Apps for Mindfulness & Meditation
Just like we can improve our physical health by moving our bodies, we can improve our mental health by exercising our minds. Improving your mental fitness takes consistent practice through exercises and resources that resonate with you. There is no single way to practice, but by trying more tools and methods, you can hopefully find one that works for you.
Here are a few apps that can help you build mindfulness and meditation practices into your day.
The aim of this list is to provide a range of resources for mental wellness. Mindfulness and meditation can bring up difficult feelings, memories or thoughts for some people. If an app is beginning to upset you, please stop and take a break, or seek professional help.
Headspace is your guide to mindfulness for everyday life. Learn meditation and mindfulness skills from world-class experts like Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe, and develop tools to help you focus, breathe, stay calm, and create balance in your life — whether you need stress relief or help to get restful sleep. Stress less. Sleep soundly. Get happy. Learn the life-changing skills of meditation and mindfulness in a few minutes a day with Headspace. Headspace is free to download with optional in-app purchases and subscriptions.
With calming exercises, breathing techniques to help you relax, and even a Calm Kids section with meditations for kids between 3 and 17, Calm is a great mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users. Guided meditation sessions are available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes so you can choose the perfect length to fit with your schedule. The Sleep Stories section features a great mix of voice talent to lull you to sleep – drift off to dreamland and wake up refreshed. Calm is free to download, but content in the free version is limited.
Browse thousands of meditations to begin building a simple daily habit, jump into discussion groups and community features, and use the music tracks and ambient sounds to calm your mind and promote sleep. Guided meditations and talks are led by the world's top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers from Stanford, Harvard, the University of Oxford and more. Insight Timer has music tracks from world-renowned artists. With 80+ new free guided meditations added daily, more meditation is practiced on Insight Timer than anywhere else. Insight Timer is free to download with optional in-app purchases and subscriptions.
HeadGear is a free easy-to-use smartphone app that guides you through a 30–day mental fitness challenge which includes mindfulness tasks and exercises. Based on techniques scientifically proven to build good mental health, it features a range of simple engaging daily activities to help reduce and manage stress, improve sleep, connect better with friends and deal with difficult situations. HeadGear features daily short exercises including videos, quizzes, and activities to boost your resilience, tools to improve your wellbeing, a mood gauge to track and reflect on how you’re feeling, and daily quotes and reminders.
Developed by Anxiety Canada, MindShift CBT was designed to help teens and young adults
cope with anxiety. MindShift CBT provides strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to tackle sleep, test anxiety, perfectionism, social anxiety, performance anxiety, and panic. Learn about the different CBT strategies, including writing thought journals, challenging yourself with belief experiments, building fear ladders, and doing comfort zone challenges. Listen to calming audio to reframe your thoughts, practice mindfulness, and stay grounded.
Developed by the Mindful Awareness Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the app teaches you to focus on your breath, your body, or sounds; work with difficult emotions; and cultivate loving-kindness in sessions ranging from 3 to 19 minutes long. If you’re new to mindfulness, you might choose to take advantage of their Getting Started section, which offers information on what mindfulness is, how to choose a meditation, which posture is best for your practice, and what research-backed benefits you might expect from it. As a bonus, the app also offers longer meditations that it calls “podcasts.” These are half-hour audio recordings of lunchtime meditations that take place weekly on the UCLA campus.