If there was ever a time to find your Zen, it’s now. While we try to maintain our physical health by exercising and eating right, our mental health needs regular workouts too, and one way to do that is through meditation. There is a lot of technology out there claiming to help with that, so we evaluated the best apps to help you find nirvana.
Meditation is an exercise in mindfulness through various techniques that include breathing while focusing on specific words, objects or activities. Practiced for thousands of years by scholars, yogis and spiritual guides, it has gone from being considered a somewhat unconventional method of healing to being much more mainstream.
Modern research indicates that meditation can help with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, as well as physical issues like chronic pain, IBS and migraines. And while it doesn’t replace traditional medicine, it can work as an integrated part of treatment and has been shown to reduce general stress and anxiety.
Here’s our roundup of some of the top apps to help you master meditation:
If you’ve never meditated before, Headspace can be a great starting point. With simple instructions that guide you through each practice, you can enjoy hundreds of meditations that are geared toward mindfulness, wellness and peace. It also tracks your progress and can be synced with Apple Health. It’s free to install, but you’ll have to subscribe if you want to enjoy more than the very basic aspects.
One of Apple’s “Best of 2018” winners, Calm provides not only guided meditations, but breathing programs, stretching exercises and relaxing sounds and music. Sessions range from 3 – 25 minutes in length, so you can choose what works best for your schedule. Calm also offers “Sleep Stories,” which are bedtime stories geared toward both adults and children, and are helpful in easing the most restless minds before bed. The basic app has a few different resources, but you’ll want to unlock Calm Premium to access the full site.
Breethe offers subscribers not only guided meditation sessions, but also personal mindfulness coaches, hypnotherapy and masterclasses from top personal growth teachers. Their 12-week meditation program is purported to progressively increase your meditation skills, and they also have programs for kids and teens. The app is available on phones, tablet or computer and can be synced with all devices to keep your progress up to date.
Walking you through a variety of guided meditations to ease stress and help work through life’s daily challenges, Guided Mind has more than 400 meditations to choose from, as well as nature soundscapes, loops, and instrumental tracks. The free app has more than 40 meditations and 14 nature soundscapes, and the in-app purchases offer an almost unlimited amount of meditations for both novice and experienced meditators.
With more than 200 meditations to choose from, Buddhify truly has a little something for everyone. The app focuses on bringing mindfulness to all aspects of our everyday lives, whether it be time at home, work or travel. Sessions range from 3 – 40 minutes and include a wide range of teachers, as well as content for kids. There is a charge for the basic app, and additional in-app purchases if you want the perks of full membership.
Insight Timer is a user-friendly app that has daily meditations, discussion groups, inspirational talks, music and soothing sounds to help you relax. It works in tandem with Apple Health and tracks your progress through stats and milestones. The free portion of the app has literally thousands of mediations, music tracks and discussions, and you can make use of the in-app purchases for more personalized instruction and courses.