technology

Five mindfulness apps to reduce stress and improve mental health

AdobeStock_80619899.jpeg

Life is full of distractions. New and old stresses pull us out of our present moment and send our minds elsewhere. That’s where mindfulness can help. 

Mindfulness is an important part of holistic mental health. It’s the ability to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings and focus on what’s important. 

Put simply, mindfulness is about being present. 

Mindfulness can be achieved through meditation. Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not about shutting off your mind or ignoring everything around you. It’s actually the opposite. 

Meditation helps us focus in on the world around us through our senses. The noises around us. The chair beneath us. Meditation also helps us understand our thoughts. When we focus through meditation, we can better pay attention to the coming and going of our thoughts. 

Meditation doesn’t always have to be peaceful, but it does often lead to more peace later. Training your brain to be more mindful can help reduce stress, get better sleep, and be present and undistracted during important moments in your life. 

Another great thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere. Here are five recommended apps for practicing meditation and embracing a more mindful lifestyle.

Headspace, a free app with guided meditations and emergency exercises for high-anxiety moments.

Insight Timer, a free app with thousands of guided meditations, calming music, and a customizable timer.

Simple Habit, a free app with short guided meditations.

Calm, a free app with guided meditations, breathing programs, calming music, and narrated bedtime stories. 

Meditation Studio, a paid app with guided meditations and courses taught by meditation experts.

5 technologies transforming group homes

Technology can help us better connect with one another, and often can save someone’s life.

Here are 5 technologies we've come across that improve communication in a group home, and can ultimately help create a safer environment as well as one that fosters human connection.

1. Electronic, cordless floor mat

Designed to help reduce falls, the mat is pressure sensitive and alerts staff when an individual steps out of bed. It’s cordless, which means it doesn’t use any kind of intrusive alarm. Instead it lets staff outside know to check if an individual needs assistance.

2. iPad facilitated communication

This technology is inspiring as it often gives a voice to individuals who might not otherwise be able to communicate. Watch this video from Apple to see how it helped Dillan who has autism.

3. Vibrating smoke alarm

This particular smoke alarm, SafeAwake, vibrates when it senses smoke, alerting individuals who may not be able to hear other alarms. Individuals are trained in how to respond to it, in addition to fire drills twice a month.

4. Light-up, wireless doorbell

81kZ6msJMVL._SL1500_.jpg

Allows individuals who are deaf to communicate using a doorbell that lights up when pressed. For example, it can light up a common area when the front doorbell rings or be useful in a shared bathroom.

5. Touch screen EMR

An EMR (electronic medical record) helps keep track of any and all important data and stores it on a secure server. With a touch screen interface, it's intuitive and easy to use, allowing staff to update information throughout the day. It also allows staff to know whenever there may be a possible problem so that they can quickly make informed decisions to solve any issues.

All of these improve human connection, reduce the number of incidents, and help keep individuals and staff safer and healthier. And these are just a few. As technology continues to exponentially grow, there will no doubt be many more to come.

If you think of any other interesting advancements that we didn't mention, let us know below.