need a reminder to journal? Day One can give you a nudge.

Flipd (flipdapp.co)
If you’re constantly being distracted by games, social media and other apps on your phone, you’ll want to download Flipd. The app helps you disconnect by locking your screen for a set amount of time – it will hide social media apps and games – and it can remind you to stay on task. Bonus: You can track the time you’ve saved.

Headspace (headspace.com)
This app is great for when you are new to meditation or if you are curious about it. You’ll be led through daily meditations in as little as 10 minutes. Start with the free Take 10 program, where you do a 10-day guided meditation, 10 minutes at a time; once you’ve completed it, you can subscribe, unlock more features and options. You can even download sessions and use the app offline. There is also a Headspace for Kids. It has options for three different age categories: 5 and under, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12.

Stop, Breathe and Think (stopbreathethink.org)
This app literally asks you to take mindfulness breaks during the day. First, it prompts you to stop what you’re doing and check in with yourself about how you’re feeling; then, based on your answer, you’ll be led to appropriate (simple!) breathing and meditation exercises. Total time investment: Five minutes.

White Noise (tmsoft.com)
Staying on task in a busy day can be difficult. For some, though, white noise can block out background noise and improve focus. Some even use white noise to meditate or sleep better. Choose from dozens of sounds – like pouring rain or waves on a beach – or create your own. You can set the noise for a certain amount of time and even use it as an alarm.

Yoga Wake Up (yogawakeup.com)
As the name implies, Yoga Wake Up aims to help you start the morning off being mindful. The app replaces annoying alarm clocks by waking you up with short breathing exercises, basic yoga poses or guided meditation, all of which you can do straight out of bed.

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