Be Mindful Online

Many times when we are on our computers or smartphones, we become completely lost in our work and forget to be in touch with ourselves.

You can program a bell of mindfulness on your computer or smartphone and every quarter of an hour (or as often as you like), the bell sounds so you have a chance to stop, breath and relax. Breathing in and out three times is enough to release the tension in the body and smile, and then continue your work. If we’re in the middle of a conversation, hearing the bell of mindfulness can be a helpful reminder to practice mindful, compassionate speech.

There are also virtual Sanghas, guided meditations, and other mindfulness tools available online. You may like to check out Plumline if you’d like to find a virtual sangha in the Plum Village Tradition (and don’t forget you can find a local group that meets up near you by checking out our international sangha directory).

Here are some mobile and desktop apps we hope you’ll find helpful in supporting your energy of mindfulness throughout the day.

Desktop Apps

Bell of Mindfulness (Browser Extension)
Operating System: Windows | Mac | Linux

This is a simple bell that reminds us to take a short pause from whatever we’re doing on the computer, and come back to our breathing. As Thich Nhat Hanh has taught, returning to our breathing reconnects us with our body and mind in the here and now. We have a chance to take care of any tension we find there – we can stretch, smile, relax for a short moment. Installing a bell on our computer is one of the surest ways to stay mindful of whatever we are doing.

Add Bell of Mindfulness to your Chrome browser
Add Bell of Mindfulness to your Firefox browser

Mindful Clock
Operating System: Windows | Mac | Linux

Another “mindfulness bell” app inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. You can download the entire program or just the bell sounds. You can set the bell to sound on a time interval, an exact time, or a random interval.

Download the program first, then download the bell sounds into your c:\Program Files\MindfulClock directory. Once the files have been downloaded, open the MindfulClock control and select the new sounds by double-clicking on the sound file names.

Download Mindful Clock (for Windows only)
Download bell sounds

You can also access an online version of the Mindful Clock on the Washington Mindfulness Community website or the Awakening Bell website.

Stillness Buddy
Operating System: Windows | Mac

Stillness Buddy is helping thousands of people around the world to live in the present moment, feel less stressed and happier, alive and more at peace.

Using key quotes and inspiring words from leading spiritual teachers, Stillness Buddy is like having a friend that, every now and then, gently reminds you to stop, breathe, center yourself again and then continue.

Download Stillness Buddy for Windows
Download Stillness Buddy for Mac

Time Out
Operating System: Mac

Time Out offers you easy break reminders, with flexible customization. You can set the whole screen to blur or change colour to encourage you to take a rest from time to time.

You can configure how long each kind of break lasts, and how long between breaks, and the breaks can be set to count backwards when you take a natural break, e.g. when you go away from your computer.

Download Time Out from iTunes

Stay Focusd
Browser extension

Thich Nhat Hanh has said that we need an intentional strategy to manage our media consumption in a mindful, awakened way. StayFocusd is a free app which empowers you to stick to your intention by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. For example, you could set a “healthy” time limit on news sites, of, say 5 or 10 minutes per day. There is also a new, paid version for phones and tablets.

Install browser extension for Chrome | Firefox
Download Stayfocusd Freedom App for iOS devices and Windows

AdBlock
Browser extension

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that “appropriate attention” is essential to being mindful. We need to be aware of the right things, not the wrong things.

If we want to cultivate a high quality of presence and concentration, we don’t want our attention being taken from us by unwanted advertisements. Ads are usually trying to sell us things we neither want nor need to be happy – or that are even toxic for body and mind. Adblock is a free app that replaces online ads with blank space.

Download Adblock for all browsers

Intently
Browser extension

If you like Adblock, you can also try Intently, which replaces unwanted ads with inspiring quotes and beautiful natural images of your choosing.

Download intently for your browser

 

Mobile Apps

MindBell
Operating System: Android

MindBell rings periodically during the day, to give you the opportunity to stop, breathe and smile. Stopping with the sound of the bell is an essential practice developed by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community, and is at the foundation of cultivating mindfulness, presence, and self-compassion throughout the day.

Additionally MindBell can be used as a meditation timer.

Download MindBell from Google Play

Spire: Mindfulness, Breath and Activity Tracker
Operating System: Android | iOS

Spire is a wearable breath and activity tracker that vibrates as soon as your breathing becomes irregular or tense, or if you’ve been sitting for longer than you wish. It’s a wonderful way to remind yourself to take a break, or stand up and stretch your legs. It also tracks “calm streaks” so you can learn to understand which times and places are calming for the body, and which are relaxing.

The Spire App now includes a full set of guided meditations and relaxations from Plum Village Dharma Teachers.

Download Spire from Google Play
Download Spire from iTunes

Insight Timer
Operating System: Android | iOS

Insight Timer is a fun, connected way to support your meditation practice. It includes free guided meditations from Thich Nhat Hanh and other leading meditation teachers. For those new to meditation, there are introductory guided meditations and a supportive community to help you get started.

Download Insight Timer (free version) from Google Play
Download Insight Timer Deluxe from Google Play
Download Insight Timer from iTunes

Menthal
Operating System: Android

Menthal provides feedback on your mobile phone usage, so you have the information you need to cultivate a strategy for how you use technology. It tracks the full range of interaction between you and your phone. Running in the background, it records, for example every time you unlock your phone, every time you start an app, and every time you receive a call. The app can tell you the total time you spent with your phone in a day, or the number of times you used a particular app, so you can make informed choices about how you would like to spend your time, and what habits you’d like to transform.

Download Menthal from Google Play

Headspace: Guided Meditation & Mindfulness
Operating System: Android | iOS

Headspace helps you cultivate the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness. If you subscribe, you can access to hundreds of meditations on everything from stress and anxiety to sleep and focus. There are sessions to help you build healthier relationships with the people you love, and SOS sessions to help you find a place of calm and relaxation during meltdown moments.

Download Headspace from Google Play
Download Headspace from iTunes

For recommendations on selecting mindfulness apps, you might also like to read this 2016 article from the Huffington Post.