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Are you feeling stressed, burnt out, and generally just worn out? Well, you're not alone. In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to feel like you're always on the go, with no time to stop and smell the roses, let alone meditate. Meditation can help you feel more centered, focused, and even improve your mood. It can provide you a moment to breathe, relax, and maybe even find your inner zen (or at least try). So take a deep breath, and let's explore the wonderful world of meditation together.
Best meditation apps for iPhone and Android in 2023
- Insight Timer
- Ten Percent Happier
- Simple Habit
- Smiling Mind
- Waking up
What is meditation?
Meditation is a mental practice that involves training the mind to focus and calm down, often by using specific techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, or repeating a mantra. The goal of meditation is to increase awareness, reduce stress and anxiety, and achieve a sense of inner peace.
The origins of meditation can be traced back to ancient civilizations, with proof of meditation practices found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. The earliest recorded evidence of meditation is from India, around 1500 BCE, where it was practiced as part of yoga and Hinduism. In Buddhism, meditation is an essential part of the practice, with the Buddha himself achieving enlightenment through meditation (cool, huh?).
Over the years, meditation has evolved and been adapted in various ways. Today, it is widely practiced around the world, with a growing body of research supporting its benefits for mental and physical health. And don’t worry, there are plenty of different types to try. This is a personal journey, so be sure to find what’s right for you!
What are the benefits of meditation
Meditation has been shown to have loads of physical and mental health benefits. Here are some of the most notable:
- Reduces stress and anxiety: One of the main reasons people meditate is to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that regular mindfulness meditation can lower levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress, and reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders.
- Improves focus and attention: Practicing meditation can help with your ability to concentrate and stay focused. This is because it helps strengthen the part of the brain responsible for regulating attention.
- Enhances emotional well-being and self-care: Meditation can help you manage your emotions and cultivate an increased sense of self-awareness. This can lead to improved relationships and a greater sense of overall happiness and positivity.
- Lowers blood pressure: Studies have shown that regular meditation can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Improves sleep: Meditation can also improve the quality of your sleep by reducing symptoms of insomnia and promoting relaxation. Pro-tip: use lavender essential oils to take your practice to the next level.
- Boosts immune system: Regular meditation has been linked to a stronger immune system, which can help keep you feeling your best year-round.
Have we convinced you yet? If so, give one of the apps below a try.
Things to consider before picking a meditation app
Meditation apps have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people turning to them as a way to learn and practice meditation. While there are many benefits to using a meditation app, it's important to choose one that is best for your needs and goals. Consider these aspects when choosing a meditation app:
- Type of meditation: Different meditation apps offer different types of meditation, such as mindfulness, loving-kindness, and body scan. Consider which variety of meditation you're interested in and whether the app offers that type of practice.
- Level of experience: Some meditation apps are geared towards beginners, while others are designed for more experienced meditators. Choose an app with your level of experience and skill so you aren’t overwhelmed.
- Features: Meditation apps offer a variety of features, such as guided meditations, timers, bedtime stories, breathing exercises, and progress tracking. Think about which features are important to you and choose an app that offers them.
- Price: While many meditation apps include free content, some require a subscription or offer premium features for a fee. Decide whether you're willing to pay for an app and how much you're willing to spend. We suggest starting with free options and upgrading from there!
- Reviews: Before choosing a meditation app, read reviews from other users to get an idea of their experiences. Look for apps with high ratings and positive reviews to set yourself up for success.
- Compatibility: Make sure the app is compatible with your device (iOS (Apple iPhone), or Android) and operating system before downloading it from the app store.
- Accessibility: Consider whether the app is accessible for people with disabilities, such as closed captioning or audio descriptions.
- Personal preferences: Lastly, consider your personal preferences when it comes to the app's design, voice, and overall feel. You'll be more likely to use the app regularly if it aligns with your personal tastes and preferences.
By taking the time to research and compare different apps, you can find one that suits your needs and helps you establish a regular meditation practice.
List of the best meditation apps
Meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people turning to meditation apps to help guide their practice and reap the benefits of meditation. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right app for you. Here are some of the best meditation apps on the market.
Headspace is a widely recognized meditation app that aims to make meditation accessible to everyone, regardless of their experience level. With a charming and user-friendly interface, Headspace offers a variety of guided meditation sessions designed to address different aspects of well-being, such as stress reduction, better sleep, increased focus, and improved relationships.
The app provides a structured approach to meditation, featuring guided courses that introduce users to foundational techniques and gradually progress to more advanced practices.
Headspace also offers mini-meditations for quick mindfulness breaks and features unique animations and videos that help demystify meditation concepts. With its combination of guided sessions, educational content, and a soothing voice guiding the meditations, Headspace has gained popularity for its ability to make meditation simple and enjoyable.
Calm is a meditation app that promotes relaxation, better sleep, and stress reduction through a wide range of mindfulness exercises. The app offers a diverse selection of guided meditations, including sessions for beginners, intermediate practitioners, and even specialized programs for specific goals like gratitude, self-compassion, or focus.
