Have you integrated meditation or a mindfulness practice into your life? If not, you might want to start here. These 5 meditation apps are some of the best on offer for beginners. Download one today to bring more calm to your day and make meditation a habit.
Why meditate you might ask?
There are numerous research studies that praise meditation and mindfulness practises. Headspace offers lots to read on this topic. Stress reduction is one of the most important benefits and something many of us need.
A 2018 study found that medical students who used Headspace for just 10 days had a 12% decrease in stress; and a separate study found that people who used Headspace for 30 days reduced stress by a third.
Not only does the practice of meditation reduce cortisol levels but it also teaches you to manage your stress better if you make it a daily habit.
Take your pick, these 5 meditation apps are some of the best. There is plenty to try for free or choose a favourite and invest in yourself by subscribing. Once meditation becomes a habit and you start to feel the benefits you won’t look back.
1. Smiling Mind
This Australian not for profit app has become a tool integrated into classrooms and offices nationwide. Their mission is to provide accessible, life-long tools to support healthy minds with a target to reach 5 million young people by this year – amazing!
Smiling Mind is the only app that has no upgrade options, it’s totally free and operates by donations only.
Choose an introduction to meditation program depending on your needs. They are even available in a few different languages!
Smiling minds is a great way to introduce your kids to meditation and their programs for all school age kids is where they excel. Alternatively, get your work colleagues involved with the series of programs for the workplace and for small business owners.
This app is so accessible for everyone and a great way to start practicing meditation for all the family.
Headspace was created by a UK born Buddhist monk who collaborated with a stressed out advertising executive. Their huge-yet-simple goal is to teach meditation and mindfulness to as many people as possible.
One of the first meditation apps, Headspace is now involved in researching the benefits of meditation in collaboration with Universities and their website is worth a browse as its filled with articles on meditation.
Choose some basic meditation courses for free. Fun graphics and colour used throughout the app instantly engage. Additionally, they also focus on movement so offer stretch, yoga, dance and quick workout options to add to your daily routine.
After a two weeks trial, upgrade for about $8 a month (paid annually) which is a small fee for all you can access. Sleep guides, relaxation music, breathing exercises and even nature videos are all designed to bring more calm to your body and mind.
This app offers something for everyone – you won’t be disappointed.
3. Ten Percent Happier
Ten Percent Happier began as a book written by US News Reader Dan Harris who went from sceptic to mediator after an anxiety attack on National television. The popularity of the book led to the app (and a podcast). This app is great for beginners as they claim they can teach fidgety skeptics how to meditate.
Internationally renowned meditation experts Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein are just two of the many experienced teachers. Answer a series of questions when you first sign up and you will be presented with a practice plan to target the areas you most want to focus on like sleep and stress. The app even sets daily reminders to help you pause and make meditation a habit.
Pay $139.99 per year after a one week free trial. It’s slightly pricer than other apps but a good pick if you don’t want to navigate your way around options and you are ready to commit to making mindfulness part of your daily routine.
The minute you open the Calm app you feel calm. The sound of running water and twittering of birds instantly gets you in the zone. You need to pay for the 30 day “Learn how to meditate” program however there are shorter programs and single meditations you can try for free.
With a focus on music and sound offerings catering for your mood and the time of day, Calm also offers Sleep Stories which are particularly popular for the young and old – you are bound to recognise some celebrity voices! These offerings are all part of the subscription which is slightly less than Headspace.
Be inspired to lead a holistic life and improve your overall wellbeing with all the Calm masterclasses, talks and programs on offer – learning to meditate will be just the beginning.
5. Insight Timer
With more than 100K guided meditations, courses and classes, Insight timer is a popular app. All the expert meditators know about this one! Although the focus is on meditation and mindfulness, it offers so much more.
What’s unique about Insight Timer is you can search for teachers in our own city or country – or anywhere in the world. Follow and connect with them, leave reviews, save your favourites and even interact with fellow meditators. There is always a live meditation or new course you can join and such a variety of experiences since the teachers create their own content – find the teacher who is the perfect fit for you.
Insight Timer can be tricky to navigate since there is so much on offer but this app is definitely for you if you want a tool to use for daily practise but enjoy variety and want to delve further into learning about meditation, mindfulness, and wellbeing.
Are you a more experienced meditator or want to delve deeper into online mindfulness experiences?
Try Synctuition for an audio journey 3D sound meditation experience. Michael Burich, the co-founder and COO of Synctuition, talks about this mind spa for complete relation in this post. It contains over 13,000 amazing and beautiful sounds recorded in breathtaking places all over the world.
Lumenate is another unique app using research-driven stroboscopic light sequences from your phone torch to guide your brain into an altered state of consciousness. It brings together guided intention setting and experience integration exercises to maximise the impact of each exploration, along with a unique soundtrack combining voice guiding with purpose composed music. Learn more here.Written by Lisa McLean