Mindful meditation apps to try Image by: Getty Images
The benefits of daily meditation are well-documented, but it can be hard to get started. Here are a few apps that will help you.
The health benefits of mindfulness and meditation are myriad. From reducing stress and managing anxiety to acting as a sleep aid and sharpening concentration, the act of taking the time to sit and quiet your mind has proven to be an effective way to tackle the problems of everyday life.
But beginning a mindful meditation practice is easier said, than done, especially without a bit of help. It's the reason why we like the idea of using an app to help track, maintain and enourage a meditation practice with a bit of guidance.
Here are a few of the apps you should check out.
Co-founded by a former monk, Andy Puddicombe, Headspace is probably the app you’ve heard of if you’ve looked into guided meditation. The exercises on the app range from managing stress to helping sleep to promoting focus. You can start with the basics, which are free, and then work your way to more specific or advanced sessions. Headspace also has specific practices geared towards kids and companies if you’re looking for options
Cost: Ten Sessions Free, $12.99 USD/month
Calm boasts plenty of playlists geared towards different intentions (sleep, focus, stress) or specific activities or people (commuting, college students). Opt for soothing music (or not) and calm-inducing wallpaper to get started on the foundational practices that offer 7-day programs in many different areas. Calm also features sleep stories, which are basically bedtime stories that help you transition to sleep. Calm will also synch with Google Fit if you want to track your meditation.
Cost: Some sessions are Free, $12.99 USD/month or $59.99 USD/year
What sets Buddhify apart from other meditation apps it that it tackles meditation on the go, and provides specific practices for wherever you are—at work, when you’re at your computer, when you’re waiting for something, even when you’re with a friend. The team behind the app also boasts a diverse range of people—including a gender-balanced team led by a husband and wife duo. The other thing that sets Buddhify apart is its one-time low fee. No monthly subscription here.
Apparently, Smiling Mind was originally designed with children in mind—but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the rewards too. The best news is, this app, which is 100% not for profit—is completely free. Though if you’re feeling generous, donations are accepted. Practice 10 minute sessions to increase wellbeing and mindfulness.
If you’re looking for a bit more customization and control with your meditation, you might try Insight Timer. You can set the amount of time you want to meditate for, set notification intervals, pick your background sounds and customize other sounds like the ending bell. If that’s a little too much freedom, they also offer guided meditation playlists as well. You’ll also find communities to engage with, with different mediated message groups.
Cost: Free or $2.99 USD/month for paid features
Probably the best option for people who find it hard to make time for meditation, Aura is all about making meditation a daily practice by offering short, 3-minute sessions daily. You answer a few questions about your mood and Aura’s algorithm picks a meditation for you to practice that day. At the end, you answer a few more questions about how you’re feeling. You can save your favourites, or opt for something new. You can track your mood trends, and Aura offers a breathing exercise too, called mindful breathers.
Cost: Free or $12.00 USD/month for premium