Use Your Phone To See, Sleep, and Feel Better

In addition to making calls, sending text, taking photos and posting on social media, with the right apps our phones can also make a day calmer, add beauty we might not otherwise see, help us sleep, and read things printed so small they present a challenge. Here are four apps that I’ve found useful and calming. 

72 seasons

72 Seasons is a beautiful and informative application based on the ancient Japanese calendar, in which “the year is divided into 24 and then 72 separate seasons”. The 72 Seasons app brings you photographs, illustrations, haiku poems and words based on the poetic names of the seasons, each depicting a subtle change in the natural world throughout the year.

And not only does the app give you beautiful photographs and images but it also graces your days with poetic information such as the seasonal words for the seasons, vegetables, stars, flowers, and sea life.

The Utsukushii Kurashikata Institute (Beautiful Living Research Lab) is an initiative which aims to show a lifestyle that incorporates age-old Japanese wisdom into contemporary life.

72 Seasons is a free app

MindBell

 I have set the MindBell to chime once a day on my phone; one deep resonating sound at the strike of noon – reminiscent of the bells, horns, and whistles that used to sound at lunch hours from factories across the landscapes of my childhood.  The chime serves as a reminder at the moment to let go and become grounded in the present – one deep breath – a moment has a renewed softness.

The MindBell app rings periodically during the day as a mindfulness bell to give you the opportunity to stop for a moment and consider what you are currently doing, and in what state of mind you are while you are doing it. According to the Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, this is an effective means of developing mindfulness.

Additionally, MindBell can be used as a meditation timer and is a free app.

Pzizz – Sleep, Nap, Focus

Featured in The New York Times, and multiple other publications the Sleep, Nap, Focus App uses the latest clinical research to play “dreamscapes”— “a sleep-optimized mix of music, voice-overs, and sound effects that change each night, to quickly quiet your mind, put you to sleep, keep you asleep, and then wake you up feeling refreshed. Try listening to Pzizz – and though your built-in phone speaker will work, headphones or earbuds are recommended for optimal effectiveness.

Pzizz promotes its app as having a sleep module to “help you fall asleep and stay asleep, a nap module to help you nap and get rid of that groggy feeling, and a focus module to help you get more work done while you are awake.”

Pzizz “Pro” is free for seven days. After your trial ends you can choose to keep Pro or use the “Classic” version, which is completely free. There’s a breakdown of what’s free vs pro on the app’s pricing page.

Pzizz is a large app so be certain, to avoid overage charges, to use it with available wi fi.

To this point, Pzizz comes without advertising and without any network access.

Your Phone is a magnifying glass

Your phone has a magnifying glass feature. You can use your camera to focus on words and then spread the image with two fingers or go to Setting – chose Accessibility – then turn on Magnifier – click here for link instructions.

If you can’t access the magnifier on your phone and can’t read the menu in restaurants or the packaging labels in stores, Magnifying Glass + is a free app that serves as a digital magnifier glass. It also works as a magnifying app with light since it converts your Phone’s into a Flashlight.

Enable and use your phone’s current magnifier or install the Magnifying Glass + app and read all those small letters. Use them to read a clear text and also use them to focus on objects and enlarge.

The image quality and zoom options of Magnifying Glass + depends on each smartphone’s camera.

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Enjoy the apps! Be certain to always discover the compatibility of an app with your phone. The listed apps are suggestions, so please add apps to your phone with discretion. Every few months we’ll suggest additional apps that have the potential to make life a little easier – a little nicer. Fred