We’ve talked about mindfulness before and it’s impacts on wellness and focus at work. However, most studies look at in-person, in-depth mindfulness training. Yet many of us don’t have time for training like Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. If you do have the time, great! We would encourage you to go all in! But if you don’t, a cool new study shows that small bites of mindfulness (via apps) can be helpful too.
What Can Mindfulness Apps Do?
There are so many mindfulness apps available today. This study used Headspace, which I personally love and use, but there are many other options. There’s Calm, UCLA Mindful, Smiling Mind, Stop, Breathe, & Think, and many more! And the research is not app-specific. Any app that provides short and easy to access mindfulness exercises would work!
So what does using this type of app do? Overall, people who took mindfulness classes saw improvements in their well-being. They felt more positive emotions and viewed their workplace’s as more socially supportive. Additionally, people who took classes experienced less anxiety, depression symptoms, and job strain. In other words, taking classes on a mindfulness app made people feel less stressed and more well! These results are so exciting!
How Much Mindfulness Helps?
One important thing to note is the amount of time you spend on mindfulness does matter. While it’s not a lot, you still obviously have to spend some time taking some classes in order to see benefits. So how much do you need to do? The study showed that 10 classes over an 8-week period is the minimum amount needed to see results! It’s also important to know that these classes ranged from 10-15 minutes. So, you are really looking at 100 minutes over 8 weeks! That’s a very small time commitment!
Not only does it take a small amount of time, the results are long-lasting! The researchers found that 2 months after taking the classes, people were still generally better off than they were before starting to use the app. However, anxiety did go back up so keeping up a mindfulness practice is the best approach.
These results are incredibly exciting to me and hopefully to all of you! Especially during this incredibly stressful and trying time, being able to use an app at home is helpful and convenient. You only need to set aside time to complete 1 to 2 sessions a week. Schedule some time on your calendar if you are working from home right now. Use it as one of your breaks throughout the day. Maybe make it part of your Monday morning routine to get you started for the week! Whatever you do, remember that it’s a practice and it’s ok if you aren’t perfect. During this COVID-19 crisis, it’s critical to pay attention to your mental health. Aiming for 10 minutes a week is pretty attainable and we know you can do it!