In the last couple of months, mindfulness awareness has seen a massive increase in its popularity. In reality it’s been argued that mindfulness has never been more crucial than during the midst of an epidemic that is spreading across the globe. As per the NHS website, paying more attentively to the moment and also to thoughts and feelings helps increase mental well-being and help people to be more content and better understand themselves.
In the initial surge of coronavirus that occurred in March it was no surprise that mindfulness apps have witnessed a significant increase in downloads, with the number of up to 25% more than in the first weeks according to the mobile analytics and insights platforms like App Annie. Because of the surge of mindfulness apps, there are now hundreds of apps available that can help you get started or maintain your journey to becoming more mindful.
The majority of these apps are completely free (at the very least for the first time) and offer brief guided meditations. It isn’t a problem if you’re a novice or an experienced person. There are a lot of other features to search for, from calming tales of bedtime, to relaxing background music and top-quality images and videos that will aid in understanding the theory behind this trend.
In your search for the best software, think about what you require and the things you like about it. If you’re not a fan of the voice of your facilitator for instance, you’ll be unable to relax.
If you’d like to have motivational messages to be sent out when you’re sure to be feeling stressed There’s an app that can do just that.
There are apps with audio focus and mindfulness journals for those who prefer to record your mood by responding to frequently asked questions instead of doing a guided meditation.
To help you choose the right one, we’ve tested a variety of products that are available from all over the world. We’ve put together the best of them – from the ones made to cater to “fidgety sceptics” to those which allow you to customize the meditation according to how you feel to ensure you are aware of what to expect regardless of whether you’re a total beginner or an experienced expert.
You can trust our impartial reviews. We might earn commissions from some companies, but we don’t let this influence our selections that are based on actual testing and advice from experts. The money earned from this helps fund the journalism of the Independent.
Start the Calm application and you’ll be welcomed by the soothing sounds of nature. It differs depending on the individual but we were awestruck by this sound and found it helpful in the direction of peace (you can alter the sounds to gentle waves, raining crickets, crackling firewood, or crackling).
We were awestruck by Calm when we had a chance to test it before, especially its guide Daily Calm sessions, which allowed us to relax and redirect our focus. The app has also bolstered its already excellent offerings this year by introducing an all-day meditation series dubbed The Daily Trip. Narrated by Canadian writer and meditation instructor Jeff Warren, the Daily Trip provides a more exciting and fun way to exercise.
We learned more during these daily sessions than in any other program we tried.
If you’re looking for something different, you can choose from exclusive tracks that are designed to help to relax, focus or sleep with remixes by famous singers Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding. There are also a variety of celebrities’ new “sleep stories”, with soothing tales from celebrities like the former One Direction star Harry Styles and the stars Idris Elba, Cillian Murphy, and Chike Okonkwo. We had a jolly time from these stories and realized that they helped us relax in the evening, bringing memories of reading a story at bedtime.
The most recent edition of this app comes with the new feature of a gratitude check-in that we’ve been using to remind us of things we’re thankful for every day. With tons of content available and priced at PS28.99 for an annual subscription that runs for throughout the year (there’s no monthly deal, however that’s less than PS2.50 per month) Also, we think this app is an excellent value for money.
2. Anxiety Solution: Calmer You
The Anxiety Solution application is the perfect remedy for those looking to ease anxiety or boost your mood. It’s like having a personal advocate on your phone; one who’s looking out for you, who provides reminders to unwind from the pressures of everyday life, and assists you to determine the best solution for you.
Calmer You app has more than 70 meditation sessions, including breathing techniques, mindfulness sleep stories, and other fitness routines . It is ideal for people who require a little more help as they begin their journey to meditation. We enjoyed the interactive exercises with high-quality graphics that showed the changes in our heart rate depending on how we breathed. Our favorite was the 12 minute rebalance using mindfulness. This included a complete body scan as well as an interactive graph that let us be able to pinpoint exactly what we felt in various parts of our bodies.
In addition it also includes an entire course of 28 sessions, which aids in explaining and reducing anxiety. This course is able to be worked through in one session at a time by using techniques like cognitive behavior therapy that can help manage your anxieties. We found the course and writing in your daily journal of gratitude beneficial, especially during the national coronavirus third locking down. We give a big thumbs-up from us.
