Last week on Wellness Wednesday we discussed the concept of mindfulness and how a regular meditation practice can help people increase their present moment awareness and move forward throughout their day in a deliberate manner. Undoubtedly, several readers viewed that article and reflected on their previous unsuccessful attempts at meditation. Do not be fooled, building a regular meditation practice is not easy. You may wonder if you are doing it right, you may wonder whether it is really working or not, or you may be struggling to simply build a mindfulness routine.
It can be beneficial to think about it as going to the gym. Sometimes people are able to just get to it and work through these challenges on their own. At other times, you may benefit from a gym buddy or personal trainer. In mindfulness circles, that buddy and trainer is MUSE. As a side bonus, this buddy/trainer can read your mind (well sort of)!
MUSE is a personal EEG headband from a Toronto based start-up called Interaxon. It was designed to bring neurofeedback, training, and habit building to the meditation process through the pairing of the MUSE Headband and the free Muse app (Android and iOS).
The MUSE app/headband provides you feedback during a meditation session to assist you in returning to your point of focus when you become distracted or distressed. It also provides the user a wealth of data that can help track their progress and understand how their mindfulness practices are helping their brains grow. This includes how many seconds your brain maintained a calm or active state, how often you become distracted, and how often you were able to disengage from those distractions and return to your point of focus. The data is displayed graphically in your app and helps you track your progress and decide when to step up your training by increasing the duration of your meditation.
Some of my clients also enjoy using MUSE without the headband. If the scores do not matter as much to you, you can simply engage in the various provided meditations, easily adapt your length of time, and provide a good mechanism to track your frequency of practice. I really enjoy the ability to customize my practice to my personal taste, a feature not available in many other free or premium apps. Specifically, I like that I can choose the number of minutes I want to meditate and be able to choose the background soundscape theme that I prefer. MUSE also provides a number of different meditations that are focused on the mind, heart, body, and breath. Finally, you can also choose ones that have minimal to no narration or those with more guidance along the way.
Getting into the habit of meditation can be tough, but with MUSE a simple three minute a day practice can help build a lifetime of mindfulness.
The MUSE Headband can be found online at http://choosemuse.com or through online vendors like Amazon.
FLEX Psychology currently uses Muse with a diverse range of clients. While we maintain a collegial relationship with the MUSE team, this post was not funded nor supported by Interaxon. All MUSE hardware used by FLEX Psychology was purchased independently at regular price.
Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.