Disconnect by Connecting With These Zen Apps


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The complaint that smartphones are needlessly distracting is being turned on its head by app developers who are encouraging users to connect with their devices in order to disconnect from their busy lives.

There are apps that can help people meditate, fall asleep and achieve a moment of calm during a hectic day.

Here’s a look at some of the apps that are helping to redefine the smartphone, a trend that may also quiet some of technology’s loudest critics.

Meditation Timer Lite­ – This simple and free app provides people who practice meditation with the three basic functions they need to set aside time to clear their mind without having to worry about overextending their moment within. The first control sets a delay before the meditation period begins, creating a moment for settling in. The second control sets the total duration of the meditation. The third control determines when the app should trigger an interval alarm, which practitioners use to schedule breaks or separate their meditation time into different phases.

OM Meditation Timer – This app for $1.29 combines a similar three-part timer while offering some additional features. The “body check” option intermittently highlights different body parts on a silhouette to allow users to focus on how they’re feeling. The app also creates a record of meditation sessions, creating a log for practitioners who want to track their daily progress. Different nature-themed backgrounds help set the mood.

Relax Melodies – The makers of this free app believe they’ve come up with a possible anecdote to the tension that is being ratcheted up by the corporate email portion of smartphones. It allows users to mix and match 41 high-quality ambient sounds to create a soundtrack that is fit for entering a relaxed state or a rejuvenation sleep. Sounds can be layered over two binaural beat frequencies, which are believed to work with the brain to induce relaxation. Favorite combinations can be saved and named for easy referencing — such as “ocean ambience,” as suggested on a promotional screen grab.

Conchence – The conch shell is the star of this free app, which contains six relaxation tracks that can be repeated to help users meditate or fall asleep. But there are two other conch-centric features that set this app apart. Holding the phone parallel to the ground then raising it to your ear triggers an ocean sound, replicating the experience of grabbing a conch shell from the beach. Users also can blow into their phone’s receiver to play a virtual conch as a horn. Beach bums looking for the perfect wallpaper can choose from 20 high-resolution shell images.

Nick Clunn is an award-winning journalist who has worked for several websites and daily newspapers, including The Record in New Jersey. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at Montclair State University. Follow him @NickClunn.

Nick Clunn
Nick Clunn is a journalist covering the tech beat and an adjunct professor at Montclair State University. He lives in New Jersey, where he had worked as a staff writer for several leading daily newspapers and websites.
Nick Clunn
Nick Clunn
Tags: Downtime,Gadgets & Devices,Mobile Apps,Tech Culture,Technology