Meditation is an ancient mindfulness practice that has grown in popularity in recent years, especially as more studies have shown its many health benefits.
For example, meditation can lower stress levels and blood pressure, improve sleep quality and memory function, and even boost one’s mood significantly. While there are plenty of different ways to meditate– from guided lessons in-person to books and apps– one thing that all meditation practices have in common is the goal of finding stillness.
If you’re interested in giving meditation a try but aren’t sure where to start, trying a meditation app is a great introduction to the world of meditation.
What is meditation exactly?
Meditation is a mental practice that helps you focus, clear your mind, and connect with yourself. It’s often related to mindfulness and is incorporated into many yoga classes, breathwork courses, and even chronic pain management and different types of therapy.
You can meditate anytime and anywhere—no special equipment required– which is why having access to the best apps to meditate on your phone is a great way to learn how to meditate on the go or whenever you need to wind down.
There are many different forms of meditation, including:
You focus on the rhythm of your breath and allow thoughts to drift in and out of your mind without becoming attached to them.
You visualize a peaceful scene such as walking through a forest or floating through space while listening to soothing music. You can also visualize a specific goal or outcome you’re trying to achieve.
You repeat a word or a meaningful phrase over and over again until it becomes an almost involuntary response; this type of mantra-based repetition can be done silently or aloud depending on what works best for you. It’s usually a Sanskrit term (an Old Indo-Aryan language) but you can choose any word that resonates a feeling within you.
A mantra helps focus your mind by eliminating any other thoughts. Some examples are repeating Soham (so-hum) which means ‘I am that’ and is used to quiet the body and mind. Another great one is Om Shaanti, a mantra for peace and harmony.
Why is meditation important?
There’s no doubt that there are numerous benefits to learning how to meditate—it can help you sleep better at night, reduce and manage stress and it can help you focus. Meditating can help manage your emotions better too, so they don’t control your actions. It can even make you more compassionate and understanding of those around you as you become grounded and mindful.
Why use an app to help you meditate?
Meditation apps are convenient. Not only are they easy to use on the go – all you have to do is open the app and get started – but they’re also great for beginners as they let you explore different types of meditation so that you’re not wasting time on something that doesn’t work for your body or mind.
The best apps to meditate give you access to hundreds of different lessons and resources on meditating that you wouldn’t otherwise get from attending a single class or reading a book about meditation. They are also cost-effective, as most apps cost only a few dollars a month (some are free, too).
And if you have trouble finding others who are interested in practicing with you, there are plenty of ways that apps can connect people around the world.
Key considerations to make when searching for a meditation app
The meditation app’s purpose and design
You’ll want to ensure that the app is developed for the type of meditation you enjoy and has a user-friendly design. The best apps to meditate allow you to navigate easily and find exactly what you’re looking for in just a few taps.
The cost of the app
Is the meditation app free to use? Is it subscription-based? Can you cancel at any time? Ultimately, the price you’re looking to pay can vary from user to user depending on your preference and user settings. That being said, it’s a good idea to think about your ideal budget (if any) beforehand so you don’t end up paying more than you’d like. The best apps to meditate tend to come with a free trial so you can test out the waters before committing.
When in doubt, research and read reviews from other users. This will help you decide what other people love, hate or what courses/programs come most recommended.
The Best apps to meditate that are available now
Headspace is a guided meditation app that offers over 100 different meditations to improve stress and sleep. It also includes the option to create customized meditations based on specific topics or goals. Headspace costs $12.99 USD per month or $69.99 per year—but it also has a 7-day trial period so you can try it before you buy it.
Calm is an app designed to improve your meditation skills. It’s available on iOS, Android, and on web browsers. You can try it for free for 7 days. After that, it costs about $14.99 per month or $69.99 per year (billed annually). The app features a wide variety of meditations, ranging from short guided sessions to longer ones lasting over an hour.
Insight is a free app that offers guided meditations, customizations meditations, and the opportunity to create groups and share your meditations with others. For those looking to upgrade and pay for a premium account, you can then download meditations to listen to offline.
The Mindfulness App has a wide range of features that aim at helping users meditate easier. There are hundreds of guided meditations from experts, including meditation for sleep, anxiety, and anger management. Best of all, there is a free option of this meditation app that includes dozens of instructional videos and exercises.
Simple Habit Meditation offers a 7-day free trial and is one of the most popular meditation apps. It has more than 2 million users and offers meditation for mindfulness and forgiveness. For a low monthly cost (or about $300.00 for lifetime access), this app is great for tracking progress and mastering the art of meditation.
Ten Percent Happier is an affordable app (with the option to use it for free and have access to basic meditation and free challenges). It’s geared toward anyone who is anxious or nervous about meditating, as it includes over 500 guided meditations from qualified instructors. You can grow with the platform too, as there are meditations designed for more experienced meditators too.
There are many different ways to meditate, which is why it’s important to find one that works for you. Meditation is not a one-size-fits-all. That being said, once you can learn the art of meditating regularly, the health benefits are amazing! Your stress levels will lower and you should find that you’re sleeping better and not overreacting to life.
There are plenty of useful meditation apps, as listed in this article, that can be downloaded for free (with most having free trials). All the meditation apps in this post are affordable and offer users access to hundreds of guided practices, with many tailored to specific issues like stress, sleep, and emotional management. Have you tried an app to meditate? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.
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