3. Portal – Escape into Nature
Do you ever sit on the train back home after a tiring day at work and wish that you were there in Hawaii watching the ocean crash on the shore? Do you find yourself curled up by the fire of a log in Switzerland? The app Portal can aid you in the latter. Portal is a mindfulness application that is different. It is not a guided meditation app, it transports users all over the world to help them relax with the help of the most soothing natural sounds. We were enthralled by the idea and discovered that it not only eased our stress and relaxation, but also helped us go to sleep whenever the fearful sleepiness set into our lives.
From summer thunderstorms to wind of palm trees There’s a sound that will fit everyone’s tastes. Plus, you can combine Portal’s audio with other apps to provide some extra ambience to your podcasts or audiobooks. It also has an “relax” function that includes breathing exercises as well as an “focus” section, which has helped us write about the thing we needed to focus on, increasing productivity.
Since the last time we tested the application, users are now able to travel to Scottish highlands as well as the Slovenian alps. We’d suggest anyone seeking something different, give this app a test – you’ll feel like you’re on the top of the world within a matter of minutes.
Headspace was among the first meditation apps , and is one of the most popular available. After its introduction in the year 2010 it has accumulated over 65 million users in 190 countries and it’s not difficult to understand the reason. It’s an excellent option for those looking to understand the basics of mindfulness and meditation with hundreds of guided meditations covering topics like focus and stress, as well as humorous animations to help to find your way.
The sessions are clear of jargon and simple to follow, with a focus on breathing and looking around the body to reflect on the way you feel. You can also take small “mini-meditations”, which are between two and three minutes to keep you focused on the present, and stories for bedtime and soundscapes to help you fall asleep to sleep.
The app has gone through several changes in recent times and now provides an elegant and contemporary method of meditation. We were particularly impressed by the “SOS” sessions, which were designed to aid those who awake at night and be unable to go asleep (we’ve discovered ourselves using these prior to a number of difficult days at work). Additionally, there are workouts conducted by Olympians and daily meditations that cover a new subject each day.
Headspace provides a complete toolkit for anyone who is an experienced meditator, or a newbie looking for a safe space to begin your journey.
If you’ve never attempted meditation before and want to try it with no hassle and without a lot of fuss, then Balance should be at the top of your list of. It is among the top apps for teaching users the basics, using straightforward methods and language to assist you in focusing on the breath and increasing your awareness and visualisation.
While there’s an option to sign up and gain access to additional material, Balance offers all users the opportunity to get a personalized foundation plan for 10 days according to your needs such as decreasing stress or improving your meditation at night – all for absolutely nothing. The plan we took covered nine different skills, from breathing concentration and control of breath to body scans and spotlighting, a method which requires you to concentrate all your attention on just one item. We enjoyed the brief guided meditations (our favorite facilitator was the one named Ofosu) and discovered that our focus increased dramatically because of the easy explanations.
Also, we meditated more often through this app, because we could modify our meditation sessions down to three minutes, allowing us to get some peace and tranquility all throughout our day. There’s no need to stick to the plan, either. The app also offers meditations for the morning as well as nature-inspired sounds, and also free sessions, such as one that helps with gratitude. If you’re looking for something more edgy, we explored its “energise” session where we were taught about “breath of fire” (which was far less risky than it appeared). Overall it’s a fantastic application for people who are just beginning or who are short on time.
6. Simple Habit
The app is a stress-relief tool for people who are busy. It was developed in the name of Yunha Kim. Kim recognized that most of us don’t have the time (or at the very least, think we’re too busy) to add another task onto our list of things to do. To counter it, this app provides audio meditations in as little as five minutes long, along with excellent-quality guided meditations that can help lower stress levels and soothe the mind.
They are very well-paced and provide good direction. We observed some extra time at the conclusion of every session that helped us truly unwind without the need for continuous instructions. We were also amazed by the range of topics available on the app. Users are required to select subjects that are interesting to the user when they access this app for the first time. There’s something for everyone , from guided meditations to assist you to find your feet following a breakup, relaxation after arguments, stress-free travel and pre-date mindfulness that will aid you in getting into the flow.
Simple Habit app is clean and contemporary, with straightforward feeds and an intuitive interface. A lot are free for those who don’t want to buy the subscription that is too expensive.
7. Openfit – Fitness & Nutrition
If you’re a huge lover of a more holistic approach to life and would like one platform that can work for both your body and your mind and body, then you should look no further. Openfit is a digital platform and application that blends fitness, meditation nutrition, and overall well being. We were enthralled to switch through a tough barre workout to a quiet meditation within a matter of minutes. The latter proved to be a great way for us to relax our bodies and relax our mind.
