For thousands of years, Eastern cultures have used meditation as an effective way to quiet the mind and focus on the present moment.
Today, many Americans have fully embraced the benefits of meditation, including the reduction of stress and negative emotions. Smartphones offer a readily accessible, convenient way to participate in mindfulness-based stress reduction.
Here are the 10 must-have mindfulness and meditation apps that shouldn’t live without,
Headspace is sleek, straightforward, and uses proven meditation and mindfulness techniques to help you train your mind. It comes with a free 10-day programme called Take10, where the soothing voice of Andy Puddicombe walks you through the basics of meditation for 10 minutes each day. If you’re just getting started on meditation and want a structured programme that will be effective, Headspace is a good option.
Calm is available both as an app and as a website where you can go to relax your mind and forget the stresses of the day. You start off with 7 Days of Calm, available free of charge to anyone, and move onto more in-depth paid programmes tailored to your needs.
The 7 Days of Calm is a good programme to kickstart your meditation programme, and you also get access to some body scans and loving kindness meditations on the free version of the app.
3. One-Moment Meditation
If you have no patience (but are looking to build some), One-Moment Meditation might be the app for you. It is based on the principle that making a significant change in your state of mind takes but a moment.
In fact, 1 minute is all you need with this app. One-Moment Meditation is used by major corporations, physicans, and leaders to reduce stress, boost productivity and achieve high performance.
4. Wildflowers Mindfulness
What makes Wildflowers Mindfulness different to its counterparts is that it allows you to track your heart rate and mood. This helps you see how your heart rate changes after just a short bout of meditation, which gives you a bit of insight on how meditation is helping you calm down.
The guided meditations on the Wildflowers Mindfulness app are based on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction protocol (MBSR), which would suit you if that’s what you’re looking for.
Omvana is a sleek, easy-to-use app that gives you access to thousands of audio tracks, ambient sounds and narrated guides. You can mix and match tracks and narrations with the Omvana mixing board to fit your mood. If you are a beginner in meditation, Omvana has some powerful tracks to help you get started.
6. Stop Breathe & Think
Stop Breathe & Think is definitely a strong contender in the meditation app market. It has a clean and intuitive UI that tailors meditations to your current mood, lots of meditations to pick from based on your feelings, as well as an activity tracker that monitors your progress.
The beautiful app helps you get in touch with your feelings before you start meditating, and is for the most part free and a lovely experience to use.
While Buddhify is a paid app ($4.99), you will get instant access to over 11 hours of meditations for 15 different periods of your day — like when you’re commuting, about to go to bed, taking a break etc. You will also find meditations tailored to your mood here.
8. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is slightly different to the other apps in this roundup, in that it was originally designed for children and young people – even though adults are welcome too.
Its programs are divided by age, starting at 7-11 years: if you have children who are struggling with their emotions, it could be helpful alongside whatever other methods you and they are using. The app is clear, easy to use and completely free.
Welzen comes in a beautiful package with tons of free meditations that will fit into any situation of your life. You can use it for stress relief, anxiety management, focus training, creativity enhancement, as well as relationship improvement.
5 Days of Welzen is a great introduction into mindfulness meditation. You can also use the app to tackle anxiety and stress, increase focus and other daily life issues.
The Mindfulness App is one of the most accessible apps, offering a decent catalogue of meditation tracks with and without narrators, ranging from three to 30 minutes in length.
As with Headspace and Calm there’s an introductory series to get you up and running, with a number of other meditations included in the download price.