April 13, 2023
best meditation apps
I researched various sources, including Reddit discussions, Healthline, Medical News Today, and Mashable to find the best meditation apps. There was a general consensus on a few top apps, such as Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer, with others like Waking Up and Ten Percent Happier also being mentioned. The sources were directly related to the original query, and I feel confident in presenting the findings.
Have an opinion? Send us proposed edits/additions and we may incorporate them into this article with credit.
"I like the Waking Up app. I tried to meditate without apps for literally decades, but this app is a big difference-maker for my high anxiety, adhd background. One feature I particularly like is the inclusion of a number of alternative meditation leaders, which can allow you to find out if a different app may be the one you stick with for the long term. But for my purposes, I relate to Sam Harris’s approach. As others have suggested, it’s not necessarily which app (or even non-app method) is ‘best’, but rather what fits your unique needs best. "
Ten Percent Happier
Other Meditation Apps
"Try the Sadhguru app. It includes an array of practices yogis have been doing for hundreds of years. They all have thorough explanations behind how they work and their benefits. I would recommend Isha kriya and upa yoga for daily practice to start with."
"Best guided meditation apps: Breethe, Headspace"
"Best meditation apps for sleep: Calm, buddhify"
Jump to top
Source: "Calming apps: What are they? Which ones are the..." (from web, www.medicalnewstoday.com)
The article lists 12 calming apps, including:
- Calm: best for sleep meditation
- Headspace: best for guided meditation
- The Mindfulness App: best for timed meditation sessions
- Buddhify: best for on-the-go meditation
- Sattva: best for Vedic meditation
- Sanvello: best for a combination of mindfulness and CBT
- Ten Percent Happier: best for practical teachings
- Insight Timer: best for a choice of meditation techniques
The article notes that calming apps aim to relieve stress and anxiety through mindfulness and meditation techniques.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing a person’s attention to the present moment.
The article provides tips for finding a calming app, including considering price and frequency of charges, social features, and app features.
The article cautions that apps are not a replacement for clinical treatment and that a doctor may recommend therapy, medication, or both for managing stress and anxiety.
Source: "Headspace Review: Pros and Cons of the Meditati..." (from web, www.healthline.com)
Headspace is a mindfulness app that provides guided meditations, mindful workouts and sleep techniques for iOS and Android users.
- The app was co-founded by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk who narrates a majority of the guided meditations.
- The app is not tied to any singular religious identity.
The app is best suited for beginners who prefer more structure and plan to do short sessions.
Headspace teaches eight helpful techniques derived from Burmese and Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
- Noting: labeling experiences as they arise into “thinking” or “feeling”
- Visualization: picturing something or someone in your mind
- Resting awareness: letting your mind roam free during meditation rather than focusing on the breath or a visualization
- Focused attention: focusing your attention on a single object, goal, or mantra
- Loving kindness: mentally sending goodwill, kindness, and warmth toward others
- Reflection: asking yourself questions
- Body scan: performing a mental scan, from the top of your head to the end of your toes to sync the body and mind
- Skillful compassion: focusing on a person you know or love and paying attention to the sensations that arise from the heart
- Headspace teaches eight helpful techniques derived from Burmese and Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
The app offers a variety of features, including guided meditations, sleep techniques, mindful workouts, and social connections.
- Meditate: includes both meditation courses and single programs centered around different topics.
- Sleep: includes relaxing guided sessions and Sleepcasts, which are paired with white noise to help you fall asleep.
- Move: includes low to medium impact workouts that focus on the mind-body connection.
- Focus: offers curated music and meditation playlists designed to help you focus on the work in front of you.
- Social connection: allows you to add friends and family from your contact book as buddies to hold each other accountable.
- The app can be downloaded for free, but there are paid subscriptions (Headspace Plus) that offer complete access to its content library.
Using Headspace to practice mindfulness meditation may help boost your well-being, promote positive thinking, and reduce emotional reactivity.
- Research from 2019 examined the effects of using Headspace to do short mindfulness meditations a few times per week for 8 weeks.
- Practicing mindfulness may help improve your mental focus. A 2018 study suggests that a 15-minute mindfulness meditation session can cut mind wandering by 22 percent.
Calm is another well-known meditation app that offers many of the same meditation techniques and subsequent benefits as Headspace.
- Calm is designed to be intuitive and soothing, often featuring nature images.
- Calm may be best for people with meditation experience.
- Healthline selects brands that have good business practices and are socially responsible. A mental health professional from Healthline’s Medical Network reviewed this article for accuracy.
