Digital Meditation Apps – HeartMath vs Happify

There are a number of digital meditation apps on the market now like HeartMath and Happify.  The apps, websites and various software programs each provide their own method. They both teach you to meditate essentially providing calming benefits you can engage with on your down time, lunch break, and even at your desk during the middle of a stressful day.   Check out my review of these two digital meditation apps, Heartmath and Happify. Which one do you prefer?

Happify uses a series of science-based games and strategy that you rate according to the positive mood it generates. In order to get you to the next level so you can listen to a meditation track, you need to accomplish certain mood-promoting tasks.

This idea is nice, and it’s visually stimulating. The concept of the site relies on a subjective rating of our own mood, and needs. Though it does use scientific principles and games, it does not have a scientific assessment tool, which is a drawback to those seeking to track their empirical data.  The games do put me in a positive mood, however, I find the site a little cumbersome, and non intuitive, which is counter to my good mood. LOL. I don’t want to get irritated trying to relax. I also find the site tries to sell a lot. Perhaps, the paid version is better, but I am not very motivated to pay since the free version gets on my nerves.  I wasn’t actually able to listen to my personalized track because I didn’t get through all the steps before I gave up.

Happify has a mandatory course that you have to follow, there isn’t that much choice on the website or the app to do your own thing. I understand there may be benefit to chronological order but I don’t like that restrictive approach, especially when it seems sales-driven. If you don’t mind following a course chosen for you, this site might be just what you’re looking for.

They provide a monthly service, at which you choose your entry level, based on how many tracks you want to listen to per week and how much variety and individualization you want. It’s quite affordable. If you want more than the free version then the price of Happify varies from $12.95 per month to $299.95 for the lifetime program.  There seems to be a lot of content, with featured experts and their content as well.

Try out HAPPIFY

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HeartMath uses biofeedback to help you improve coherence by slowing your heart rate and increasing heart rate variability.  The student watches the device to play meditation games, listen to music and watch images, while the EmWave sensor measures heart rate and heart rate variability. It also uses a system of positive reward to train you to meditate better, and to learn how your meditation is effective.

HeartMath has done 20 years of research on the method to understand how coherence takes place.

Coherence is when your heart and your mind collate and are on the same “wavelength”. Coherence allows you to calm down in an instant, lowering your heart rate, and regulating your heart rate variability. Heart rate variability that is in good coherence (see the appreciation mode below) allows your heart to be healthier, your mind to have more free flowing thoughts and to be productive.  When you are good at shifting your coherence to a high degree you can lower your blood pressure, improve your circulation, protect your heart, improve your sleep and your overall health.

I personally use HeartMath in my practice and find that my patients enjoy it as well. There is absolutely no selling in the professional version I use.

The expense is upfront. You have to buy the software or at least a sensor so you can attach it to your ear for the heart rate measurement. There is a variety of software tools you can purchase for professional or personal use. Because it’s originally a professional program there is some training involved at the beginning, but it does allow for quite a bit of play without forcing you to choose a path, which I find to be a meditative process in an of itself.

The basic sensor that plugs into you iphone or ipad is $129, and the one that adapts to your android is $159. From there you use a free app called Inner Balance.  The drawback to the app is that without the sensor, it is useless to you.

Try out HEARTMATH ‘s Free Resources

All in all, HeartMath is a little more costly than Happify but once you purchase it, it’s yours for life and I find the results data driven, and more individualized based on your physiology. Happify can also be purchased for life, but unfortunately I’m not sure I’m going to get that far with it, though I will recommend it to those looking for a mood elevating program that doesn’t require the buy-in required by HeartMath.

Let me know what you think of these softwares and my review. You can always be in touch with me at info@lowstresslaw.com

Please make your comments and questions below.

Deep Breathing for Stress Relief; Deep Breathing for Anxiety Relief

You may wonder if you can do some deep breathing for stress relief at your desk in the middle of the day and the answer is, Yes, you can even do deep breathing for anxiety relief. Doing stress relief exercises while at your desk is so inconspicuous, no one even know you’re taking a break, except you. The thing is, if you are used to running on adrenaline you might not even know you are stressed or anxious. That’s ok at the beginning.  Just insert these techniques – deep breathing for stress relief (or deep breathing for anxiety relief) into your day routinely and benefit from the outcome.

Step 1

Sit down comfortably, and put your feet flat on the floor. Notice your bum in the chair. Feel yourself being solid and present.

Step 2

Take a few normal breaths, and notice what your body does. Do your shoulders rise? Do you hold your breath? Does your abdomen expand when you breath in? Do you breathe in through your nose or mouth? It’s ok.

Step 3

Switch it up so you’re breathing in through your nose for 5 and out through your mouth for 5. Just count to 5, while breathing in through your nose. Then count to 5 while breathing out through your mouth.

Step 4

In your imagination, locate the lowest point of your spine, like that that point between your butt cheeks, or way low down on the small of your back.  Breathe “into that spot”.

Do it the same way; breathing in for a count of 5 into that spot, as if the air is flowing into a hole in your lower back. And then breath out through your mouth for a count of 5, as if the air is flowing out of that hole in your lower back.

This lowest point of your spine is one of the deepest places you can breath from, so I like to start there with deep breathing exercises.

Step 5

Repeat this exercise for 10-20 breaths at least once per day. If you notice yourself feeling anxious or stressed out, repeat. It takes approximately 1 minute to do 10 breaths.

One could engage in this exercise every 30 minutes, for maximum benefit!

Music

This step is optional for those who wish to practice this for longer – like the length of a piece. If you want to listen to music, go ahead and put your headphones on to some classical music, binaural beats, nature sounds or jazz. I am not trying to dictate musical style to you, but put something on you would put on for a baby trying to sleep.

If you have any comments, questions or requests, please write them in the comments section. I am happy to help you to de-stress in any way I can.

Keep up the good work!

Hello world!

This is a new blog to help lawyers, human rights workers and professionals in these profession relax more, and suffer less from conditions of stress.

It’s not necessarily that you can have less stress, as I know your job is busy and stressful, but the point is to have it impact you less.

I want you to have a better working environment, the ability to unwind when you want, to fall asleep and stay asleep, and to avoid relying on coffee, sugar, chocolate and too much exercise for pick me ups.  Of course, exercise is great for you, but if it’s stressful, it’s only adding to the problem.

Let’s save your adrenal glands – stress organs – and make some easy shifts to help you lawyers relieve stress.

Please post comments below. I appreciate any feedback.