Our lives are busier than ever before, and one great way to combat all that stress is a daily practice of meditation. Here are five of the best meditation apps to help make this an effortless part of your routine.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice of calming the mind and cultivating awareness to help change your perspective. Our minds are often a tumble of racing thoughts as we juggle work, family, and personal matters. Meditation helps us to slow down, relax, and become more aware of what we are thinking and feeling. The goal is to put you back in the present moment and have an awareness of things but not to pass judgment on them or try to change them in any way.
The Immense Benefits of Meditation
There are tremendous benefits to meditation. Even most western health practitioners acknowledge the health benefits of daily meditation. When used regularly, meditation can transform the mind and body. It helps you to see situations, thoughts, and feelings more clearly. Meditation helps you to focus, makes you feel calmer and more relaxed throughout the day, and enables you to sleep better.
Because meditation helps you to manage your mind more effectively, it can improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Meditation also helps you to develop self-awareness, so you understand yourself better and those around you. For some people, it helps alleviate pain, improves sleep, decreases blood pressure, and heals other ailments.
Different Types of Meditation
Meditation is not a one-size-fits-all package. There are many different types of meditation, and as this practice becomes more popular, the options are expanding.
Within the realm of meditation apps, there are guided meditations, mindfulness meditations, and sleep meditations, along with many others that focus on a particular area of interest.
Guided meditations are very popular because many people find it difficult to clear their minds without some direction. The author will usually speak in a slow, relaxed voice and guide the user into closing their eyes, taking a few deep breaths and relaxing. They will then walk them through the entire meditation process, prompting them when to focus on the breath and when to listen for the topic of the day. Guided meditations are especially helpful for beginners.
Mindfulness is a practice of becoming more present in each moment rather than sleepwalking through your day. With so much to do and even more to think about, it’s easy to forget where we are, what we are doing, and how this present moment feels. Mindfulness meditation helps to develop a stronger sense of awareness and teaches techniques to bring you back to the present moment over and over again. When we get caught up in the past or the future, we lose sight of the smells, feelings, texture, and colors that are all around us right now.
Sleep meditations are really helpful for those of us who have trouble falling or staying asleep. This flavor of meditation guides the user into a peaceful, relaxed state and helps them drift off more quickly and deeply so they can get the rest that their bodies and minds desperately need. Many sleep meditations use nature soundtracks or other relaxing music.
How to Choose the Best Apps
With so many meditation apps on the market, it can be hard to know which to choose. The best meditation app for you may not be for someone else. It all comes down to personal preference and what you want it to do for you. You also need to factor in your comfort level and how much guidance you will need. Some other things to think about when choosing an app are:
- Does the app offer free meditations?
- How many different types of meditations are they offering?
- Are they guided or self-motivated?
- Do the meditations target specific areas of interest important to me?
- What is the cost of the app?
Sometimes it all comes down to flexibility. If the app offers the best mix of guided and un-guided meditations for different purposes, it’s probably the best one for you. It’s also a good idea to check reviews before purchasing a new app.
Best Meditation Apps Out There
There are dozens of meditation apps to choose from in the mobile marketplace, but here are some of our favorites:
Best Free Meditation Apps
Insight Timer – this is the most widely used, free meditation app out there. It has 15,000 free meditations so that many people will never need to pay for a thing. It also offers a paid subscription and other in-app purchases.
This app allows you to customize your meditation time, and this can be a big positive for many people. Insight Timer also has a lot of community features linking you to other users. This may or may not be of use to you, and the extensive library can be exciting or overwhelming.
Calm Meditation – another top-rated free meditation app and one of our personal favorites is Calm Meditation. Tamara Levitt is the author and her compassionate voice, paired with the soothing sounds of nature, put you at ease before you even begin meditating. Each meditation is expertly guided with a unique theme of bringing more awareness into your day.
This app offers a paid subscription ($60/year) to access even more programs to help with overeating, relationships, anxiety, stress at work, and lifestyle issues. The “Daily Calm” is a ten-minute meditation focused on a different topic each day. Visually this app is appealing and easy to use.
The Breathing App – co-authored by Deepak Chopra, is focused solely on breathing techniques to help you relax, slow down, and deepen your awareness.
This app is aimed at improving your physical condition by slowing your blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and balancing your emotional awareness. The Breathing App is simple without any extra bells and whistles so it might or might not work for you.
Best Paid Meditation Apps
The Tapping Solution – was developed by Nick Ortner, who has written books on the benefits of tapping. This app is more than just a mindful tool. Using the combined benefits of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and your own body’s energy centers, this meditation app offers instant relief for a variety of issues.
There are meditations to help with anxiety, fear, negative interactions with others, sleep issues, pain, and other emotional stumbling blocks. This one offers a few free meditations, but you really have to pay for the subscription to get the full benefit.
Headspace – is a well-known meditation app using sleep techniques with soothing sounds and nature soundscapes.
This app offers guided meditations for kids and even mini-meditations for when you don’t have a lot of time but want to fit in some mindfulness. It’s free for a 7-day trial, and then you have to pay for a subscription of $95/year.
Regardless of which app you choose, starting on the path to daily meditation is the right choice. Not only will you feel better, be more focused, calm, and productive, but you will experience life more fully on your terms.