Holiday stress got you down? How about job stress? Travel stress? Facing-another-dreary-day stress? Here's my favorite: you're having trouble sleeping, which stresses you out, so then you have even greater trouble sleeping.
Whatever's ailing your brain, mindfulness meditation can help. A lot. And a great place to start is with Buddhify 2, an app for Android and iOS that costs $2.99, £1.99 or AU$3.79.
I first encountered this nearly a year ago, and I can safely say it's one of my favorite apps of 2014. Buddhify serves up a wealth of guided meditations -- over 80, double the number in the previous version -- that mostly run just 5-10 minutes.
These are categorized into sections under the heading, "What are you doing?" Thus there are meditations for situations such as Traveling, Can't Sleep, Feeling Stressed, and even Eating and Waiting Around. New in this version: At Home, Difficult Emotions and Pain & Illness.
For any given section, you'll see a star next to any meditation you haven't yet listened to -- a welcome addition. However, Buddhify still lacks a favorites option, so you can't quickly jump to the meditations you like best. You have to navigate the awkward color-wheel interface (which, quite frankly, needs an overhaul).
The new Together screen shows which tracks are most popular among other Buddhify users, along with various questions and answers and the option to ask a question of your own.
Despite its minor interface flaws, Buddhify offers meditation newcomers a wealth of content for a mere three bucks. If you can spare that, along with 5-10 minutes per day, you should find yourself calmer, happier and better able to cope with stress. I speak from experience.