Calm is the app, which claims to reduce anxiety, help you to sleep better and feel happier, asserting itself as the #1 app for mindfulness. Its aim is to coach you into a healthier mindset to cope with the challenges that life may bring.
Firstly, it is important to mention that Calm is a free app, but there are necessary paid upgrades should you wish to access all content. The app is accessible to anyone on either mobile or desktop.
The calm website is, as its name would suggest, refreshingly serene and uncluttered, with simple navigation pathways to the support that you require – be that mediation, sleep, newsletters or the blog. Scrolling down the page, you are pointed to four main topics; meditation, breathing, sleep and relaxation. The main segment is ‘today’s daily calm’, which is also available on the app on a paid-for plan and provides you with a new guided meditation each day.
Calm does also offer a number of ‘Meditation Foundations & Beginner Techniques’, free of charge. On of these is the blissfully relaxing, ‘7 days of Calm’ and another is the ‘Breathe Bubble’, an animated feature that guides you through breathing in and out to help you slow down effectively. This is similar to the changing breath that we practice with you here at Penny Brohn.
When entering the app for the first time, you are asked the question, ‘What can change your life?’ with answers ranging from ‘better sleep’ to ‘more focus’. Making your selection, you are transported through to the app hub, where you can log in easily using Facebook, or set up a separate profile. Here you can monitor your longest streak of daily meditations, total time spent meditating and the total number of sessions you have done. When you have achieved certain goals, such as meditation 7 days in a row, completing a course or simply signing up, you are sent encouraging messages, which you can then choose to share on social media should you desire.
The app enables you to change your soothing audio and tranquil visuals between mountain lakes and crackling fireplaces, crickets, thunderstorms and more. Whatever helps you to drift off, you can change these simply by swiping left across the screen. You can choose to have the audio on the app on or off. Better still, you can decide if you would like to hear the sounds outside of the app as well. Which means if you need to use your mobile for other things, such as setting an alarm or reading an online book, you can do so.
Furthermore, a section for sleep stories to help you wind down is read by various people, such as Stephen Fry and other master storytellers. However, as with the meditations, some of these audio books are locked unless you pay for a plan. Calm has even produced its own film ‘Baa Baa Land’ to help you drift off. Plugged as the dullest movie ever made, it features 8 hours of sheep, wandering around fields in slow motion. The film works in itself as a contemplative meditation – and if not, it’s a bit of a laugh.
Overall, this app does exactly what it says on the tin. Even without paying for a full plan, you can very easily achieve a calmer frame of mind, which can help you to manage your stress and sleep better. However, if you are totally convinced, after you have tried out all the free version has to offer, you can sign up to a plan for £9.99 a month or £3.74 a month when billed annually. You can even shell out for a lifetime plan at £269.99. To find out more, click here.