Source: "Meditation apps for beginners: how to find the ..." (from web, mashable.com)
“Best Meditation Apps”
- Difficulty in choosing the right app due to bundle of sleep, exercise, yoga, and meditation content
Know what you want from a meditation app
- Consider if you want an app with meditation resources for kids, content to help you sleep, accessibility features like closed captions, access to live group meditations or individual coaching
- Ten Percent Happier, Balance, and Healthy Minds Program are suited for basic meditation techniques or deepening your practice
- Insight Timer is good for beginner meditators with a large meditation library, including yoga, breathwork lessons, live events, and journaling
- Simple Habit has guided meditations for kids and sleep content, but no accessibility features
Take stock of your strengths and challenges before choosing a meditation app
- Building a meditation practice comes with its own unique challenges
- Personality traits may affect the success of mind-body interventions
- Mental disorders or depression may be linked to poorer mental health following a meditation intervention
Apply skepticism and trust your instincts when selecting a meditation app
- Some guided meditations may be ineffective or turn people off to meditation
- Meditation apps often package themselves as secular to appeal to broad audiences, even if the meditation practices offered are rooted in spiritual traditions like Buddhism
- Fall back on your own best thinking as you assess meditations and the apps that host them
Source: "My thoughts on the Calm App for anyone consider..." (from reddit, r/Meditation)
Reddit user shares their thoughts on the Calm app and other meditation apps
- Suggests trying all the big apps to see which one works and sticks for you
- Has tried Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, 1 Giant Mind, and Aura
Prefers Calm because of its new Daily Calm and enjoys the variety
- Uses it at night to help sleep in a positive frame of mind
- Plans to add another session in the mornings in 2021
- Also loves that the Daily Reflection is based on the daily theme and uses it as a morning journal prompt
Appreciates the incremental goodness Calm has added to their routine
- Feels doing the Daily Calm is doing something good for themselves
- Suggests trying the trial before getting the lifetime membership [60% off at the time of writing]
Reddit users recommend Calm and Fabulous apps
- Calm is great value and a huge help
- 10 minutes of daily meditation, moods check, and reflections help see things with a different perspective
- Money spent on mental health
- Calm doesn’t support one user’s language, but not a big issue.
- Reddit users recommend Calm and Fabulous apps
Source: "Insight Timer is a FANTASTIC app to use for all..." (from reddit, r/Meditation)
Insight Timer app
- 40,000+ meditation choices
- Free app with option to pay for extra stuff like downloads
- Has helped people calm down during stressful times
- Timer function to track meditation time
- Guided meditation options available
- Courses available
- Some users experience “relaxation hypnosis” from too many guided meditations
- Quality control could be improved
- Paid membership available
- NowZone app mentioned by a user
- Some users prefer using the default clock app as a timer for meditation
- Some users suggest that the timer function in Insight Timer is reliable and flexible
- One user suggests that the focus on the 40,000+ meditations is not necessary and the app could benefit from focusing on the timer function
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How to choose a meditation app?
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What are the benefits of using a meditation app?
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What free meditations does Insight Timer offer?
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What types of visual content does Headspace offer?
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What features does Calm offer that make it stand out from other meditation apps?
Source: "What’s the best meditation app, and why?" (from reddit, r/Meditation)
- Lots of different types of meditations
- Tara Brach and Kate James’ meditations recommended
- Good for those with high anxiety and ADHD background
- Alternative meditation leaders included
- Different app may be the one you stick with best
- Sam Harris’s approach
- Includes an array of practices yogis have been doing for hundreds of years
- Thorough explanations behind how they work and their benefits
- Recommended practices: Isha kriya and upa yoga
Ten Percent Happier:
- Has helped stop merely reacting to things
- Helps get through a tough year
- Different mindfulness sessions for different “problems”
- Year free trial
- Costs a lot for lifetime but worth trying
- Helped user a lot
Source: "What are the best meditation apps? How do you p..." (from reddit, r/Meditation)
“Waking Up” by Sam Harris is recommended by multiple users on the Reddit post.
- One user says “Waking up in great. Also insight timer.”
- Another user says “I just started “Waking Up” and the first few lessons are outstanding but I’m biased because I think Sam is brilliant.”
Other recommended apps include:
- Calm: “Its got series, one off’s and sleep stories.”
- Dharma Seed: “has about 30K talks and guided meditations.”
- Audio Dharma: “an archive of Dharma talks given by Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella.”
- Insight Timer: “for a timer to track stuff.”
- Balance: “You get two different voices. A daily meditation course/progress plan for developing new meditation skills and then also the option to choose single meditations based upon what you want from your meditation pragmatically - e.g focus, less anxiety, sleep etc.”
- MyLife and Let’s Meditate: “two of my favorite free guided meditation apps on Android.”
