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By Jo Cooper

It was a tense moment. The phlebotomist had tried drawing blood from both of my arms without success, and had left the room in search of a colleague to take over. I sat, band aids and bruises in the crooks of my arms, curious about how this next attempt would go… when I had a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). It wasn’t all down to the technician — I could help! I just had to riffle through the rolodex in my brain to find the right resources.

When the new technician appeared, I was ready with a suggestion: what about a warm pack? That had helped on a previous occasion. Sounded good to her. She applied the pack and departed again while my arm warmed up. Then I had another thought: calm.com. I pulled out my iPhone and opened the app, selected a peaceful nature recording, and laid my phone on the table, breathing slowly and mindfully to the music of natural sounds.

The technician returned and began the procedure, then paused, cocking her head. “What…is…that?” she asked, looking around the room. I pointed to my phone. She shook her head in wonderment, smiling. We were both relaxed while she easily drew tube after tube of blood for my lab tests. We had fun talking about mindfulness and healthy cooking, and when I left she grabbed a pen to write down the name of the app. “I’m getting this tonight!” she said, “I’m going to use this for all my patients. Sorry for the trouble today… but you were meant to be here. Think of all the people this will help!”

Once again, mindfulness pays off 🙂

Anh Nguyen, the Center’s Web Developer, adds:
I love calm.com. I will love it more when they release their version for Android. I use it everyday now on my laptop and even have it running in a loop (minus the voice) at night sometimes. Makes a great virtual backdrop to the evening. Who needs an office with an aquarium or a room with a view when you have calm.com.

And FYI – there is both a free and paid version of this app.