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. Research provides growing support for meditation as a way to improve physical health as well, including disorders such as heart disease, pain, high blood pressure, asthma and sleep dysfunction.
Smartphones offer a readily accessible, convenient way to participate in mindfulness-based stress reduction. What are some of the best meditation apps to help support a healthy, balanced lifestyle through mindfulness exercises?
1. Stop, Breathe & Think
This app, available for both iOS and Android devices, along with a web version, invites users to check in with themselves and listen to a “tuned meditation” for a better day. The app is free, with in-app purchases available.
Breathe2Relax is a “portable stress management tool” that provides information about how stress affects the body along with practice exercises and instructions related to diaphragmatic breathing. The free app is for both iOS and Android.
The free Headspace app, for both Android and iOS, uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to train the mind for a healthier and happier life. The app begins with the Take 10 program, in which users learn meditation basics in 10 minutes per day.
4. Simply Being
The $1.99 Simply Being app, available for both iOS and Android, allows users to choose between five mediation lengths and provides an option for a guided meditation either with or without nature sounds or music.
Buddhify, $4.99 on iOS and $2.99 on Android, includes more than 80 guided meditation tracks designed for 14 different activities and states, including work, sleep and difficult emotions. Tracks range between five and 30 minutes.
6. Meditation Timer Pro
For 99 cents, this iOS-only app offers a number of timer functions for mindfulness exercises, including the ability to use pre-programmed or custom meditations and the ability to customize sounds.
7. The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App, $1.99 on Android and $2.99 on iOS, includes four silent meditations with bells and four guided meditations, each of varying lengths. It also features a guided body scan, mindfulness notices, statistics, reminders and other functions.
The Calm app, available for both Android and iOS, is free but requires a subscription of either $9.99 monthly or $39.99 yearly to access some features. The app includes several different programs to promote either relaxation or sleep and features guided meditations along with relaxing sound tracks and scenes.
9. Smiling Mind
This free app, for iOS and Android, is unique because it features six meditation programs for different age groups beginning at age 7. The app also offers extended meditations.
Omvana, free and available for both Android and iOS, is described as a “personal meditation and mindfulness teacher” that provides meditations, yoga music, self-improvement tracks and relaxation audio. The app also features narrated lessons by various thought leaders, along with a mixing board to combine audio tracks and a library of sounds to enhance sleep.