A Mindfulness Bell sound is a wonderful mindfulness aid. Repeated throughout your day, this sound can be a great way to stop and pay attention and be present for one’s life. There are many shapes and forms of bell sounds available online. I’ll put some options in the bottom of this post. Bells and gong sounds tend to be used, rather than say a loud clang sound, because of the bell’s prolonged sound, which is attention getting, and pleasant as well, reasons to stop and pay attention.
In the west we may be more likely used to church bells, which can reach far, due to them being up high in a clock tower. Here too, this sound can be used as an opportunity to stop briefly what you’re doing just to listen and experience the present moment. In Buddhist culture, a bell or gong is more typically used.
Practicing breathing with the sound of the mindfulness bell
That said, I think many of us in the west do tend to tune the sounds out, so some conscious effort and intention is needed in order to benefit from the invitation of the bells. When you hear the sound of the bell, try to focus on taking 3-10 breaths. Not forced, but just conscious breaths. Letting the belly expand on the in breath, and empty out on the out breath. To get the most out of this mini meditation, it is best to stop whatever you’re doing, and simply stand, or sit without getting distracted. Try doing this for a minute or so, or whenever the sound fades away. Just 10 relaxing breaths can help us feel energized again and feel refreshed.
Using a mindfulness bell in front of a computer
If listening to the mindfulness bell when working at a computer, it may be of help to close your eyes for the duration of the meditation. Eyes tire of watching a computer screen all day, so small breaks for the eyes can be very beneficial. It is also a great opportunity to do a body scan, or check to make sure you are sitting in the best posture. Especially for folks working on a computer, it is helpful to pay attention to the neck and head. They have a tendency to lean forward into the screen over time. So another good reason to use a mindfulness bell, is that you can check your posture and make sure your shoulders are not tightening up from repetitive actions. When typing on your keyboard, the arms should ideally be relaxed, so that the shoulders are not going up, which creates tensions.
Using a mindfulness bell when doing other things
If you’re using a mindfulness bell when going about business in the house, or elsewhere, then a good approach when hearing the bell sound would be to take a mini break, and stop. This doesn’t have to be conspicuous if in a public place, you can simply stop to look around and take 3 deep and conscious breaths. Here too, you have an opportunity to check for internal posture, are you upright and are your shoulders relaxed? What was the breathing like right as the bell sounded? If the breathing was shallow, that is all the more reason to take a time-out and let the breathing return to a relaxed natural state. It is totally normal that our breathing goes out of whack in the busy type of world and times we live on, so there is no need to get discouraged when the breathing is found to be shallow and tight. It is just a reminder that we do need to take care of our breathing regularly. And if a mindfulness bell help with this, than that is one more great aid in this mindfulness practice.
Below is a list of some options for mindfulness bells.
YouTube Mindfulness Bells
- You can access a single mindful bell every 30 minutes for all day long, by going here, and bookmarking this page:
- This video has 3 bells every 30 minutes for 8 hours long. So you can turn it on in the morning and run it until the end of the work day. You can then either repeat it for the evening, or run it again the next day if for example at the office. The video shows a great sign to aid in being present, “This is it!”.
Since these Apps will change over time, describing them below would quickly become inaccurate information. Some are very simple, a random bell (or through specified interval) or buzzer throughout the day. Some have added guided meditations and instructions, visualizations, and even added videos or podcasts. My recommendation would be to check each of these Apps out first, read their description and revision information, and if possible try the free version. Also, check the reviews and ratings when you find the App in iTunes or the Google Android Play store. The ratings will quickly tell you what features people like, what’s missing, and whether it is an App you wish to purchase. Note that the Apps below are in quotations, as that is the actual name of each Mindfulness or Meditation App.
Android and iPhone
- “Meditation Mindfulness Timer”
- “Mindfulness Bell”
- “Meditation Helper”
- “Walking Meditations” (iPhone)
- “Insight Timer” (Amazon)
- “Quiet Time” (iPhone)
- “The Mindfulness App” (Android and iPhone)
- “Simply Being” (Android and iPhone)
- “Headspace” (Android and iPhone)
- “Meditate” (Android and iPhone)
- “Mindfulness Meditation” (Android and iPhone)
- “Calm” (Currently iPhone only)
- “Breathe2Relax” (Android and iPhone)
- “Buddhist Meditation Trainer” (Currently Android only)
- “Omvana” (Currently iPhone only)
- “Take a Break!” (Android and iPhone)
- “Buddhify” (Currently iPhone only)
- “Smiling Mind”(Currently iPhone only)
- “Simply Being” (Currently iPhone only)
There are a number of physical meditation timers as well that you can use as mindfulness timers (See here) as well. Hope this helps, and I’d love to here in the comments below if you use an App or mindfulness aid that helps you!