Better Zen Through Technology: The 7 Best Meditation Apps
It may seem strange to use a phone app to help you meditate. After all, our constant connection to technology is often a source of stress itself, causing us to need meditation in the first place.
But considering how important meditation is (and how low we often put meditation on our priority list), we sometimes need some extra help if we're going to stay physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. And that help is as close as your smartphone.
Whether you're new to meditation or are an experienced practitioner, there's a perfect app out there to help you bring meditation into your daily life; No matter how busy you are. Here are some of the best apps that can help you breathe, stay focused, find your mantra, and achieve that elusive inner peace.
Headspace is a great app for the user who's just beginning to explore meditation. Its centerpiece is a series of exercises for beginners called Take 10: ten exercises, for ten minutes each, designed to introduce users to the practice.
After you complete Take 10, you can purchase additional exercises to move forward. If you're looking to experiment with the fundamentals of meditation, Headspace is a friendly host to help you begin your journey. (Bonus: the app's recent update offers an actual "Panic Button" which users can hit when an extra shot of calmness is needed in a stressful situation.)
User agree that Calm is a great tool for beginners while also offering tons of programs for intermediate and advanced users. One of the great things about this app is its versatility: Calm offers guided meditation sessions for needs like Managing Stress, Calming Anxiety, and Focus.
The sessions are available in a range of duration's from 3 minutes to 25, which can fit even the busiest of schedules. There's even a handy session to use while commuting to work or school (Just don't bliss out for too long at a stop light).
Other features include sleeping and breathing timers, and a gallery of nature scenes and soundscapes. Be sure to check out Sleep Stories - over 25 calm bedtime stories for grown-ups, designed to encourage deep, stress-free slumber.
Described as the best free app in the App Store, Insight Timer offers many of the standard tools: guided meditations in soothing tones, timers to help you focus on the practice and not on how many minutes are ticking by, and a progress tracker.
And it also gives users the opportunity to connect with a larger community with its Groups option, where you can set meditation goals shared by other users, and make your mindfulness progress together. At any time, you can see how many global users are meditating with you, and share a sense of connection with others. Voted one of the Top 50 Apps of the Year by Time magazine.
This friendly app offers 55 different guided meditations for just about any daily goal, from maintaining peace in busy settings, to mindfulness when dealing with stressful relationships, to engaging in acts of forgiveness and patience.
It comes with an Emotion Gauge where users can pinpoint what they're feeling (frustration, excitement, worry, gratitude) and let the app choose the right meditation activity. The app also has a built in function to track your progress (for those who want to win at meditating -- just kidding).
Reviewers appreciate the simplicity of the format and the soothing tones used by the speakers in the over 55 different sessions. Subscribers can pay a monthly fee for additional meditations beyond the original set.
Specifically designed to enable sleep, Relax Melodies still qualifies as a great meditation app that can bring the peace necessary for a full night's rest.
The app offers a range of white noise and soothing melodies for bedtime. Add to that a guided meditation (and a timer/alarm to gently wake users after a night of deep slumber), and you've got both a great tool for meditation, and a cure for anxious, sleepless nights.
This friendly app offers guided daily meditations to help users with everything from weight loss to workplace performance. After exhausting the offerings on the free version, users can pay for a full subscription.
It can get a bit pricey ($12.99 for a monthly membership, $89.99 for a full year), but does offer guided meditations that meet different needs and new sessions are offered regularly.
For the more dedicated practitioners, The Mindfulness App comes fully loaded with fun features. Included with this app are meditation schedules, daily reminders, and different timers that can free you of those distracting "How much time is left?" thoughts.
This app may have more bells and whistles than some people need, but its popular with the more hardcore users looking for new meditation options. You have the option to subscribe to the app's premium services for over 200 different guided meditations and courses.
Bottom line: Meditation apps can help you get things done! Some apps may offer more extras than others, but all of them provide encouragement and helpful reminders to make sure you stay on track with your meditation practice. Plus you can get pretty far with the variety of free apps out there, so you don't have to spend a dollar...ever if you don't want to.