In all, there are 13 different meditations you can choose from. These vary from 10 minutes until 45 minutes which makes it simple to adapt your practice to your schedule. Our favorite was the Daily Alignment, which we performed in the morning prior to working to increase our focus and decrease stress.
In contrast to most of the other applications we tried, Openfit provides high-quality “as live” videos for every session, allowing you to observe the instructor. It’s a nice addition and especially since a lot of users will miss the fun of classes in groups due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Although the company claims that it doesn’t require any experience in meditation We believe that you’ll benefit the most from this program if you’ve already made the decision to try meditation and are comfortable with the various techniques that include singing “om”. Openfit is slightly higher priced than the other programs we’ve tested; however, given the variety and amount of content, we believe it’s well worth the price.
8. MyLife Meditation
MyLife Mediation (which used to be called Stop, Breathe & Think) requires users to “check in” before meditating. By using a range of words to describe your current state of mind physically and mentally, we discovered a fantastic way to get into a positive attitude after a long day at work or walking around. The app uses this data to suggest brief, guided meditations that range from five minutes “joy” sessions, to longer-lasting practices to help overcome anxiety, to practices that can help you let go, relax and relax your mind.
It comes with a foundational plan, and over 400 additional plans accessible if the upgrade is to premium. We found that this app offers all of the standard features, including the ability to schedule reminders and monitor your progress. There’s also a separate app designed for kids, as well as there’s a helpful “how to” guide on meditation that is offered for those who need more direction.
9. Ten Percent Happier Meditation
The app is described as “meditation for fidgety sceptics”. “Most of the meditation apps out there have a very traditional tone – very soft and gooey and loving,” co-founder Dan Harris previously told TechCrunch. “But we’re much more in the no-b ******* category.”
Harris, an anchor, who has the self-described “attention span of a three-year-old retriever” began meditating after suffering the national news media’s attention for a panic attack. The majority of the time, Harris has achieved what the anchor wanted and we were impressed by the app’s calming nature and its simple interface to the quick video lessons that help to help users learn more about mindfulness.
Meditations guided by a teacher are “no frills”, which we found extremely refreshing. In addition to being asked what number of times you’ve meditated in the past and why you’d like to practice meditation (do you want to feel more positive or do you want to lessen stress?) and how you’re experiencing lately It’s also possible to create reminders so that you don’t skip a meditation.
When you pay for the subscription, you’ll receive hundreds of guided meditations (including sessions like “tooth brushing” and “in the shower”), and a variety of programs focused on relationships, performance, or – the thing that everyone wants is to become 10 percent more pleasant. Ten Percent Happier app is perfect when you want to reap your benefits from mindfulness but without having it take over your routine. It’s also great for those who are minimalists.
10. Insight Timer
Insight Timer is more of an online community for meditation enthusiasts. Along with a world map that displays how many people are practicing meditation at any given moment, it also allows you to check out who’s nearby and invite your friends to join you. There are also communities in which you can take part in meet-ups all over the UK and discuss topics including poetry and Hinduism.
For what’s on the menu, Insight Timer says it’s the most well-known meditation timer offering a library of free guided meditations that are 30,000 and more. The flows range from beginner’s to ones that focus on self-love, more harmonious relationships and the battle against addictions.
The timer that you can customize can be used for meditations on the go and it lets you select whether you would like ambient background sounds or closing bells. This is an excellent app that has a lot of content however it can be a bit overwhelming for someone who is just beginning. We suggest sticking with it in the event that you’re willing to invest the effort to figure out what works best for you. If you’re looking for greater content or content options, that premium offers you more courses and offline listening.
11. Aura: Meditation and Mindfulness
Aura is referred to as”the “Spotify of mindfulness” due to the shocking quality and variety in its contents. When you first sign in to the app, you are required to select two or more subjects from a wide selection, including decreasing anxiety, improving happiness, improving focus , and handling anger.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll get access to “world’s largest premium library” of meditation tracks as well as life coaching, stories as well as nature sounds and music. It’s fairly simple to use, but the sheer amount of content could be its Achilles foot. There’s so much content to pick from, it was difficult to figure out where to start.
We loved the shorter, three-minute guided meditations that helped us plan our day in a positive manner and to appreciate the fact that the app makes use of AI to gain a better awareness of the preferences of you. As a result, as time passes, it gets more personalized and customized to meet your requirements. A premium subscription gives you access to all the content, aswell with full mood tracking and offline usage.
