Remember when finding your calm was effortless? Neither do we. But suppose, instead of adding one more thing to your list, you took a few minutes out of every day to decompress and find your Happy Place?
We’ve compiled the below Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness Apps to help you reduce stress and boost energy. Wherever, whenever. The goal isn’t to stop thinking or empty your mind of the Louboutins on sale at Saks. (A frozen margarita will take care of that.) The goal is to pay closer attention to your feelings, thoughts, emotions. It’s about self-care.
We recommend taking a free bite out of several apps before committing to a subscription.
Just beginning meditation? You’ll learn the basic techniques through their free 10-day introduction of 10-minute segments featuring animated videos. They offer a personal progress page and a buddy system that lets you compare your progress with a friend. Special topics include stress, creativity and sleep.
We found the start-up instructions a breeze. It asked basic questions. Are you a beginner or experienced? Are you dealing with insomnia, anxiety or stress? What time of day do you wish to meditate? The first meditation was guided by a British male, with a trace of Cockney. Think a young Michael Caine. Which, in itself, is kind of groovy. After the free trial, subscriptions are $7.99 per month for a full year or $12.99 per month.
Rated the App of the Year by Apple, Calm offers guided meditations lasting three to twenty-five minutes. It features a ten-minute Daily Calm to start and end your day. Plus, There are also breathing exercises, unguided meditations, seven free bedtime stories, and more than 25 soothing sounds to help improve your sleep. (When’s the last time someone read you a story?) The app does everything but kiss you goodnight. Read the fine print on the “free” one-week trial which requires a credit card and automatically bills $59.99 annually or $299.99 forever. Then again, how can you put a price on getting your Zzzzs?
Don’t have the time for ten to fifteen-minute meditations? Mindfulness Daily offers a 21-day intro program with most meditations clocking in under five minutes. We found their website and basic intro to be, uh, a bit all over the place. The “music” sounded like a synthesizer and the videos were unhelpful. But, hey, at just $1.99 on ITunes, what do you have to lose?
This is the Mother Ship of meditation apps. It comes with a vast archive of audio, video and text on a multitude of topics, including: Attachment, Disturbing Emotions, Relationships, Meditation and Forgiveness. Choose from hundreds of podcasts by Ram Dass and daily words of wisdom from the great teachers of our time. Think of it as earbuds to Sedona. 100% free? Damn!
This is the app for your inner athlete. It combines meditation with Pilates, yoga, barre or cross fit. It connects to your FitBit. Use it to book exercise classes and manage your fitness routine via an exercise tracker. Prices vary. Lots of deals.
This five-day guided meditation app is considered the Gold Standard by users. Choose from three to thirty-minute meditation in a multitude of languages. (Being mindful in French is sexy.) They offer a 30-day free trial which automatically converts to a Premium Subscription. (Read the fine print.)
This is the app for those who crave variety and a community of over 5 million meditators around the world. Over 1,500 free guided meditations from 1,000 practitioners with 750 music meditation tracks. We like that this app goes beyond the usual focus on stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia to more uplifting goals such as increasing creativity, abundance and clarity. Who couldn’t use more of that?
Choose a voice guided meditation or music. When you finish, you’ll learn how many others were meditating with you and where they are located. If that sounds intrusive, there’s a way to block your location. For beginners, they offer a free Insight Course, “Learn to Meditate in Seven Days.” Bored meditating in English? Switch to French, Spanish, Italian, etc. This is one of the best deals. You get access to 15,000 guided meditations for free. No time limit. Premium includes one new meditation and new teacher every day, new courses every week, offline listening and more for $60 annually.
If you are an experienced meditator, this app’s for you. The free meditations last up to 33 minutes, a long time to sit still for someone who’s not used to it. The app features an introductory series with Dr. Elisha Goldstein—a licensed psychologist and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Living. Goldstein guides you through ten days of meditation to cultivate calm, energy, and compassion, mostly by focusing on the breath. The paid version has targeted content for moms, veterans, entrepreneurs, and even first responders). Gain access to twelve meditations for free and over 250 for $49.99 annually.