The (Logical) Paradox of Mindfulness Apps: Tackling Digital Overstimulation With… More Stimulation?

There really is an app for everything – even cultivating happiness. There is a rather glaring irony in the growing trend of using mindfulness apps. Digital overstimulation and the overwhelming feelings this can cause is often a large part of why people turn to mindfulness in the first place. But although it is a paradox, it is a logical one.

There really is an app for everything

The paradox

Digital technology is a paradox in itself. It connects us to people, opportunities and countless avenues of knowledge; yet it also disconnects us from the ‘real world’ and can make us desperately lonely. It’s all about how you use it. A mindfulness app could end up being yet another source of stress-inducing notifications and stimulation which anchor to your phone. However, if that’s the case, you’re doing it all wrong.

If you view your daily meditations as duties which have to be completed and you are trying to squeeze mindfulness into an already overloaded schedule, it is bound to overwhelm you. But if you utilise an app to support a genuine attempt to weave mindfulness and meditation into not only your schedule but also your mentality, it is perfect. The app’s individualised resources and reminders will nourish and motivate you, gently prompting you to meditate and helping you to develop a more mindful way of thinking.

And mindfulness apps are not all about making money, either. Investors in the mindfulness sector typically aren’t looking only for financial returns. Many are “double bottom line” investors, who look to invest in companies which provide some social benefit in addition to monetary profit.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about peace and presence

Mindfulness is not just about meditating (although this is an important tool!). Mindfulness is best-described as a way of thinking, doing and communicating – which just about sums up your entire approach to life. It is about taking things as they come without judgment or worry, because you are able to take a step back. It us about being a fair and trustworthy witness to the thoughts and emotions incessantly circling your brain, rather than the judge, jury or prosecutor. It is about finding peace and calm, not because everything is going swimmingly in your life but simply because you are accepting.

Meditation places you firmly in the present moment, so it is a crucial aid to the process of developing a freer, calmer, more accepting mind. But there are other ways to find and nourish this sense of awareness which lies within all of us, such as reading books about mindfulness, discussions and journalling.

What do mindfulness apps do?

Of course, an app is never going to completely revolutionise your way of thinking, doing and communicating, but it can certainly be a useful aid. Research has shown that these apps actually do serve to improve your attention span, stress levels and social relationships.

Typically, they take you through guided meditations and breathing exercises and also provide resources such as calming music, soundscapes and sleep stories.

Why should I get an app for mindfulness?

There’s no reason not to at least give one a go – they tend to provide a free trial so you can give it a go and decide whether it suits you and your schedule. Especially if you have never tried any mindfulness before, an app is a perfect way to get into it and develop habits, such as meditating or journalling. Ideally, after a while you won’t need the app anymore and meditation will be as natural a habit as cleaning your teeth.

Which mindfulness app should I get?

The million-dollar question. To decide, check out TechRound’s top five apps for mental health and wellbeing. The Mindfulness App was also named as one of TechRound’s startups of the week back in March.

Digital tech is a double-edged sword. It is addictive and overstimulating; but it can also be utilised to enrich you with knowledge, and provide opportunities and experiences. Don’t be a cynic about downloading an app for mindfulness; using tech to meditate might seem like just another money-making scam, but the apps do actually work.