Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Medito: Your Free Meditation & Mindfulness Multitool

(Scroll to bottom of article to see image source credits.)

Medito is an incredible free app that is packed with good stuff! It's essentially a meditation tutor, an always on-call (and completely confidential!) personal therapist, a sleep aid, a work life coach, a collection of relaxing ambient soundscapes and a handy meditation/mindfulness reference library. And all this is delivered to you as short audio segments with your choice of narrator voices. 

Think of this app as one of those handy folding multitools. Sometimes you need a screwdriver, sometimes you need a knife and sometimes you need a nail file or a bottle opener. And some of those fold-up tools (for me, it's the leather punch!) you may never use. But it's empowering to have all that capability assembled into one device. 

That's pretty much how this app works. If you have zero experience or knowledge of meditation, Meditio provides short, practical bits of background info, followed by choose-your-own-length guided practice sessions to get you started. Or if you've been meditating for years, like me, you'll find all sorts of useful variations that you can explore, as well as collections of soundscapes and other resources to help you grow your practice. What's more, there are other unique tools to help you cope with emergency, high-stress situations at work or in your personal life. No wonder it was named one of Google Play's Best of 2020 award winners!  

The Medito Foundation


So who's behind this app and what's their vision? This is from their website:  "Medito Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to improving mental wellbeing, including helping people to cope better with depression, stress, anxiety and any other negative states of mind... [Our] Scientific Advisory Board provides input on Medito content, to help us produce mindfulness and mental health resources that are in line with the latest scientific thinking."  

Inventory of Medito App Resources


Below is my quick inventory of what I've found in the app. It's loaded!! (And, according to the developers, more good stuff is on the way!)

A Meditation Tutor
  • 5 short audio summaries introduce the novice to meditation and mindfulness.
  • 10 brief audios help you learn to sit comfortably.
  • 10 short audios (Mindfulness, Vipassana, Science of meditation, etc.) comprise the Beginner course.
  • 10 short audios (Consciousness, Anxiety, Stress, Open awareness, etc.) comprise the Intermediate course.

A Personal Therapist & Work Life Coach
  • The "Pandemic" pack includes 8 brief sessions to help you cope with Coronavirus.
  • The "Emergency" pack has 5 short sessions to help you deal with anger, fear, panic, etc.
  • The "Stress & Anxiety" pack has 10 brief sessions to help you manage stress and anxiety by remaining in the present moment.
  • The "Empowerment" pack can help activists confront racism and avoid burnout.
  • The "Work Life" pack has 10 topics to help you lead a happier, healthier work life (examples: Managing conflict, Productivity, Confidence, Creativity,  Work-life balance, etc.).
  • The "Gratitude" and "Loving Kindness" packs provide 10 guided meditations to cultivate gratitude & compassion.

A Sleep and Relaxation Aid
  • The "Sleep" collection provides 5 meditations to help you get to sleep, as well as 5 soothing ambient nature sounds and 14 relaxing tones and soundscapes.
  • The "Body Scan" collection has 8 meditations to help you relax, release tension and develop mindful awareness of mental and physical feelings.

Other Tools to Support Your Meditation Practice
  • "Daily Meditation" includes 4 voice-guided meditation session timers with 4 optional background sounds.
  • "Meditation Timer" includes simple timers, including a starting bell and an ending bell for sessions ranging in length from 3 minutes to one hour.  8 optional ambient soundscapes may mixed into each of these sessions.
  • The "Sounds" collection includes 22 different ambient soundscapes ranging in length from 5 to 60 minutes.
  • The "Mantra" pack provides 5 audios to help you develop your own word or phrase or sound to use as the focul point of your meditation
  • The "Walking Meditation" pack includes a 12 minute "Walking Inside" and a 15 minute "Walking Outside" guided meditation. 
  • In the "Collections" there are compilations of unique exercises and background info from experts, philosophers and collaborators (including 4 guided sessions in Spanish)
  • The "Teachers" pack (10 guided meditations) is designed to help educators introduce mindfulness into their classrooms and engage students in mindfulness practices.

So Go Get It!


The best way to realize the power of Medito's collections is to experience them firsthand. As you can see from the list above, the Medito app has enormous potential to improve your life! And, since it's free -- (Thank you, Medito Foundation!) -- you have nothing to lose by downloading and exploring it's powerful, concise and easy-to-use tools. And once you're hooked, be sure to share it with a friend. If using Medito were to go viral, I'm convinced the world would be a much better place!

Medito App at Google Play Store


Medito App at the Apple App Store

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More Articles About Meditation & Mindfulness

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

6 Podcasts to Help You Become an Amateur Tech Geek

Ever wonder how that geeky friend of yours got to know so much about the the latest mobile hardware, home theater gear, home automation tools, amazing apps, etc.? Truth is, most amateur tech geeks simply spend more time paying attention to, and learning about, all things techy than other people. In fact, if they're like me (an admitted amateur tech geek), they'll admit that they'd rather spend time listening to a tech podcast or reading about new tech products than they would scrolling through social media posts. 

It's simply a matter of where you spend your time and attention. You can learn a lot about anything if you just focus on it for an hour or so every day. And a fun bonus of tech learning is that the more you learn about all those weird and wonderful products, the more you want to go get them and try them!  And eventually you could become your family's one-person geek squad, solving their tech problems and learning even more in the process! 

