7 of the best meditation apps

7 of the best meditation apps

We all know meditation and mindfulness are great for us, right? I mean, lower heart rate and blood pressure, lower stress, clearer thinking, less psycho-hose-beastiness…the benefits go on and on.

The thing is though, meditation is a bit hard, and a bit confronting and, if you’re anything like I was, you avoid it because you’re already so busy and the dinner needs to be cooked, and work needs to get done and the cats need bathing, and the andirons need cleaning…

Here’s the thing though: meditation is so important for our health that it can have a significant effect on our everyday happiness.

7 of the best meditation apps

It’s that huge. Why wouldn’t you meditate?

But it’s up to us to make time for it. And it doesn’t have to be heaps of time. You don’t need to be Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love for crying out loud. But you can fit little pockets of time into your day that will have a significant effect on your physical and mental wellbeing. And if you can’t prioritise that, well nobody else is going to do it for you.

I made it my secret new year’s resolution to meditate every day this year but I didn’t want to tell anyone in case I fucked it before the first week was out, but I’m happy to report I’ve made it through the first three months and the benefits are already MASSIVE. I’ll share more on that later in the year as I become all guru-esque and start astral travelling and shit.

But for now, I’m sharing some of the best meditation apps around that make meditating easier and more fun than ever before. (Yes, I said fun. I’m a convert. Shoot me.)

Headspace

Headspace is the grandaddy of all meditation and mindfulness apps. Loved by celebs everywhere, it has a great introductory 10-day program you can do for free, and then if you want to continue you can pay for a subscription. There is very little I pay for online because you can find stuff for free everywhere, but I pay for Headspace because it’s very very good. Run by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, Headspace believes there is nothing more important than looking after the health of the mind. Their mission is to get people everywhere to sit and meditate for a few minutes every day – and have it considered no more strange than taking a shower. The New York Times said, ‘Andy Puddicombe is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food.’ And his accent is pretty similar too.

Available on iOS and Android.

Buddhify

I am madly in love with Buddhify. With a beautiful and user friendly interface, it has dozens of different meditations that you can use for different purposes, such as waking up, walking in the city, feeling stressed, work break, pain and illness, and dealing with difficult emotions. There are different voices on there so if you don’t like one, you can just go and use another. And my favourite thing about Buddhify is you can keep tabs on how you’re going with a record of how many consecutive days you’ve meditated, and how much time you’ve spent meditating this week. (I find this seriously addictive – I love watching my stats go up. That’s probably not very zen of me but fuck it, baby steps…)

Available on iOS and Android.

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit organisation that works to make mindfulness meditation accessible to all. I have never used their app but so many people rave about it that I couldn’t not include it. Fans say the free guided meditations are brilliant for mindfulness training – and it’s loved by over a million people, so that’s a pretty good recommendation. It’s also recommended by lots of high schools for anxious teenagers.

Available on iOS and Android.

7 of the best meditation apps

Insight Timer

Now that I’ve been meditating for a few months, Insight Timer is my absolute favourite. It has a massive library of thousands of guided meditations which I’ve found to be really amazing (with meditations ranging from a few minutes to well over an hour), plus it also has different features you can use for your own quiet meditation including music and nature sounds, and bells that you can time to ring at the start and end of your pre-determined time, and at whatever intervals you like throughout. You can also interact with other users all over the world, listen to talks on myriad aspects of meditation and philosophy, and join groups of like-minded souls. You can also send friend requests to people, which is a bit hilarious because the only ones I’ve received have been from men, prompting my friends to dub it “Tinder for meditators”, but it’s all very respectful and pleasant (and you can turn that function off if you like). Not a dick pic in sight.

Available on iOS and Android.

Simply Being

Simply Being is crazy popular and has been recommended by the New York Times, Huffington Post, Yoga Journal, and heaps of other raving fans. It’s elegantly simple and is great for beginners and experienced meditators alike. You can choose your meditation length, listen to a guided meditation with or without music or nature sounds, or just listen to music or nature sounds alone. A great classic app.

Available on iOS and Android.

Relax Melodies

Relax Melodies is one is my 6 year old son’s favourite, and something different from the other apps. Basically it’s a library of various sounds you can play, either on their own, or in concert with one another, to create a beautiful ambient sound with which to meditate. Choose from classics such as River, Birds or Piano, or get a bit loose with Medieval, Grandfather Clock, or Vacuum. There is seriously something for everyone. My son listens to it as he drifts off to sleep each night, and I have to say I find it really relaxing as well.

Available on iOS and Android.

Walking Meditation (Meditation Oasis)

Walking Meditation is brilliant because – and if you’ve read the title this won’t surprise you – it combines walking and meditation. So you stick your headphones in and listen to a guided meditation while you amble around somewhere. It’s best to walk somewhere you won’t have to stop for streets or traffic, if you can. I find the combination of meditation and walking (and actually running too but I don’t use an app for that) to be really invigorating.

Available on iOS and Android.

7 of the best meditation apps

Now, the biggest and most important thing to remember when it comes to meditating – especially if you’re a beginner who gets frustrated or finds the whole process intimidating – is that any meditation is good meditation. You don’t have to be a perfect Zen master or experience whacky out of body shit to reap the benefits. If your mind wanders, that’s okay. Just gently bring it back each time you notice it wandering. It will happen a lot at first, and it will continue to happen forever. We’re human. What’s important is that you keep trying. Meditation gets easier with practice, and the benefits are more than worth it.

 

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.

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