Many people are feeling exhausted and strung out. Some are feeling isolated and lonely, others are feeling anxious or insecure about the future or finding it difficult to concentrate with the barrage of news articles thrown at us every day. Some are finding it hard to juggle home and work life under these new conditions, others are struggling with their families – trying to keep their children entertained and educated, leaving them rushed and with little time for themselves. One message has been clear from all mental health resources – if you or someone you know is struggling with one or many of these things, you/they are definitely not alone; in fact 60% of adults and 68% of young people have seen their mental health worsen over the lockdown.
In these kinds of situations, people have turned to self-help books, magazines and other literature first to help themselves overcome these hurdles. However, one of the advantages of our increasingly connected lifestyles is that such help is available and tailored to suit in the form of apps and services available across a variety of different platforms.
One such service is Calm, a mindfulness and wellbeing service that has apps available for iOS and Android, and can be used as a fully-featured in-browser app. Some of its features can also be accessed in a limited capacity through Google Home, Sonos, Samsung TV, Apple Watch and similar services, although the content there is not the full suite of tools available through the website or apps.
Calm’s goal is to help people reduce stress and anxiety, to sleep better, and encourage mindfulness in our everyday lives – to form good habits and to promote resilience and focus.
It aims to achieve this by providing people with tailored resources to assist with a wide variety of issues, from anxiety and insomnia to self-confidence and motivation.
Many studies have been done over the years on the effects of music on learning and relaxation. Depending, of course, on personal tastes, different types of music have been shown to aid learning and concentration, spark creativity, or help someone to relax.
One of Calm’s primary resources is its enormous library of music and sounds to help with a variety of moods. Relaxation resources for those who are stressed or anxious; music and sounds to help focus and concentration, or to motivate you to keep going.
Their library consists of calming stories to aid sleep, relaxing classical music, nature sounds such as rain or ocean sounds, and also other newer styles such as electronic and lo-fi music. Calm have gone one step further in curating their library of sounds and stories, and have added guest narrators such as Stephen Fry, Matthew McConaughey and LeVar Burton, and music from popular musicians such as Ellie Goulding, Deadmau5, Moby and Kygo. Guided meditations and short talks on other topics such as building self-confidence are also available for premium users, with a host of other content.
There’s a lot to choose from – which is important, as a good selection means they can cater for a wide range of tastes within their service. No need to spend your time listening to whale noises or zen melodies if you don’t find them relaxing (although they are available if you do of course!) – you can instead browse and find something that works for you.
Next time in our blog, we’ll be looking at some more of Calm’s features and also the Calm for Business options which allow employers to offer Calm as a benefit to their employees.