An App that Helps Physicians Focus on Wellbeing

April 19, 2018
Victor Abuel, DO

As physicians, we tend to care for the wellbeing of others such as our patients or our family members. This app helps us help ourselves.

Wellness.

As physicians, we tend to care for the wellbeing of others such as our patients or our family members. But we tend to neglect another important person - us. By nature, I believe that is how most of us are hardwired. We’ll get to ourselves in a little bit after I take care of this for so and so and do this for such and such. But honestly how often do you actually return to yourself? Not doing so can lead to stress and burnout.

Aura is an app that claims to target stress, anxiety, and depression. It is a perfect option for people who are looking to increase their daily mindfulness practice by using a simple app. It allows the user to start their day with tailored meditation practices that help them have a positive mindset throughout their day. These can be a short three minute (or seven minute with subscription) guided meditations that will allow users to form a healthy morning and evening routine that helps them live a happier life. If a short meditation isn’t enough, you can listen to relaxing sounds or try the "Mindful Breather" feature, which shows an animated circle that expands and contracts. You need to synchronize your breath to the circle. The home screen also encourages you to write down something you are grateful, which acts as another tool for well being.

It is a great app if you are at the start of focusing on personal wellness. It is not complicated in terms of its interface. It is also great for those who do not have time to meditate. The app provides a short simple meditation a day which might be all that you need.

As you use the app more and become more mindful of the meditations, consistency develops. You can provide the app feedback following each session, as well as on your overall mood and the mindset it helps to create for you. The feedback helps tailor your next meditation session to what you need and want.

Even though there is a subscription model to this app, the free version allows anyone to listen to meditations designed for specific moods anytime of the day. You can also set goals for each day and sync the to Google calendar to monitor your progress.

As I mentioned there are two tiers to the app

There is the Basic Aura app which is free and available for both iOS (Apple) devices and Android devices. The free option provides you:
-3-minute meditations every morning
-Mindful Breather plus reminders
-Nature sounds for unguided meditations
-Gratitude reflections
-Daily goal monitoring with Google Calendar integration
-Personalized meditations

Then there is Aura Premium. This is an in app purchase to the subscription model, which you sign up for. The subscription version can cost $11.99 monthly. There is also an annual subscription offered for $94.99 (which breaks down to $7.92 per month). There is also a lifetime subscription for a whopping $399, which is a one-time purchase. If you look online you may be able to find some special offers like I did. I was able to purchase a lifetime subscription for just $60. Not only do you receive the aforementioned features from the free tier, but you also gain access to
-Unlimited meditations based on your emotions
-3 or 7-minute meditation durations based on your availability and comfort
-Full mood tracking

After using it for some time, it provides me a moment where I begin my day energized and focused. I find as health care providers, we tend to be hypocritical when it come to caring for ourselves. We need to focus on us as much as we focus on those we care for. Let Aura provide you that moment in your day to re-center yourself, re-focus yourself, and rejuvenate mentally in our crazy and hectic worlds.

I give Aura 3 ½ /4 stethoscopes

Pros:
Easily fits into one’s schedule with short sessions
Uses machine learning to customize your meditations
Monitor your progress
Clean, uncluttered interface
iOS and Android compatible
Also compatible for iPads, Apple Watch
Feature packed free tier
Great for beginners

Cons:
To unlock all features, subscription model required
Cost can be prohibitive (look online to find deals, I found a lifetime subscription for $60)