Use these apps to ease stress and anxiety, naturally.
The right meditation and mindfulness apps provide much-needed intervention we need to achieve calm, balance, and clarity of mind. Whether you seek more peace in your day, relaxation, or peak-performance focus, the right apps can transform your sense of well-being.
Most of our favorites offer both free and paid versions. Some offer a set number of free meditations before they ask you to subscribe. Whatever journey you choose, here are five meditation and mindfulness apps to help you rise above life’s distractions.
Open the Calm app to the gentle downpour of rain. Options include Sleep, Meditate, Music and timed breathing exercises. Our favorites include the adult bedtime stories, housed under Sleep.
Matthew McConaughey’s melodic sleep story called “Wonder” guides you through 35 soothing minutes into the mysteries of the universe.
In “Luna’s Lullaby,” regular Calm narrator Tamara Levitt shares a 26-minute musical adventure with a snow white baby polar bear called Luna.
There are also clever edits on classics like the Grimm’s fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, called “Rumpelstiltskin Learns to Meditate,” with narrator Jerome Flynn (Bronn in Game of Thrones), with a cleverly scripted underlying message about how transforming life can be when we make different decisions.
If you find you cannot finish any of these bedtime stories, that just means they’re working!
Breethe has on-demand breathing exercises and guided meditations with visualizations for different states of being, from anxious and anxiety, to working our way out of worry, ruminating thoughts, and panic attacks.
There’s a 5-minute “wake up with intention” meditation so you find your joy early in the day instead of searching for it later.
You can also dial up a masterclass from mindfulness coach Lynne Goldbert with up to 7-day challenges to conquer life’s demands and learn how to access the consistent peace of mind and creative energy that quell stress and anxiety.
Breethe feels very curated and personal, as if your best friend is holding your hand as you journey to your better self.
There’s a refreshing, straightforward approach to Headspace that connects you to specific moments in your life, and that of your family members, such as “For the weekend”, “Sports, “Students”, and “Kids & parenting.”
The look and feel is simple and uncluttered, which will appeal to beginners and those who do not picture themselves in the lotus position surrounded by crystals, incense, and the sound of dolphin calls.
Headspace was created by Andy Puddicombe, an ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk who studied meditation in the Himalayas before founding Headspace. The app focuses on breathing and visualization within secular meditation (meditation without the trappings of religion).
There’s a bit of intentional gamification to Headspace, as your mediations and time are logged with progress stats and run streaks. With each milestone there’s an avatar holding more weight, which makes you want to meditate more to keep your winning streak going!
Designed by ABC News Anchor Dan Harris, who experienced a nationally televised panic attack and discovered the answer in meditation, 10% Happier is for skeptics, non-believers, and overachievers who do not believe in meditation or mindfulness.
The app takes a refreshing granular approach, first to taming the voices in your head with a sense of humor, over the typical chanting and soothing application, and secondly by promising a modest 10% happier, as opposed to an earth-shattering level of happiness never experienced before by anyone, anywhere, ever.
10% Happier features experts who specialize in mediation for performers and athletes with a selection of daily videos focusing on stress, anxiety, and sleep among other topics.
You are assigned a personal coach who will reach you via text to motivate and answer any questions.
With Buddhify you pay entirely up front and there is no free version. However, the modest $4.99 a year version garners you access to nearly everything Buddhify has to offer.
Buddhify states they are there for you to gain the wisdom and practice you need to eventually not need them. The approach is to take everyday situations, no matter where you are, and learn to meditate in the moment.
Buddhify opens with a colorful wheel of categories to choose from, which you can then personalize and edit to make it your own.
We love the “Grow the lovely” category, which houses quick meditations on things like patience, playfulness, gratitude, curiosity, and balance. To quote one of the mindful meditations, just remember that just pressing the play button is itself an act of kindness upon yourself.
Try out each of these meditation and mindfulness apps to see which works best for you and your lifestyle. Some might be better than others at drawing out your inner calm, clarity and focus.
Test them out and let us know which one works best for you!
(All images used with permission from Getty/iStock Photo)