Calm also features soothing nature sounds, music tracks, and bedtime stories for a restful sleep experience. Additionally, the app offers breathing exercises, mindful movement exercises, and stretching routines to help users incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives. With its serene visuals, tranquil sounds, and extensive library of meditations, Calm has become a go-to app for individuals seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating meditation experience.
Insight Timer provides a vast collection of guided meditations, music tracks, and talks from a diverse community of teachers and practitioners. With a comprehensive library that covers various meditation styles, traditions, and durations, Insight Timer offers options for all levels of experience and personal preferences. Users can explore different categories of meditation, such as mindfulness, loving-kindness, body scan, and more.
The app also includes a timer with customizable features, allowing individuals to meditate in silence and track their progress. Insight Timer fosters a sense of community by connecting users with meditation groups and enabling the sharing of meditation experiences. With its extensive content and diverse community, Insight Timer offers a rich and engaging meditation experience.
Ten Percent Happier is a meditation app created for skeptics and busy individuals who seek practical and down-to-earth guidance on meditation. Developed by journalist and author Dan Harris, the app presents mindfulness practices in a straightforward and accessible manner. Ten Percent Happier offers a variety of guided meditations led by experienced teachers, addressing different topics like stress, anxiety, self-compassion, and relationships.
The app also features bite-sized meditation sessions called "Daily Dose" for quick mindfulness breaks. Ten Percent Happier distinguishes itself by providing expert interviews, scientific explanations, and discussions on the benefits of meditation, offering a blend of practical techniques and engaging content to support users on their mindfulness journey.
Simple Habit is a meditation app that focuses on providing short, guided meditations tailored to fit into busy lifestyles. Recognizing that finding time for meditation can be challenging, Simple Habit offers sessions as short as five minutes, making it easier to incorporate mindfulness into a hectic schedule.
The app offers a diverse range of guided meditations led by experienced teachers, with themes such as stress relief, work productivity, sleep, and relationships.
Simple Habit also provides on-the-go meditations for specific situations like commuting, walking, or taking a break. With its emphasis on convenience and efficiency, Simple Habit appeals to individuals looking for quick and effective mindfulness practices to alleviate stress and enhance well-being.
Sattva is a meditation app with guided meditations, chants, and mantras for spiritual growth and self-discovery. It offers a free trial and subscription options, with features such as personalized recommendations, consistent new content, and progress tracking.
Waking Up focuses on guiding users towards a deeper understanding of mindfulness and consciousness. Created by Sam Harris, a well-known neuroscientist and philosopher, the app combines ancient contemplative practices with modern scientific insights. With its clean and intuitive interface, Waking Up offers a variety of guided meditations, ranging from brief sessions for beginners to longer ones for more experienced practitioners.
The app also provides daily meditative lessons, insightful talks, and practical exercises to help users cultivate mindfulness throughout their day. Waking Up stands out for its emphasis on exploring the nature of self, consciousness, and the fundamental principles of meditation, making it a valuable resource for individuals seeking a deeper understanding of their own minds.
Aura provides personalized mindfulness experiences to its users. With a focus on mental well-being and stress reduction, Aura offers a wide range of meditation techniques suitable for different needs and preferences.
The app starts by assessing the user's emotional state and goals through a quick questionnaire and then tailors meditation sessions accordingly. Aura provides a variety of guided meditations, breathing exercises, and calming music tracks that cater to different moods, such as reducing anxiety, improving sleep quality, boosting creativity, or increasing focus.
Additionally, Aura features a gratitude journal, where users can reflect on positive aspects of their lives and develop a daily gratitude practice. The app's user-friendly interface and customized approach make it a popular choice for individuals seeking a personalized meditation experience.
Buddhify is a meditation app designed to bring mindfulness into the busy and modern lifestyle of its users. With a unique approach, Buddhify offers guided meditations that are tailored to various daily activities and environments, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
The app features a wide range of meditation sessions categorized by different themes such as waking up, commuting, working, eating, and going to sleep.
Buddhify's strength lies in its versatility, providing meditations that can be easily incorporated into different moments of the day, allowing users to find moments of calm and presence in their daily routines.
With a clean and visually appealing design, Buddhify offers a broad selection of meditation techniques, including breathing exercises, visualizations, and mindfulness practices, all conveniently packaged within a portable app for on-the-go use.
By trying out these meditation apps, you can find one that meets your specific needs and preferences. Remember that consistency is key, so find an app that you enjoy and that helps you stay on track.
If you find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, or unable to relax, then daily meditation or breathwork may be the right practice to add into your routine. It’s also a good idea to work closely with a practitioner to determine if there are other environmental, diet, or genetic factors adding an overwhelming amount of anxiety to your life.
The Lanby can help create a personalized diet and lifestyle plan that will help improve your overall health and wellbeing. Book a free consult to talk with a membership advisor. Already a member? Book an appointment with your Wellness Advisor.
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