Two months ago HCA Healthcare called stress the “health epidemic of the 21st century” and frankly we’re not surprised. Last year 6,700 Americans nationwide between the ages of 18 and 64 were surveyed about how stressful their lives were, and health experts were genuinely surprised at the resulting harm brought about by chronic stress and the general apathy towards doing anything to curb it.
Whether you’re a college student up to your eyeballs in exams, a millennial managing multiple jobs, a homeowner struggling to balance kids on one hand and a checkbook on the other, or a company manager trying to corral employees, it’s the same old cyclical issue: Your hectic life makes you stressed, and when you approach life from a stressed mental state everything gets harder.
We’re not going to preach life advice to you; no two people are the same, and what works to simplify and organize one person might have little effect on someone else. So instead we’ll point you towards one handy app that’s worked wonders:
Insight Timer is a free app for Android and iOS that lets you escape the chaos and anxiety of the world for a period of time (which you can custom set), meditate (if you’re into that kind of thing), and come back stronger and more level-headed. Insight Timer won Apps of the Year in both TIME magazine and Women’s Health, and more time is spent on it than on any other meditation app.
What does the app do?
At its core, Insight Timer is a free meditation app, but it also helps novices (which most of us are) learn how to meditate to the best effect. The app features guided meditations and talks led by the world’s mindfulness experts, teachers, neuroscientists, and psychologists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford who will coach you in achieving inner peace. Not only that, they’ll teach you how to achieve it at home, at work, or on the go.
Insight Timer also has thousands of discussion groups, forums, and community features, as well as stats and milestones to help you track your progress and manage how often you take the time to use the app, and helping you to build a simple daily health habit.
Get started in minutes
Here’s how easy it is to use Insight Timer:
1. Download the app
Insight Timer is free and can be downloaded right here.
2. Select Timer
The “Timer” function is right on the app’s home page. When you’re ready to zen out, click right on it.
3. (Optional) Choose your settings
Under “Timer” you’re given a few simple customization options for duration and sound effects. We found that even five or 10 minutes was sufficient to clear our head and get us back in the zone. You can also choose from a variety of cool background tracks and bell sounds to play. Check out their catalog!
4. Press “start”
Your chosen bell will ring, and your chosen background SFX will start up immediately. We recommend cranking the volume up so it really feels like you’re awash in the atmosphere. Close your eyes, get comfortable, and let the app work its magic.
How will Insight Timer help me?
Insight Timer doesn’t remove all the problems and everyday stresses of your life. Weave it into your daily life and it goes one step better: The app centers and strengthens you to face these problems with renewed energy and patience. If you let it do its job, Insight Timer is proven to reduce anxiety, calm the mind, manage stress, and even help battle insomnia (try putting it on for a few minutes while you’re trying to fall asleep)!
If any irksome, nagging responsibilities creep into your mind, acknowledge them, mentally partition them, and have the willpower not to tend to them until your timer rings. Insight Timer is like taking a deep breath before diving back into the ocean of stress.
Let us know in the comments below whether you’ll be giving Insight Timer a try. We hope it helps you experience the same rejuvenation that we found. Inhale deeply and feel the renewal!