Take a break and download one of these 6 best apps for meditation and mindfulness
It’s so easy with deadlines, chores, and responsibilities to lose sight of our own needs, wants, and goals, and taking these pauses—if only for a few minutes. This can drastically enhance one’s mood and mental clarity. In fact, mindfulness and meditation are scientifically proven to not only strengthen mental health, but also ease symptoms associated with physical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and psoriasis. But not all meditation apps are created equal. We’ve scoured the Internet for the best of the best, including an option that is entirely free and a few that are perfect for beginners. Take a deep breath and check out the six that topped our list.
With nearly two million five-star reviews, we’d be remiss to not lead with the company that started a movement: Calm. This uber-popular app offers six categories of content: Meditation (how to learn the skill), Sleep (stories and sounds geared towards catching Zzzs), Music (orchestrated to help you focus, relax, or sleep), Body (video lessons on movement and gentle stretching), Masterclass (audio programs taught by mindfulness experts), and Scenes (nature scenes and sounds to help you relax). Users have raved about its ability to boost productivity while reducing anxiety levels, making it a necessary (albeit somewhat expensive) investment.
Cost: $13/month or $70/year
Branded as a “gym membership for your mind,” Headspace is the gold standard when it comes to guided meditation techniques and courses. Practically anyone can use it, which makes it one of the best choices for beginners who are either skeptical or intimidated by the idea of relaxing, controlled breathing, and forcing yourself to sit upright in a quiet environment. After just a few uses, you’ll inevitably get hooked and make this part of your morning routine to start each day on the right foot.
If the thought of shelling out hard-earned cash alone causes anxiety, Insight Timer is a wonderful free option with more than a whopping 100,000 guided meditations. Though the library of content is diverse, it definitely lends itself better to those who have a basic understanding of meditation and the types that work for them. That said, the teachers they’ve chosen are some of the most respected in their fields and really go out of their way to ensure you’re achieving mindfulness in a way that’s effective and time-sensitive.
Ten Percent Happier
Based on the New York Times best-selling memoir that bears the same name, Dan Harris’s Ten Percent Happier lives up to its title’s promise with a variety of guided meditations to help you control breathing, stay balanced, increase your capacity for joy, and quiet your mind to sleep. The app also puts a major emphasis on sourcing some of the best meditation teachers in the world, which is why the annual cost is one of the highest on this list. These instructors have gone above and beyond to share their knowledge and expertise in a way that isn’t intimidating, making meditation feel less like a chore and more like a much-needed break from reality.
If your first thought towards meditation and mindfulness is “I don’t have time for this,” then this is the app for you. Designed for the busiest of bees who simply don’t know how to pause and smell the roses, Simple Habit allows you to choose content that aligns with your lifestyle (even if you can only take part for 30 seconds). The goal is to turn these interactions into daily habits so that you can prioritize mental health just as much as the mundane tasks you seemingly can’t get enough of.
Cost: Free for basic, but $12.99/month or $99/year for premium
This app’s intent is not to convert you to Buddhism. Instead, it’s to take the spiritual religion’s celebrated principles of calmness, clarity, and kindness and apply them to your everyday life. There is a significant emphasis on the latter, which we all could strive to show a little more of in our interactions with people. Buddhify is also extremely user-friendly with a Wheel of Fortune-esque graphic that allows you to customize a meditation session based on your current mood or where you’re located.
Cost: $4.99 flat rate to download or $30/year for membership