Life has become very overwhelming. Whether you’re pulling an all-nighter for your studies, working longer hours at home, or simply dealing with the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially crucial to maintain a healthy balance in life. To do this, more and more people are turning to their smartphones.
In fact, the pandemic has led to a surge in downloads of meditation and sleep apps. Last year, a report from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower revealed that there were 2 million more downloads of these apps in April than in January, reaching close to 10 million total downloads for that month. In the week of March 29th alone, mindfulness app downloads hit 750,000 — that’s a 25% increase from the weekly average in January and February.
Indeed, cultivating mindfulness and meditating regularly can help promote more peace in your life. And it’s good that you don’t have to head over to a yoga studio or park to do this, as these apps can get you on the right path while staying at home.
With over 62 million downloads in 190 countries, Headspace is one of the most popular apps out there — and deservedly so. From its guided meditation exercises to its insightful articles and charming animations, the app is great for building a strong foundation in meditation and mindfulness. Beginners, for instance, can try out their free 10-day “basics” course where the app teaches the basics, such as eliminating distractions, sitting properly, and checking in with your breath.
What’s more, you can download the sessions to work offline, so you can meditate and refocus your mind wherever you may be. The app is free, but you can pay for its premium services that offer specialized courses like “Mindful Eating” and “Fear of Flying”.
- Pocket Yoga
Though Pocket Yoga is essentially an app for practicing, it features powerful meditative lessons you can use to grow your mindfulness practice. Plus, the lessons are narrated by a gentle voice who will help you connect with your inner self. And you can apply your mindfulness and meditation skills in yoga practice to achieve a stronger state of calm. While the app may cost $2.99 to download, it doesn’t require an internet connection to operate and automatically installs the sessions onto your phone.
Calm keeps you grounded with its range of guided meditation exercises, from three-minute to 25-minute sessions. And its “Daily Calm” program helps you meditate on various aspects of mindfulness for 10 minutes everyday.
This makes it perfect for busybodies whose only time for mindfulness and meditation is during their lunch break. A guide to maximizing your breaks by Gala Bingo notes how even with just a few minutes each day, it is possible to reap the benefits of mindfulness — such as reduced stress and increased happiness — with consistency and dedication. Therefore, even devoting just 10 minutes of your lunch or afternoon will help you get on a peaceful track in life. The free app also has a paid, premium subscription service that features soothing sleep stories narrated by celebrities like Harry Styles, Matthew McConaughey, and Laura Dern.
- Stop, Breathe & Think
Stop, Breathe & Think is a mindfulness and meditation app that focuses on creating an intentional experience. When you open the app, the first thing you’ll see is a message asking how you’re feeling. Whether you’re nervous or burned out, it tailors its guided meditations to help you properly heal. Not to mention, the free app also has acupressure videos that can help you relax. As explained by Verywell Health, acupressure is the application of manual pressure on specific body points. In turn, it helps relieve any physical tension.
- 10% Happier
While most apps have a tranquil feel to them, 10% Happier approaches mindfulness and mediation in a no-nonsense way. The straightforward app is ideal for those who aren’t too keen on the concept, as the guided meditations will carefully walk you through the basics. Plus, things won’t feel repetitive, since new exercises are added weekly. Though the app is free, you can unlock 500 more guided mediations on its premium subscription.
- Simple Habit
Mindfulness app Simple Habit was made especially for busy people. It offers audio meditations as short as five minutes, so users can squeeze a little tranquillity into their day. There are short meditations for different scenarios — from having a tough day, to needing a good night’s sleep — along with mindfulness content uploaded by meditation teachers. These cover topics like stress, personal growth, kindness, relationships, and work. It’s the first app with a Netflix/Spotify model, too, introducing dozens of meditation teachers from around the world on one platform.
- Insight Timer
Hailed by TIME Magazine as one of its ‘50 Best Apps of the Year’ in 2016, Insight Timer has helped people cultivate peace of mind, improve sleep quality, and manage stress. It’s a free app great for both beginners and experienced meditators. It offers guided meditations and meditation music from different mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, meditation teachers, and artists. There are discussion groups and community-building activities, too, plus the option to track your progress over time. It features an advanced timer function, so you can set the length of time for your meditation session to suit your needs.
- Meditation Studio
The Meditation Studio app has over 30 meditation teachers contributing mindfulness content. It has three main courses — Meditation Essentials, Uncovering Happiness, and Changing Habits — and offers a wide range of meditation collections touching on different topics and themes, such as sleep, stress management, change, pain, and more. It integrates with the iPhone’s built-in Health app and can update your health calendar each time you complete a session. The app offers a subscription service to access value-added services.
Inscape has an actual meditation studio in New York City, with sounds and smells aiming to transport members to tranquillity. The app has a similar effect, but can be experienced in the comfort of your own home, or anywhere in the world. It offers the usual features: guided meditations, custom sleep sessions, stress reducers, and the like. But what makes Inscape unique is its playlists — categorized into various life’s moments, such as Tinder Troubles, Overcoming Your Fears, Study Chill, and more.
Breethe is currently one of the most downloaded meditation apps, and it started offering free memberships to North American healthcare workers in April 2020. It also launched a meditation collection called ‘Inner Wellness During Coronavirus’ to help people cope with the current crisis. In this free collection are meditations with special themes like Self-Care During the Coronavirus, Fear of Illness, Middle of the Night Worries, Meditations for Caregivers, Blanket of Love, and more.