The Top 4 Meditation Apps to Unwind and De-Stress
As our world becomes more connected and fast-paced, it seems like it's harder and harder to get quiet and sit still. Not only is there difficulty in finding a safe space that offers respite from the noise of the world, even if we do it can be so hard to sit still. I know that for me, even if I'm offered a momentarily lull at a red light or in the checkout line of a grocery store, I find I pull out my phone to check in with the world rather than check in with myself and take time to intentionally observe my present moment. I crave stillness, and yet when it's offered to me, it's hard to accept and invite it to sit down with me.
As we adjust to life in a fast-paced, 24/7 connected world, the turbulence becomes almost like an addiction or a bad habit we can't shake. I try to sit still for 10 minutes in the morning and I get uncomfortable very quickly. It's a challenging HIIT workout for the brain. Yet it's so needed and important for our emotional, mental and physical health. So on my mission to break my bad habit, I knew I was going to need some help. We did a little research and found that these are the best meditation apps out there right now:
This meditation app calls itself a “gym membership for your brain.” It's an excellent app for people just beginning a meditation practice. Headspace features 10 newbie-focused, 10-minute meditation exercises called Take 10 specifically designed to help listeners quickly understand what meditation is all about. There’s also a personalized progress page, a reward system for continued practice, and even a buddy system for you and your friends to help each other stay on track. Their free 10-day trial will teach you the basics of meditating. If you like it, you can subscribe to the app for $7.99 per month. It features guided meditations in time frames as short as two minutes and as long as an hour. I really like that they have meditations for specific topics, such as anxiety and relationships.
2. One Giant Mind
Here, you start to learn meditation through sessions that build up your technique. I like this app a lot and can say it’s one of the best apps for learning meditation. The idea is to learn meditation with a 12 step process, and at the end of which you can access a 30 days challenge to make meditation a daily habit.
The initial 12 steps teach you a particular technique that uses a mantra. It’s cool because as you go through each step they explain to you why mindfulness meditation is not about controlling the process, but about letting it unfold… The sessions are detailed in their explanation and are made for first time learners or beginners that would like to expand their knowledge of meditation. They all start with a short video with explanations and tips about issues you might be encountering as you get more familiar with your practice, and it also asks about your state of calmness before and after the meditation as a way for you to notice what is unfolding for you.
At the end of each session, you can choose between (many!) different options on how it felt for you, and depending on the one you choose there’s a short video elaborating on what you can learn from that particular experience As you move through it you also unlock materials from the library to read and learn more about mindfulness. You can also keep a journal right there, and the app incorporates a meditation timer for you to use when you don’t need the guided meditations any more. I find that 1 Giant Mind is a lot less “intrusive”. It only prompts you at the beginning and at the end of the meditation, which I love! It’s all about surrendering to your practice. If you prefer a bit more guidance during the meditation, then one of the other apps might be better to start with.
A gold standard app for anyone serious about the practice of meditation, Mindfulness provides timed meditations from three to thirty minutes long and customized reminders to keep you mindful throughout the day. You can get a premium subscription for $9.99 for one month or $59.99 for the year with one month’s free trial included. This app is jam-packed with great features: a 5-day guided meditation practice, helpful reminders, personalized meditation tips and timers. There’s even a health app integration capability. Premium subscribers will gain access to more than 200 guided meditations on topics like calmness, focus and relationships.
Stop, Breathe & Think wants you to do just that: Stop what you’re doing, check in with your breath and think about how you’re feeling in the present moment. By doing so, the app aims to teach you how to observe your thoughts and feelings without passing judgment with the goal of helping you cultivate kindness and self-compassion. It's ideal for people who need some more structure and motivation to jumpstart their meditation habit. With over 55 guided meditation selections — for both the beginning and end of your day — a daily mood tracker, plus the capability to customize chimes, Stop, Breathe & Think is a meditation mecca. The exercises focus on compassion, sleep, depression, and anxiety. Users can record their daily practice and track their progress throughout the year.
Any other ones out there that you absolutely love? Let us know in the comments below!