If I told you there was an app designed by the Department of Defense that offers audio mindfulness exercises to relax the body and mind, how would you feel? Surprised? Excited? There is already an endless supply of resources in the military, but this one feels different. Somehow, it’s more intimate and personal. It meets you wherever you are, whenever you need it and you don’t even need Wi-Fi.
Taking a step away from the busyness of life to sit quietly and meditate can do wonders for lowering stress levels. Mindfulness exercises have been proven to help create calm by slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and reducing the level of stress hormone in the body. It’s a technique that works for service members, spouses and children. In fact, I did the first one with my nine-year-old daughter! The app is simple, making it very user-friendly. Once downloaded, the app lands on a straightforward home page. There is a brief explanation and six options to choose from. The first is an overview explaining what Chill Drills are. Then, there are five Chill Drills to choose from. Some are targeted for back pain and stress release, and there are more general Chill Drills, like ‘Tuning In’ and ‘Getting to Sleep.’ A ‘Music to Chill By’ drill helps lull you to sleep. After having the app for a month now, I can tell you I use this resource more often than any other! My top three favorites are:
- Chill Drill 5: Music to Chill By. The perfect combination for me is to draw a nice warm bath, and soak while listening to the music. I recently started working inside an elementary school. There is nothing I want more than a bath when I get home. For the quiet and 20 minutes of stillness. Adding the ‘Music to Chill By’ has elevated my level of relaxation. It also helps drown out the rowdy noise coming from inside my house by my two little ones. *Moms, I’m talking to you! This is the perfect getaway noise when you need a break from the nonstop audio stimulation you get 24/7!
- Chill Drill 2: Releasing Stress. This is the very first drill I did with my nine-year-old. As soon as I downloaded the app, I wanted to try one right away. My daughter had just finished school and she wanted to hang out. So, I suggested we try this, and she jumped at the opportunity. We both laid down and listened to the 10-minute mindfulness exercise. This drill focuses on different parts of your body and is designed to rid your mind of negative thoughts. It was very calming. And we both felt relaxed once the 10 minutes were up. The best part about doing these drills repetitively is it helps lower your baseline stress level. This is something we are going to continue doing together, and I love that it’s just as beneficial to her as it is to me!
- Chill Drill 4: Getting to Sleep. The night before a big day, I love playing ‘Chill Drill 4’ for both my kids. My four-year-old is also a fan. Most nights, both the kids still have some energy when they get into bed. But, similar to how they calm down after reading a long book, the drill seems to help their bodies quiet and slow down enough for them to realize how tired they are. With military kids going through so many different life changes compared to some of their civilian counterparts, it’s nice to have this resource ready at hand to help calm in any situation that they find themselves dealing with. Although I’m talking about this drill and how it affects my kids, I find it calming and helpful as well.
To sum it all up, this resource is vastly different than any other military resource I’ve come across. I’m very glad that Military OneSource and DOD have put in the effort to make this so easily available. The more we learn about mindfulness and slowing down, the more we learn how beneficial it is in life and in stress situations, like deployments and re-deployments. I’m excited to see how this app makes its way into more military lives and how it helps us de-stress.