Look, we all know that meeting and event planning is hard work and anything that can help us relax is good in my book. I will be the first to tell you that I am not a “meditation” kinda guy. I tend to be more of a nose to the grindstone, plow through type of person and I think that most of us in the event industry fall into this category. Because of this, it is important to let the air out once in a while or you might find yourself drinking wine from coffee cup at two in the afternoon and we all know that never ends well… no matter how good the idea seems at the time.
Because of the travel involved in our business and my tilt toward the tech, I went looking for apps that might help our little tribe with the stress of the gig rather than some local yoga joint. To my surprise, I found that there are more than a few that want to help us get square with the world, relax, and regroup. Yes, it is not lost on me that this is weird considering that most of our meeting planning stress comes through the information superhighway straight to the thing in our pocket that goes beep-boop all day long.
Time to chillax people, everything will be just fine…..
Seriously. Calm is in the name and if you need more than that as a recommendation, it was an Apple app of the year in 2017. Here is their description:
Calm is the #1 app for Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation. Join the millions experiencing better sleep, lower stress, and less anxiety with our guided meditations, Sleep Stories, breathing programs, stretching exercises, and relaxing music. Calm is recommended by top psychologists, therapists, and mental health experts.
Calm is the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users. Guided meditation sessions are available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes so you can choose the perfect length to fit with your schedule.
Sleep Stories are bedtime stories that are guaranteed to lull you into a deep and restful slumber. Calm has 100+ exclusive Sleep Stories for adults and children alike, featuring well-known talent such as Stephen Fry, Matthew McConaughey, Leona Lewis, and Jerome Flynn. Drift off to dreamland and wake up refreshed.
I do a lot of work with the amazing folks at Dahlia+. We travel the globe educating conference attendees about technology and productivity. This app is one that Dahlia El Gazzar recommends and that is more than good enough for me to recommend it to you. Here is how they describe their amazing little tool:
Learn the life-changing skills of meditation in just a few minutes a day with Headspace. Find hundreds of sessions on physical health, personal growth, stress, and anxiety. They are all designed to help you stress less, focus more, and feel better. Download Headspace to meditate anywhere, anytime and start living a healthier, happier life.
The name alone is enough to call this one the winner and drop the mic but a cool handle is only part of the story. What I found interesting is that they know everyone is crazy busy so they have made it super simple and super fast to meditate and get back on track. Here is how they describe their features:
The central idea in buddhify is that you don’t have to find time for meditation, instead it comes to you. That is why all our meditations are categorized by what you’re doing or how you’re feeling. So you’ll find guided meditations for Walking, Stress & Difficult Emotion, Work Break, Going to Sleep, Waking Up and many other different categories. Written and voiced by our range of hand-picked teachers, the sessions last from 4 minutes all the way through to 30 minutes.
As a tech dude, the words “A.I. driven” were all I needed to read. This one is super easy, you open it up and the app learns what helps you relax and continues in that direction. Super helpful for those who have no idea where their personal off button is hidden. Here is how they describe it:
Aura understands your emotions and helps you feel better.
Whenever you’re stressed & anxious or having trouble sleeping, Aura will find mindfulness meditations, life coaching, stories, and music, created by the best therapists and coaches, personalized just for you.
It takes just 3 minutes to feel better, and Aura will continuously learn about what helps you and improve the recommendations.
Ten Percent Happier
This app is based on a book by some dude named Dan Harris. Although I read a ton of books, self-help is not in my wheelhouse, so I have no idea if the book is any good. What I can tell you is that a bunch of people I know (two) recommended this app, it was an Apple “Best of 2018” award winner, and it was the Top listed app in New York Times ‘How to Meditate’ guide. I guess that is enough for me to call it legit. Here is what they say:
Want to sleep better, be more mindful, improve your relationships, and become just about ten percent happier? This is the app for you. Our guided meditations, videos, talks, and sleep content will help you build (or boost) your meditation practice, and stick with it.
Will it work?
I know what you are thinking… Is an app really going to reduce my stress and make me more pleasant on the conference planning circuit? The truth? I have no idea – so I went and found this article from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and some of the research looks super promising. One thing I know for sure is that it can’t hurt to try so you might as well give it a go…