I've never felt so zen.

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Full disclosure: Lately I’ve been feeling more anxious than ever. Maybe it’s social media, the constant news cycle, work emails readily available on my phone, or all of the above—but whatever it is, it’s making it more difficult for me to  stop the constant stream of worried thoughts. While taking more alone time for myself (remote beach vacation, please) would be an obvious and effective antidote, I don’t have the luxury or cash to simply disappear in the name of self-care. So last year, I decided to try incorporating meditation into my morning routine. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines meditation as a “mental exercise (such as concentrating on one's breathing or repeating a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.” I define meditation as hard AF. If you do, too, allow me to introduce the MyLife app. 

Thanks to its recent rise in popularity, meditation is no longer just a practice for life gurus and hardcore yogis—but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. When I started my meditation journey a year ago, focusing on my breath, attempting to clear my mind, and sitting still were concepts that were only easy in theory but significantly tougher in practice. I found it so difficult, in fact, that I had given up on trying to meditate until I found the MyLife app.

MyLife aims to make meditation a more simple and accessible practice for all by offering its listeners guided exercises based on their current mood. While other guided meditation apps I’ve tried have also offered similar options, nothing has felt as personal or tailored to my emotions  as the exercises on this app do. 

On my first day, I opened the app and was prompted to check in with myself, which meant taking 10 seconds to simply see how I felt. From there, I could scale my current mental and physical state on a scale of “rough” to “great." Most days I found I was somewhere in the middle with a “meh” or a “good." I could then log some emotions based on my mental state. As a writer, I was pretty surprised that I didn’t even know the words to categorize exactly how I was feeling—until I read through the app’s helpful list of adjectives, like distracted, restless, and indifferent. Once I chose up to five emotions, my results were calculated and I was offered a handful of meditation exercises that would help me feel more at ease. Most sessions even offered an option to select how long you’d like the practice to last and if you’d prefer to be guided by a male or female voice. 

Stop, Breathe & Think Guided Meditations & Mindfulness App
Credit: Stop Breathe & Think

To buy: MyLife, from $5 a month; my.life

Previously, meditation felt like something I could only handle when I was in a positive state of mind. Even with the guided tools I was using, I found myself easily distracted and unwilling to “be blissfully calm” on days I most definitely wasn’t calm. But with MyLife, when I was feeling restless, my mindful exercise for that day would be personalized to my restlessness—actually involving physical movement, like squeezing certain muscles in my body, instead of requiring me to sit still. On days I was happy, I might get a meditation practice that prompted me to scan my body and imagine my joy filling the world. If I was angry, the practice might be tailored to “the commonality of suffering,” giving me more space for empathy and understanding. 

Along with its helpful check-ins, the app allows you to explore different exercises based on your needs—whether it’s sleeping well, managing ADHD, or simply just getting started. There’s also exercise options catered to pregnant women, kids, teachers, and teens. As someone who’s a bit competitive, I enjoyed tracking my progress with the app and monitoring my meditation streak, my top emotions, and my total meditation time, too. (And, full disclosure, I didn't even realize that the company I work for now owns the Stop, Breathe & Think app; I promise this is not a promo post. The app has not only helped me learn to meditate, but has also helped me enjoy it.)

If you’ve been thinking about trying meditation but weren’t sure how or where to get started, download the MyLife app for a personalized approach that will give you a bit more peace and clarity in your daily life.

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