5 Mindfulness Apps You Don't Want to Miss
There are so many apps out there. Apps to help you rent a room, apps for playing video games, dating apps, and more!
So why not check out the apps that actually improve your mental wellbeing? Get centered, reduce your reaction to stress, and find that place inside of you that is balanced and ready to just "be" no matter what is happening in your life.
A recent mindfulness app research project looked at what it is about a mindfulness app that makes it effective as a stress reducer. The two components were:
1) Focused awareness of the present moment
2) Acceptance (not resistance) to whatever is going on in the present moment.
This research project done at Carnegie Mellon University and published in the journal Psychoneuroimmunology demonstrates that a mindfulness app can deliver mindfulness training that trains skills that change the way our minds and bodies respond to stress.
Another research study has shown that even 10 minutes a day of a mindfulness practice can rewire the brain to be calmer and less reactive. Needless to say, you will get more out of taking an in-person meditation and mindfulness program. But a meditation app can be a first start and can also be a support for an already established mindfulness practice.
The following apps are all downloadable to your smartphone, and are 5 of my favorite mindfulness apps:
1. Insight Timer
I like this app because you can set up the kind of bell you want to ring at the beginning and end of your meditation. There is a choice of 10 different sounds!
Also, there are hundreds of meditations to choose from and different lengths of guided meditations from 3 minutes to 45 minutes.
There are meditations led by some of the most experienced mindfulness teachers
on this site: Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzburg, Joseph Goldstein, Tara Brach, Ram Dass and many more. I like to use the meditation timer for a 30 minute self-guided meditation and I set the bell to ring every 5 minutes as a reminder in case my mind has wandered. And when I have trouble sleeping, I put on Yoga Nidra for Sleep by Jennifer Piercy. Oh, and the best part about this app is that it is completely FREE!
Headspace was developed by Andy Puddicomb who spent 10 years as a Buddhist monk in Asia and then decided to bring the transformative power of mindfulness meditation to the masses by way of an app. Andy even has a TED talk where he shares about his journey.
With headspace there is a free 10 day introductory offer where you can try out their ‘basic’ meditations. After that it’s $12.99 a month, or $94.99 a year if you want to continue, with access to hundreds of meditations including different themed meditations like Meditations for Sleep, Meditations for Stress, Meditations for Anxiety, etc.
The lovely thing about the Headspace program is it has an animated introduction to each group of meditations, to give you an idea about what the meditation is about and what doing it hopes to accomplish.
3. The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App has been designed by a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, Catherine Polan Orzech, from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
The app has a multitude of meditations led by some of the leaders in mindfulness and compassion meditation including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Kristin Neff, Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Adyashanti, Rick Hanson and Jack Kornfield.
The basic app is free, and it also has a premium section that is $9.99 a month, or $59.99 for a year’s subscription.
Calm has been listed as Apple’s 2017 App of the Year and also as the #5 app on Apple’s best health and fitness apps list. Calm offers 100+ guided meditations covering anxiety, focus, stress, sleep, relationships and more.
There is also a section taught by the Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert, on strategies she has used to overcome fear and unlock her inner creative process. The first seven days are free, so you can try it out before purchasing it. After that it’s $12.99 per month or $59.99 per year.
5. 10 Percent Happier
The 10% Happier app, inspired by Dan Harris, the ABC News correspondent who wrote the New York Times bestseller 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works, offers a variety of daily videos and guided meditations for "fidgety skeptics".
This app also has some top mindfulness teachers leading the meditations including Judson Brewer, who is currently the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness UMass Medical School, as well as Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein.
The app costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.
This wraps up our review of the best mindfulness apps. Now it's your turn: what mindfulness apps have you used? Have they helped you deepen your meditation practice? Please let me know in the comments below.