Six Podcasts to Get You Started

One of the easiest ways to immerse yourself in tech stuff is to subscribe to a few tech podcasts and replace some of your time spent scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or Twitter with time spent listening to tech experts. Just download the podcasts to to your phone, then when you're standing in line shopping or exercising or doing chores you can listen and learn! Or better yet, you can tell your smart speaker to "Play the latest episode of [XYZ podcast]" while you are showering or shaving or doing the dishes. 

Below are six of my favorite tech podcasts to help you get you started. I've listed them in order of their tech-geeky density.  And I've linked each to its listing in Google Podcasts. It's my podcast player of choice because it syncs podcasts across all my devices and picks up where I "pause" when I switch from one device to another. So I can start listening on my phone, pick up where I left off in my car's Android Auto, then finish up at home on my Google Home (Nest) smart speakers. (Google Podcasts is available in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.)


Marketplace Tech (5 - 10 min daily) - Publisher's description: "... 'Marketplace Tech' demystifies the digital economy. The daily radio show and podcast uncovers how tech influences our lives in unexpected ways and provides context for listeners who care about the impact of tech, business and the digital world... Marketplace Tech uncovers themes that transcend the hype in an industry that’s constantly changing... host Molly Wood asks smart questions that connect the dots and provide insight on the impact of technology... "

The Tech Guy ( 2 1/2 hours, every Sat & Sunday) - This was my first ever tech program! Listeners call in with all sorts of ordinary tech problems from the simple to the highly complex and get practical, how-to advice. Whether it's fixing your printer or unraveling your home WiFi, Leo can walks ordinary folks like us through the solution, step by step. Publisher's description: "No one does a better job of explaining technology, computers, and the Internet than Leo Laporte. This feed contains the full audio of his twice weekly radio talk show... For show notes and more visit techguylabs.com."

This Week in Google (2 1/2 hours, weekly)- This one is difficult to describe. It's sorta like listening to "The View" if it were conducted by smart, tech-savvy futurists. And don't let the title fool you. It's about FAR more than Google. It covers smart homes, the internet of things (IOT), Facebook, Congress vs. Big Tech, artificial intelligence, the history of tech and innovations and on and on. It's my "never miss" podcast!"

Tech News Weekly - (1 hour, weekly) This one's all about doing a deeper dive beneath the tech news headlines that you might hear about elsewhere. Publisher's description:  "Tech News Weekly hosted by Jason Howell and Mikah Sargent brings you interviews from tech journalists who make or break the top stories of the week. Jason and Mikah give you more context and perspective, with an in-depth look at the fast-paced world of technology and how it is changing our lives."


Techmeme Ride Home - (15 minutes, daily) This one's for the official, professional tech geeks. But you can still learn a lot if you're willing to be a little confused now and then and do some quick research to unravel the acronyms!  Publisher's description: "The day's tech news, every day at 5 pm. From Techmeme.com, Silicon Valley's most-read news source. 15 minutes and you're up to date."


Daily Tech Headlines - (5 - 10 minutes, daily) Another podcast for tech pros and tech marketing folks. It will stretch you! So try a couple and see how you like it. Publisher's description: "The essential tech news you need every day in 10 minutes or less."



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It's Okay to Be Confused!

Listening to these podcasts will get you started on your path to amateur tech geekdom. And remember: It's okay to be confused while listening! If you're not a bit confused from time to time, then you're not stretching yourself. So dive in, give yourself permission to get lost, press "Pause" and Google what's confusing you before you continue. Or rewind, if necessary, to hear that confusing part again. (I do this all the time and I've been listening to this stuff for over two decades!)  

You're likely to find that it's fun to be challenged and "always learning!"  And in the meantime, your family and friends might soon come to rely on you as their local tech support guru!  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

How to Customize Your Google News Feed [video included]

Google's controls help you customize your news feed!

Did you ever find yourself scrolling mindlessly through your Facebook or Instagram or Twitter feed and ask yourself, "Why am I wasting time doing this?" Given the rich potential of the world wide web, it's silly to spend so much time on what amounts to chasing gossip. Why not leverage the web's potential to help you be "always learning" about stuff that interests you?

With your Google news feed it's easy to generate a custom-tailored stream of interesting and challenging content. It just takes a little interactive pruning!  Here's how it works.

Google has arguably produced the most powerful search engine ever. And as you use it, Google builds a profile of your interests based on your search terms and browsing history. For the most part, these Google algorithms chug along quietly in the background, suggesting news items in your feed to match your unique interests. But, if you're like me, you sometimes find yourself wishing you could fine tune those algorithms to get more accurate suggestions or push them to go off in search of new areas of interest. 

The good news is that Google has built in a bunch of simple controls you can use to teach the Google algorithms how to serve you best. The video below introduces:
  • The "More or Less" toggle
  • The 3-dot "follow or hide" menu
  • The "Manage Interests" controls



It's amazing how interesting and inspiring it can be to get a regular news feed focusing on a few topics that you really care about -- especially when the alternative is watching people in your social media zones rant and complain.  So why not leverage the power of Google's news feed to keep you "always learning" and positively engaged?