To deal with the chaos of life, many people turn to wellness practices like meditation, which can help reduce psychological stress and stress-related health problems. Since the world of mindfulness can be an intimidating one given the number of options, meditation apps are a great way to ease your way in or keep up with a practice (plus you’re on your phone all of the time anyway!). We’ve researched and selected our favorites, which cater to everyone from beginners to insomniacs and those looking for variety. Find the Zen that best fits you.
Why We Chose It: Calm offers a huge library of meditations, even some narrated by celebrities and accomplished artists. Plus, it tailors the user experience to meet your needs depending on your goals.
What We Like
- Frequently updated with new meditations
- Offers a range of perks
- Provides a customized experience
What We Don’t Like
- Not many short guided meditations
Whether you’re looking to increase your happiness, build self-esteem, or develop gratitude, you’ll find something in Calm’s large library of meditations. A new original Daily Calm meditation is also added every day.
The first prompt you see when you download the Calm app is one you’ll take with you throughout every practice: Take a deep breath. Next, you’re asked a series of questions to help customize and curate your experience. Calm then selects the best meditations for your needs.
What makes the app truly stand out from the others are the special add-ons. There’s a Mood and Gratitude Check-in feature that allows you to track and document your “emotional rhythm” and essentially serves as a mini, digitized diary.
In the Sleep Stories section, you can select from a variety of celebrity voices like Idris Elba, Harry Styles, and Kate Winslet who will help lull you to sleep. The Spark gives users a quick dose of inspiration through interviews with fascinating people from all walks of life.
If you prefer more calming music and less talking, there’s a wide selection of ambient songs from popular musicians like Toro y Moi.
All are useful tools to help you to stay centered throughout the day, and for $70 per year, it seems like a real steal. This award-winning app boasts more than 1.5 million 5-star reviews.
Why We Chose It: Insight Timer made our list because it’s free and allows you to interact with others who are looking to calm their minds.
What We Like
- No charge
- Lots of variety in options
- Provides a communal aspect
What We Don’t Like
- Not as aesthetically pleasing as other apps
- Can be difficult to navigate
One complaint surrounding a lot of meditation apps is the price. Insight Timer provides an affordable alternative, with more than 100,000 guided meditations available free of charge.
Learn from seasoned teachers about how to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. Or, if you’re simply looking for a soothing ambiance, sort through a selection of relaxing music tracks, nature sounds, singing bowls, blocks, and chimes.
Since the offerings are free, they’re not as organized or structured as the other apps, so it might take you a while to weed through the meditations and teachers to find the ones that resonate with you. Luckily, there are a bunch of community features and discussion groups to assist.
If you’re looking to dip your toes into this particular wellness space but don’t want to shell out a bunch of money to do so, Insight Timer is a great option. Once you feel ready to upgrade, a premium version of this app is also available at $60 per year and with an optional 30-day free trail.