Technology can certainly draw people into unhealthy habits, whether that’s a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, or lack of in-person interaction. But technology, when used appropriately, can also be used to help us be happier and healthier in our everyday life.
Here are just a few apps to give a boost to your wellbeing on a regular basis.
If you struggle to maintain a regular meditation habit (or have always wanted to try meditation but couldn’t figure out how to get started), Headspace is a great place to begin. It provides guided meditations to help you become more mindful in your daily life. Once you go through the basics, you can choose guided meditations that are focused on improving a particular area of your life, such as sleep, stress, or pain.
It also lets you choose a length of time for your meditation sessions as well as a time of day to be reminded for your daily meditation. And it tracks how regular you are with your new habit. The introductory meditations are completely free, so there’s no reason not to give it a try.
Are you addicted to your phone? Having trouble focusing on work when Twitter is calling your name? Forest is (a bit ironically) a smartphone app that can help you break the cycle. When you want to stay off your phone for a while, you open up the Forest app and plant a tree. If you don’t use any other apps for half an hour, the tree will grow to its full size. If you start messing around with your phone, the tree will die.
Over time, you can grow an entire forest. And with that, you can earn virtual coins that can be redeemed for planting an actual tree in an area that needs them. So not only are you doing your brain a favor, you’re helping make the world a little greener as well.
#3. Plant Nanny
Plant Nanny is an adorable little app for reminding you to make hydration a regular habit. Unlike other apps that focus on the amount of water you drink (which doesn’t always amount to improved health or hydration), Plant Nanny instead focuses on drinking water regularly throughout the day.
Your intake will naturally vary depending on a number of factors, including temperature, your size, and the amount of movement you do throughout the day but Plant Nanny ensures that you make drinking water a habit, keeping your adopted app-plants happy and healthy as well.
#4. Sleep Time
A good night’s sleep is critical for health and wellbeing, but many of us don’t have a method for accurately tracking sleep at night. Sleep Time is an app that tracks your sleep throughout the night, learns your patterns, and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase, leaving you feeling rested and refreshed first thing in the morning.
It will generate reports for your own use that can also be helpful in sharing with your physician if you suspect you might have apnea or another kind of sleep disorder. And if you have trouble falling asleep, it even offers a variety of soothing soundscapes to help you doze off.
A blend of several apps we’ve mentioned, Calm is all about meditation, breathing, sleep and relaxation. From sharing serene nature scenes to teaching breathing exercises, each program is carefully selected to help you feel more refreshed and less stressed. There’s a reason the app was voted App of the Year by Apple and currently sits at #4 in iTunes’ Health & Fitness apps section. Calm has a limited free version, but offers many more programs in its premium versions.
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