12. Beachbody On Demand
Beachbody On Demand is likely more well-known as a fitness and health app , but the brand’s 21-day unwind program is a good choice to consider if you’re in search of the ultimate source of information for your body and mind.
The program was created by Unplug President and co-founder Suze Yalof Schwartz, the program is full of positive energy as well as an easy way to practice. We loved Schwartz’s relaxed personality and discovered she was an easy-going communicator who instantly calms you (“if you breathe you can be meditative”).
The program – which comes with an extremely high-quality “as live” video for each session to make sure you feel part of the room goes from being fully relaxed and present, to having the ability to set goals prior to the day. The intro in particular was somewhat commercial and the name of the brand was repeatedly mentioned however we were able to find that it easy to get into the program very well, despite the commercialization. It’s a fantastic choice for those who are just beginning working out at home , too.
Buddhify states that it’s “designed to fit into a busy modern lifestyle”. It’s definitely distinctive in its design, having a daily wheel split into parts, from waking up until getting ready for sleep.
The vibrant disc was designed to assist you in finding appropriate meditation and mindfulness exercises according to the moment of the day. There are many short, spoken-only sessions to use when you’re on the move. We enjoyed the “work break” exercises that help you unwind at work as well as”travelling” was a great option. The “travelling” segment was perfect for those long commutes that you hate.
The sessions last anywhere from four minutes to a little over an hour. There are guided exercises for when you’re struggling to sleep or you’re stressed. We liked the concept but discovered that most applications provided the variety we wanted to incorporate them into our hectic lives. It’s also the only app which requires you to purchase upfront which means if you’d like to test before buying it’s possible to look elsewhere.
14. Reflectly – Journal & AI Diary
Reflectly is described as an online journal that promotes happiness. In particular, it states that it will help users “deal with negative thoughts and make positivity louder” in addition to it helps them understand the science behind wellbeing. It accomplishes this by asking simple questions that allow more reflection on the positives and downs of every day.
The concept is a great one. There are many who could benefit from meditation, but don’t necessarily want to adhere to guided meditations or aren’t into the outrageous phrases that certain apps are promoting. The journal app was a great way for us to record our thoughts and emotions by asking questions such as what our day was like and why it was a good day (for instance, due to the food we ate or our work) and what we were feeling. Our responses were then stored in the form of “stories”, which made the overall “journal”.
Even after just a few entries, it was able to help us to gain perspective and also increased our appreciation for the small things that happen in our lives. However, at times it could feel somewhat juvenile. The language is very easy (think “Nice for you to see you! What do your friends think of”you?”” “ Andsuper incredible”) however, we found the answers to the questions – many of which are addressed via the sliding scale – somewhat restricting. If you’re looking for something that’s more unique this app may be a great starting point to begin your journey into mindfulness.
15. Smiling Mind
If you’re obsessed with information and don’t have the time to spend hours scouring through hundreds of programs to find the information you need, the app you’re looking for is an excellent option. When you first launch Smiling Mind, you start by entering your information so that you have a customized list of meditation guides.
We started by asking you about the amount of prior experience you’ve had to identify the things you’re most interested in – from mindfulness in sports to improving sleep and performance (who would not be interested in this?) We loved the customisable element and discovered it helped us save time.
As with others, we enjoyed the ability to check in and out before and following meditations in order to keep track of our progress. The guided meditations are easy to follow and provide a balanced mix of the silence and narration (we especially liked listening to the Australian sound and twang). We particularly liked”body scan,” which encourages listeners to identify their body’s sensation “body scan,” which helps listeners identify what different parts of their body feel.
It might not be as intuitive as other apps available on the list, but we liked it in the same way. Plus, Smiling Mind is completely free because it was put by an Australian non-profit organization which is dedicated to making the practice of mindfulness “an accessible tool for all”.
The conclusion: Mindfulness apps are beneficial
If you’re looking for the best mindfulness app, it’s good to know that there are a lot of excellent options available. Calm was one of our favorites due to its diversity of content ranging from the relaxing reading stories to the simple-to-follow meditations.
The Headspace as well as Headspace and Balance both came in close second place, and fantastic choices for those who are new to the field. We also enjoyed the 21-day program by Beachbody and its positive energy. Because the majority of apps are free to download, be sure to test them before you purchase and select one that can make your day simpler, not more difficult.