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Study Reveals That Mindfulness Apps Have Positive Impact on Mental Health

Positive Impacts Of Mindfulness Apps

A study by the University of Otago has revealed that making use of mindfulness meditation mobile applications positively contributes to the improvement of an individual’s mental health.

The study was conducted using a randomized and controlled trial. Users of mindfulness app recorded considerable improvements in their resilience, depressive symptoms, college adjustment, and depressive symptoms and also broader improvements compared to the mental health they had at the onset of the trial. More importantly, it was found that participants who kept on with the use of the applications frequently exhibited a higher likelihood of maintaining the improvements in their mental health until the study ended.

The study is contained in the Mindfulness journal. Jayde Flett, a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Psychology and Department of Psychological Medicine of the University said that the development, as well as the availability of these mindfulness meditation applications, make provisions for new opportunities aiding the practice of mindfulness. Flett added that the practice has also been linked with a series of mental health advantages when it is practiced face-to-face.

She further noted that most times mobile devices are considered to be devices that support distraction, but they may also be an ideal platform for practicing mindfulness considering that they have wide usage.

Smartphones which are generally considered as distraction devices can be put into good use by practicing mindfulness on them

Breakdown Of The Study

The participants of the study were 208 students at the university who were between the ages of 18 and 49. Three applications were randomly given to the students to use and the apps were namely Smiling Mind, Headspace as well as Evernote. Mimicking both optimal usages as well as a more realistic usage, the participants were instructed to make use of their designated application for 10 minutes daily for 10 days.

After that period, they got an extended thirty days to access the apps and continue the practice solely at their own discretion. Participants also reported that their anxiety, depressive symptoms, college adjustment, stress, mindfulness, flourishing and resilience was at baseline even after the ten-day intervention and also after the thirty days continued period. The usage of the app was high when the study started but it reduced substantially when the app usage was left at the users’ discretion which highlighted a necessity to carry out an inquiry into the factors relating to the continued usage of the application.

Even though the substantial improvements varied across the different mindfulness applications, usage frequency timeframe and also the reference point, the survey results gave preliminary evidence to the effect that using mobile mindfulness applications have the possibility of improving the mental health results. To understand the long-term effects of the usage, additional investigation is required.

Fllett added that even though there is no equality among all the mobile mindfulness applications in existence, they should not be used as a replacement for traditional mindfulness programmes that support facial interaction. The mindfulness applications stand as a representation of a promising avenue for the improvement of mental health considering that they are easy to use, readily available and are also accessible. It is, however, worthy to note that the tools can only be effective when people make use of them.

Mindfulness applications are easy to use, readily available and easily accessible

What are mindfulness applications

Mindfulness applications help people feel calmer and make practicing mindfulness daily easier. Rather than having to invest several hours and a lot of financial resources into registering for mindfulness classes or getting mindfulness-based therapy, these apps help people meditate right from their smartphones. A lot of people have adopted the use of these apps as it helps them pay more attention to their feelings and thoughts and ultimately helps them to reap the physical and mental benefits of mindfulness.

Most popular mindfulness apps on iPhone are Headspace, iMindfulness, Smiling Mind and Mindfulness Daily

Functions of Mindfulness Apps

While some of the mindfulness applications have majorly been developed to be meditation aids, some others serve the purpose of helping users remain present all through the day by providing a reminder or periodic bell. A lot of these applications have a period of the free trial. Some of the apps require that users subscribe and others offer sufficient free content to users to help them support their mindfulness practice. A study which evaluated the different mindfulness apps that are iPhone based using standardized criteria found that Headspace, iMindfulness, Smiling Mind and Mindfulness Daily scored the highest.

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