- Enso: “I’ve got over 255 hours in on Enso and I have no plans to switch to anything else.”
- Headspace: “Yes I love headspace ! They have animations to help you understand certain exercises, short sessions for 3-5 minutes and long sessions of 10/15/20 minutes.”
- Brightmind: “has an amazing 30-day course called How to Meditate by Jeff Warren.”
- 10% Happier: “has an amazing selection of teachers, great teaching videos, and a lot of fun and engaging content.”
- One user suggests Tara Brach’s podcast for mediations and lessons.
- One user doesn’t think apps are necessary besides a timer and offers advice on focusing on breath.
- Another user shares a link to a YouTube video demonstrating a meditation practice.
- One user recommends Joseph Goldstein’s courses on 10 Percent. The app has a good amount of courses to begin with plus some short talks about different topics and an option to talk to a meditation specialist if you have any questions.
Source: "Best Meditation Apps for What YOU Need" (from reddit, r/Meditation)
Best meditation apps:
- $70 annually
- Recent update allows exercises and meditations through Apple Watch
- Celebrity voice talent like LeBron James, Matthew McConaughey, and Jerome Flynn
- Not much free content on the app.
- Quick & Easy, Mental Fitness, Sleep Stories, Meditations, Music, and Recent Daily Calms on your Home Page
- Calm Kids, Calm Masterclass, Calm Body, and a Breathing Exercise
- Track total sessions, meditation minutes, and longest day streak with a calendar
- Tamara Levitt has the best voice of all the guided meditations on this app
- White/orange color scheme(apparently a little less calming) and all content locked until you pay for “Headspace Plus”($70/year)
- Lots of visual content like videos and short, animated series before courses
- Moves section which is filled with workouts
- Personalized plans based on a little input from you
- Sections:The Performance Mindset, Personal Growth, Work & Productivity, Stress & Anxiety, Sleep, Kids & Parenting, Life Challenges, Sports, Physical Health, or if you’re a student
- It is the app with the most available meditations for free users(over 35,000 free meditations), providing 10 or more free guided meditations added every day
- Discussion groups and a world map of how many people are currently on the app
- Various categories: Learning to Meditate, Coping with Anxiety, Managing Stress, Improve Your Sleep, Mindfulness at Work, Improving Relationships, Boosting Your Self-Esteem, and For Your Mornings
- Everything else seems to be accessible to everyone(ie, free)
- 1 Giant Mind(apparently the essence of Transcendental Meditation, but 100% free), Sattva, and Plum Village are other apps mentioned
Source: "The 12 Best Meditation Apps - Healthline" (from web, www.healthline.com)
Webpage: 12 of the Best Meditation Apps
Best guided meditation apps:
- Breethe, Headspace
Best meditation apps for sleep:
- Calm, buddhify
Best meditation apps for breathing:
- iBreathe, Breathe+
Best app for quick meditation:
- Simple Habit
Best meditation apps for spirituality:
- Mindfulness with Petit BamBou, Waking Up
Best meditation apps for a budget:
- Oak, Meditation Studio
Best meditation app for beginners:
- The Mindfulness App
- Best guided meditation apps:
Benefits of meditation:
- Reducing stress
- Improving sleep
- Helping with addictions
- Decreasing blood pressure
Meditation apps can be used to learn meditation habits:
- Guided meditations provide cues for when to breathe and where to focus your attention.
- App profiles can be used to track progress through meditations.
How to choose a meditation app:
- Consider budget and experience level.
- Choose an app based on offered meditation styles or special features.
Headspace and Calm are two popular meditation apps that offer similar benefits.
Choose Headspace if:
- new to meditation
- want a more structured meditation practice
- want access to shorter, quick meditations
Choose Calm if:
- have some meditation experience
- want access to lengthier stories and music
- enjoy calming nature sounds
- want a less structured meditation practice.
- Choose Headspace if:
Source: "What is the best meditation app for free?" (from reddit, r/Meditation)
Reddit post from 5 years ago asking for the best free meditation apps
- Stop, Breathe & Think has great free features, but now has a subscription service
- Calm has some free guided meditations and some paid features
- Headspace has a free intro series of 10, 10-minute, guided sessions and a 30-day free trial of the paid service
- 10% Happier has some free meditations available
- Aware may be a free option
- Insight Timer has a timer feature, but users experienced issues with the timer not ringing
- HMM HAA - Breathe and Relax, Sleep, Remove Stress is an app available for Android users
- Additional apps mentioned that may have free features: Mooji, Dharma Seed, Atmosphere, and ACT Coach
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What is the best meditation app?