You’d think that taking some time for peace and quiet wouldn’t be such a hard sell. But so many people try meditation once or twice, only to get discouraged. Why do people stop meditating? Why is a meditation practice challenging to stick with?
Because it can be tough! It can take a lot of effort to quiet your mind and put aside your to-do lists, relationship issues and all the other random thoughts that go through your head during a meditation session.
If you want to make meditation a part of your daily practice but have tried unsuccessfully in the past, consider trying one of the many meditation and mindfulness apps available. There are tons of apps out there, many of them free, that can help you reach your meditation goals. Whether that means establishing a daily practice or just taking a breather during a stressful day, there’s an app for that!
The Top Reasons to Meditate
You don’t have to be super-spiritual to start a meditation practice. In fact, meditation can have amazing, positive benefits for anyone. Even a few minutes of meditation a day has been shown to rewire your brain and calm your nervous system. Here are just 10 of the top benefits of meditation:
- Eases anxiety and stress
- Decreases depression
- Promotes more restful sleep
- Increases focus
- Boosts creativity
- Improves memory
- Increases your ability to control negative emotions
- Creates feelings of compassion
- Reduces cellular inflammation
- Improves immune function
If any of these benefits sound like they would make a difference in your life, read on to learn more about some of the top meditation apps used by millions of people around the world every day.
3 Popular Meditation Apps for Beginners
Insight Timer is probably lesser known than some of its larger competitors, but it has built a robust community of meditators from across the globe. According to their website, Insight Timer gives access to over 27,000 guided meditations, music tracks, learn to meditate courses, a meditation timer and progress tracking – all for free.
The options are nearly endless and cover popular topics like sleep, gratitude, creativity, love and everything in between. Insight Timer offers meditations in more than 30 languages, so it truly is accessible to anyone, regardless of budget or geography.
Pricing: Free; Upgrade to Premium for $5.00/ month billed annually to access new courses, exclusive daily meditations and more; Premium offers a 7-day free trial
Named by the Center for Humane Technology as “the world’s happiest app,” Calm has been considered the number one meditation app in the world. The Calm website states that their app has over 50 million downloads, hundreds of thousands of 5-star reviews and has won numerous awards from the likes of Apple and Google.
Calm offers guided meditations, music for sleep and relaxation and lessons on movement and mindfulness. They even have sleep stories read by some well-known names such as Matthew McConaughey, Leona Lewis and John McEnroe, among many others.
Pricing: Free 30-day trial; After trial, $59.99/ year; Lifetime subscription $399.99
Headspace’s mission is “to improve the health and happiness of the world.” Started by Andy Puddicombe, a Sports Science student turned Buddhist monk, Headspace is used by millions of people in 190 countries across the world. It contains meditation lessons, guided meditations, articles, videos and other resources to help people learn how to develop a sustainable and enjoyable practice.
Although not free of charge, there is a Basics plan that will give you a complimentary 10-day course on the fundamentals of meditation and mindfulness. Just enough time to see how it works! If you like it, you can subscribe to a monthly or annual plan.
Pricing: $12.99/ month or $7.99/ month with an annual payment; $19.99/ month for a family plan; student discounts are available
Which one will you try?
Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm are just three of the apps available to help you develop a meditation and mindfulness practice. No matter which one you choose, you are making a positive step toward improving your sleep, boosting your mood and reducing your stress. The benefits of meditation are clear – which app will you choose?
For those of you who have used or currently use an app for meditation, which one do you recommend? What are the features that you think would be most beneficial for beginners?