I’ve never met you before, but I’m sure I can tell you just a little bit about yourself based on the fact that you clicked a link about meditation apps.
The first is that you’re stressed out. You might be a student who knows that Spring Break was a damn farce and that finals are just a couple short weeks away. You might be an over-worked, under-paid, low-level finance worker whose portfolio is drastically underperforming and you can’t figure out why. You’re an artist who hasn’t painted, written, photographed or designed anything new in weeks because your creative intestines are blocked up with indecipherable bullshit.
You’re here because you’re stuck, and you’re looking for what you hope might be an answer to your problems: good mediation apps to set you on the path to zen.
When people hear or see the word “meditation,” stereotypes about Eastern spirituality tend to spring to mind and put certain punters off. The reality, though, is that meditation is nothing more or less than sustained focus on the present moment, and an evidence-based way to improve your temperament, focus and drive — that is, if you do it right.
Because we live in a digital world, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are a plethora of different meditation apps engineered to help people reach peace and tranquility from the comforts of their home, office or even the bus. Here are 8 of the best meditation apps to help you attain personal nirvana:
The Mindfulness App
One of the more popular meditation apps out there, people tend to gravitate toward The Mindfulness App because a lot of its content is free to use. Users receive a five-day guided practice session series, timed sessions ranging anywhere from three to 30 minutes, daily reminders to be mindful throughout your day and statistics to help you track your meditation.
Those features are great for people who are just becoming interested in the concept of meditation and mindfulness, but for those who eventually want more from their meditation, there’s a premium subscription service that gives users access to an exclusive library of content from some of the world’s best teachers. They’re a little spendy at $9.99/mo. and $59.99/yr., but if you find this is something that truly helps, it’ll become invaluable to you.
Headspace is another wildly popular meditation app available on both iOS and Android. Aside from its glowing endorsement from famous people like Emma Watson, Headspace is a meditation app designed for those of us who could do without the theatrics and really just want to get down to the core of… well, ourselves.
The app comes with a 10-session pack of lessons that include 10-minute spoken-word exercises. It also features a personalized tracking page to catalog your progress, reminders, a buddy system to help keep you motivated with friends, the ability to download sessions for offline use and more.
After the 10 free sessions, you’re encouraged to subscribe to the full service for $12.99/mo. or $94.99/yr. I know that sounds steep, but it’s definitely worth trying to see if you enjoy it.
OMG! I Can Meditate!
Another excellent and highly-rated meditation app, OMG! I Can Mediate is unique in that it categorizes your meditation exercises based on life events, personal interests and special circumstances.
So, one day you might be interested in taking a course for better conflict resolution, while the next you might consider a meditation series to lose weight. The app includes literal hundreds of guided daily meditation courses, including morning and sleep meditations, life event meditations, common issues and so on.
Subscription services range from $12.50/mo to $89.95/yr.
Based on the book by Nightline co-anchor Dan Harris, 10% Happier is another massively popular meditation app that cuts out all the bullshit you frequently hear about the practice. No fancy crystal ball, no whimsical bathrobes, no spiritual oils – just clear, simple and useful meditation.
In fact, the app’s full title is “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by 10% Happier,” and it’s geared specifically for people who probably refer to meditation as some kind of “hoopla.” You can download it free and learn how to meditate, but if you want access to the premium content of lessons by some of the world’s best meditation instructors, it’ll cost you: $9.99/mo. or $79.99/yr.
People who enjoy 10% Happier say it’s because they get strictly the facts and technique without any of the unnecessary background noise that goes with it. The content is meaningful and well-produced, and the teachers included are excellent. You’ll also receive your own fitness coach who is there to answer all your questions, as they arise.
Stop, Breathe & Think
This app is positively ideal for beginners looking to learn about meditation and what it means, both on the surface and underneath. You’ll find 15 intuitive, straightforward videos to help you get into meditation, as well as a comprehensive, subscription-only library of dozens of custom-tailored meditation exercises.
Stop, Breathe & Think is one of those meditation apps people love because, aside from how beautiful and sleek its user interface is, it also categorizes its guided meditation videos by feelings and emotional states like stress, anxiety, focus, sleep and more. It even features what’s called a Check In screen, which logs your current emotional state (and progress) and suggests three different meditations based on your response.
While the 15 initial videos are free, to gain complete access you’ll need to subscribe for either $6.99/mo. or $84.00/yr.
Timeless | Meditation
Hands down one of the most beautiful meditation apps out there, Timeless | Meditation features a sleek and extremely simple user interface that makes meditation as simple as selecting a desired time span (ranging from eight to 32 minutes). Aside from the custom start and stop clocks, it also features guided meditation by wonderful teachers, as well as multi-day immersive courses in the art of meditation.
The features I find most advantageous are the “stats and goals” showcase that’ll help track your progress and keep you motivated, the “community space” to share with other meditators, Siri and health app integration and the personal toolkit that includes access to the customizable timers.
If you want simple and beautiful, this is it.
The free courses are great, but premium content is available for $8.99/mo., $20.99/3 mo., $41.99/6 mo. and $71.99/yr.
Calm: Meditation to Relax, Focus & Sleep Better
Calm is a meditation app dedicated to helping its users find a healthier balance in their own lives. Aside from its array of guided meditation lessons ranging from three to 25 minutes, Calm also offers breathing programs to help regulate anxiety, as well as Sleep Stories — adult bedtime stories “guaranteed to lull you to sleep,” as per the developer’s description.
Meditation topics include Managing Stress, Self-Esteem, Forgiveness, Commuting to Work or School and several others, all geared toward helping you come to peace with your surroundings and self.
Users also have access to over 25 soothing nature sounds to help them relax during work, meditation, yoga, before bed or anywhere else you deem them useful.
Subscriptions range from $12.99/mo. to $59.99/yr.
And finally, there’s Buddhify. Buddhify is actually a pretty weird meditation app that’s making a massive splash because it’s just so… unique? Created specifically for people who don’t have time to dedicate to meditation, Buddhify offers quick, one-and-done sessions that fit specifically into the different areas of your day when you have downtime but don’t necessarily realize it.
You can take sessions based on whether you’re doing something like waking up, or being outside, or eating; walking around; traveling or even hanging out with your significant other. You can time yourself, track stats, meditate with others or simply sit back and let the sessions take their course.
The user-friendly, colorful wheel makes it by far the most unique concept on this list.
I’d also recommend this as one of the most affordable apps, as there are no crazy subscriptions or in-app purchases. Just a one-time $4.99 fee.
Now check out the best apps for trading on the stock market.
- Lead image: Buddhify