A new smartphone app called “Stop, Breathe and Think” offers users of all ages a way to experience the benefits of meditation, even as they go about their busy day. Singer k.d. lang endorsed the app and spoke via email to Raw Story about her own meditation practice.
The Alberta, Canada native and trailblazing LGBT rights activist said that she has been practicing meditation “formally, for about 13 years.”
Meditation is an ancient practice that takes many forms. Practitioners almost universally extoll the increased mental clarity they feel, as well as reduced levels of anxiety and overall improvement in their sense of well-being.
These claims are backed up by hard science. Researchers studying neuroplasticity — the mutability of physical structures in the brain — found in 2003 that regular so-called compassion meditation produced measurable physical changes in the key areas of the brain.
The study compared the average brain activity to the brains of Tibetan monks — followers of the Dalai Lama — who had practiced 10,000 hours of meditation or more. Not only did the monks’ brains demonstrate greater cognitive function, the left prefrontal cortex — where feelings of happiness and other positive emotions are centered — was more developed.
It doesn’t take 10,000 hours, though, to feel the benefits of meditation, Lang said.
“I honestly believe that the benefits of meditation are immediate,” she wrote, “and the results are intrinsically linked with the effort you put forth.”
The “Stop, Think and Breathe” app is designed for beginners or anyone who can take five minutes to enjoy a guided meditation. Lang said that the irony of seeking stillness and mindfulness via the least present-in-the-moment device ever, the smart phone or tablet, is not lost on her.
“I’ve laughed about that,” she said. “We are increasingly engaged with tablets and smart phones; that’s a given, so, why not? I believe that actually getting these meditation tools into the ‘hands’ of people will make the whole experience more accessible and fun.”
When asked about her own daily practice, Lang said, “I try to do a daily meditation practice, first thing in the morning. And then spontaneously throughout the day.”
Watch a video about the “Stop, Breathe and Think” app, embedded below:
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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