Meditation can be a great way to increase mindfulness and presence in your life. But where do you start? For many, it starts with in-person counseling sessions with a psychologist where you can receive ongoing mental health care with a treatment plan that fits your needs. Others may turn to meditation apps that feature guided meditations, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness routines to keep you present.
The free Calm app is available on iOS and Android to teach mindfulness and peace of mind. The app features several calming exercises and breathing techniques. A section for kids even helps children learn techniques to reduce anxiety. It also contains a collection of Sleep Stories from celebrities like Matthew McConaughey. A recent update for the app makes it compatible with the Apple Watch. There are three different breathing exercises, a walking meditation, and a few calming exercises available on the watch interface. While the app itself is free, you can purchase additional guided meditations.
Headspace is another guided meditation app that is aimed at nighttime use. The app features ten sleep tracks and sixteen different nature tracks for creating a relaxing sleep environment. Users can build a personalized sleep plan based on their preferred tracks. While Headspace does feature a few guided meditations, it is primarily aimed at people who have trouble getting to sleep. Users can build a personalized sleep plan that caters to their sleep patterns.
The Mindfulness App
Meditation beginners should start with The Mindfulness App and its guided sessions. The app is available for free on iOS and Android but does contain some in-app purchases. Users can choose from guided or silent meditations, with reminders to stick with their routine. A meditation journal keeps track of your feelings before and after you meditate so you can track your progress. The app’s five-day guided meditation eases newbies into practicing mindfulness.
The Buddhify app features over 200 meditations that can help reduce anxiety and stress. Each meditation is designed to tackle a specific emotion or sticking point. Many of them are organized into categories to make them easy to find. Buddhify sessions can range from three to 40 minutes. Best of all, this meditation app is paid upfront with no in-app purchases or recurring subscriptions. Buddhify costs $4.99 on iOS and $2.99 on Android.
The Sattva app is available for free on iOS and Android devices — but it does contain in-app purchases. The app draws from Vedic principles to teach meditation, chants, and mantras from Sanksrit scholars. These deep meditations start at six minutes in length and extend as the user practices. Sattva users can set goals to track their progress and keep a journal of their emotions. The app also includes a playlist of music designed to accompany meditation sessions.
Are you a skeptic who thinks mindfulness and meditation don’t really do much except waste time? The 10% happier app may be just the thing for you. It’s available on iOS and Android for free. The app was designed with skeptics in mind, to teach the science behind why stressors like stress and anxiety can manifest as physical health problems.