No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, today’s ear-ringing political landscape can be a little bit overwhelming. While many have likely turned to meditation as a way to cope with the stress, an app has taken things a step further, touting a series of mindfulness programs geared specifically toward dealing with today’s political news.
The app—called Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics—was cofounded by Dan Harris, who knows a thing or two about the stress of the news. Harris was a reporter for ABC News when he had a panic attack on air during Good Morning America in 2004. That very public meltdown led him to discover meditation, write a book about it called 10% Happier, and ultimately become the cofounder of the meditation app.
Founded in January 2016, the app offers free meditations to help with stress, focus, and sleep, along with a subscription tier of guided sessions. Harris says that he and his team noticed that the Trump administration and the surrounding political climate was causing a great deal of stress in the lives of people, regardless of how they felt about the new administration. The company reached out to a few of its most popular meditation guides, including Pamela Weiss, the founder of Appropriate Response, and Sebene Selassie, a meditation teacher and transformational coach in New York City, and a political-themed series called “Mindfulness in the Age of Polarization” was born.
The series initially involves just four meditations, each aimed at dealing with a particular topic. Sessions are designed to be done with just your phone, although a web version is available, and only take a few minutes, so they can be handled during a short break during your workday or at home before you start or end your day. You can do them once a day, once a week, or even once every few hours if you’re having a particularly troublesome day.
Special care was given to make sure each experience is bipartisan, so the meditations can be useful for a wider audience of peace-seekers, regardless of their specific political beliefs.
One Listening session focuses on understanding others without having knee-jerk reactions; another session tackles dealing with difficult people who may be very passionate about opinions that differ from your own; another is aimed at getting you out of your head and divorcing yourself from the constant stream of news on the web and social media, so you can refocus on what’s important.
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The hope, of course, is that listening better, in spite of all the noise, might help make the world a little more bearable. Or at least the meditations might make it so we’re able to have a face-to-face conversation with that difficult uncle—or simply use other apps on our phone, like Facebook and Twitter—without having a panic attack of our own.