Ok… so therapist might be stretching it a bit, but if you have an Amazon Alexa or something alike, you’ll know she has a lot of potential. Depending on what you already have in terms of Kindle, Audible, Spotify etc. she can make it incredibly easy to alter your state/pull yourself out of a bad mood. Yes – I know – it might not seem like a massive leap between going into an app to play guided meditation, and asking Alexa to play one on command. But to someone who is struggling with anxiety, depression or just plain of self-sabotage, it is. Frankly, anything that makes it easier to help yourself is a positive step forward.
Here’s my top 10 Alexa commands that will at the very least distract you from a bad mood:
- “Alexa – Play ‘Seal: Kiss from a Rose’ from Spotify.” Mr. G often laughs about how easily manipulated I am through music. I can be in the biggest hormonal slump, but if an old faithful like this comes on, I have to sing. It’s terrible for those around me as I am completely tone deaf, but it makes me feel amazing!
- “Alexa – Play ambient sounds: ‘Rain on Tent’.” Living in England, you wouldn’t think there’d be much call for artificial rain noises, but sometimes on a quiet night when it isn’t raining, this is just what you need. There are a range of ambient sounds that provide background noise as you read/write/dust… and they will stay in the background without becoming a distraction. If you’re struggling with insomnia, why not experiment with drifting off to the sound of campfire or the ocean? Just be warned – your cats might find ‘bird noises’ a little too realistic!
- “Alexa – Make me smile:” Inspirational thoughts to call on when you need it. What Alexa lacks in expression and tone, she makes up for in wisdom. If you’re not a fan of this particular command, there are plenty of others that may suit your needs.
- “Alexa – Open guided mediation.” Whether you’re using this to aid sleep or as a quick-fix relaxation activity when you’re feeling stress/anxiety etc. it’s pretty cool that you can initiate a guided meditation through voice command. There are quite a few meditation ‘skills,’ so you might want to try a few depending on what you like. I really love ‘1-minute mindfulness’ with its little burst of ambient sounds and peace, but sometimes I need something longer.
- “Alexa – Play ‘Ruby Wax: Frazzled’ from Audible/Kindle.” As a fan of self-help, I’ve gained a nice little collection of useful and inspirational books over the years, some as audio books on Audible and some as book books on Kindle. The reading from Audible sounds better, because it’s spoken by a professional voice actor, but considering that Kindle books are generally a lot cheaper, it’s brilliant to know that Alexa will convert these to easy-listening for you! I find that listening to books – self-help or fiction – can turn dreary housework into an altogether relaxing and enjoyable experience.
- “Alexa – Open easy yoga. Alexa – Ask easy yoga for morning yoga.” Yoga is such a lovely way to start or end the day and I find the woman’s voice here really soothing. Usually, I choose a yoga clip from Youtube and play from there, and so I thought I’d really struggle not being able to mimic actions of someone one screen. Actually, I found that without the distraction of watching someone else, I was able to concentrate more mindfully on my breath and movements.
- “Alexa – Ask hypnotherapist to play a session.” Clinical hypnotist of 20 years, Barry Thain, currently offers 8 different sessions based on a range of different issues. Even if you’re a skeptic, there’s no harm in trying! I’ve tried a few different sessions so far, and so far haven’t danced around like a chicken (as far as I know…)
- “Alexa – Ask TED Talks for something funny.” As you may know, I’m a big fan of TED talks, particularly as a washing-up aid. While it’s a little more awkward using Alexa to play talks, as opposed to searching for specific titles on the web, the upside is that you often find yourself listening to fascinating people with fascinating ideas and stories, who you might have discounted previously because they weren’t in your specific field of interest.
- “Alexa – Launch Fitness Exercises.” Sometimes, being told to do a 60-second ‘plank’ is just the distraction you need, though you might not appreciate this at the time.
- “Alexa – Shut up.” Don’t overdo it. Alexa needs peace and quiet now and then, just like you.
Have you had any luck with Alexa? Has she distracted you from bad moods with any of the commands above? Do you prefer the fart jokes or fanfare when you walk into the room? Has she made your angry when she repeatedly lies about ‘not being able to understand you?’ Whatever your experience, comment below!