The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are irrefutable, with a few minutes of calm helping people regain focus, enhance self-awareness, and manage stress. It is easy to see why the practice has been gaining a following in recent years. In fact, in 2017, the National Center for Health Statistics showed that 14.2% of Americans are incorporating meditation in their routine.
Thankfully, mindful living and meditative practices are very accessible. Some practitioners gather at meditation studios, while others pursue calm and mental clarity through instructional videos and meditation books. But with a growing number of mindfulness apps entering the market, consumers can now also get their daily dose of serenity at any time and almost anywhere. If you like the notion of having access to calm and clarity in the palm of your hand, here are eight mindfulness apps to get you started:
Calm was cited as Apple’s App of the Year for 2017 and led the pack as one of the most downloaded mindfulness apps. Whether you are looking to reduce anxiety, get better sleep, improve focus, reduce stress or develop gratitude, this mindfulness app helps users sort out the objective from the get-go. Upon installation, users are asked to identify a primary goal for meditating. The app then organizes various meditation sessions based on those goals. Calm can be downloaded for free on any iOS or Android phone and offers multiple free guided meditation sessions. It also provides other features such as soothing sleep stories, mindful movement, ambient music and meditation for kids. Access all features through Calm’s Annual ($59.99) or Lifetime ($399.00 billed once) membership.
Stop Breath and Think (SBT)
Stop Breathe and Think (SBT) is a mindfulness app that aims to check in with how their users are truly feeling at a specific moment. SBT does this by analyzing the user’s mood through a short survey and creating a meditation based on the survey results—now this is what we call customization! Free membership allows the user to access a wide range of meditation sessions including “gratitude”, “mindful breathing”, “compassion” and “forgiving yourself”. By buying a premium membership, users gain access to 100+ activities, including meditation, breathing, yoga and acupressure, a customized meditation timer and a breathing timer. SBT also shares 10% of the company’s revenue in helping at-risk youth.
Headspace is a guided meditation app that can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android phones. Try Headspace for free to access the basics of meditation through a 30-day Foundation period. Access the rest of the sessions via monthly- or annual subscriptions, or a monthly family plan. Headspace offers practical sessions on mindful eating, meditations tapping the benefits of walking, and sessions for anxious moments like interviews, difficult conversations, and even the fear of flying. Headspace is considered one of the leading mindfulness apps for creating session packs organized to answer meditation needs for specific life circumstances. For instance, the health pack offers sessions on coping with cravings, managing anxiety, and mindful eating.
The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App aims to bring meditation to everyone no matter which level or type of meditation practice you belong to. The app interface is crisp and sensible. One tab is allotted for meditation where users can set meditation schedules, choose whether it’s guided or unguided, and view their favorite meditation sessions. On the other tab, users have an overview of meditation statistics such as time meditated, average time, number of sessions taken, and daily streak. The Mindfulness App is free to download and comes with a limited number of meditations and courses. Going premium for $54.99 annually means access to over 250 guided meditations and courses with themes around stress relief, sleep, focus, emotions, and relationships.
Simple Habit is a no-frills, no-fuss meditation app for people on the go. Need some quiet time to “find your center”? Simple Habit helps users meditate at work while commuting, and before big events. As a Google Standout Well-Being App Awardee, Simple Habit also aims to be the Spotify of Meditation by giving users access to a wide array of meditation experts, coaches, therapists, and psychologists from around the world. Users can access Simple Habit’s entire library in monthly-, yearly- and lifetime membership tiers.
Insight Timer offers the largest free library of guided meditations. Access 12,000 meditations and music tracks, a meditation Timer, Stats, Charts, Milestones, and Group without spending a single cent. However, for a membership fee of $5.00 per month, premium users can access additional benefits such as The Daily Insight, a catalog of courses, night mode, and offline listening. As one of the leading mindfulness apps on the market, Insight Timer believes that “Magic happens when you give meditation away for free.”
Buddhify allows customization, editing and creating a wheel of meditation that suits each user’s need. For users looking to deepen their understanding of the meditation practice, signing up for membership allows access to new key features including Transmission, Formal and Together.
10% Happier is a meditation app based on a bestselling book “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book” written by Dan Harris. As the title of the book suggests, this mindfulness app is for people who appreciate the benefits and mental clarity but are not yet comfortable with the practice. The app offers a series of meditation courses ranging from mindful eating, to how to be more compassionate, to how meditation benefits the brain. If you are looking for something practical, meaningful and relatable from the mindfulness apps out there, 10% Happier is the app for you.
A cluttered state of mind takes away the opportunity to bring our best self into the game. As speaker and bestselling author Steve Maraboli states, “A lack of clarity could put the brakes on any journey to success,” Truly, setting aside time to meditate and be in the moment is a vital step towards our overall health, wellbeing, and success.