Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of this year, we could all use a little zen to ground us and center our mind and spirit. No matter what season of life you’re in, we recommend that you take some time to love and care for your mind, body, and soul. Meditation is a great way to bring some calmness and refuel us — so light some candles, find somewhere comfortable, and let’s dive into the top meditation apps of the year to get you into the groove.
Insight Timer offers more than 45,000 free meditations! The library allows you to filter by need (such as stress, sleep, self-esteem), time (5 to 30+ minutes), or specific benefit (such as relationships, spirituality, kids, etc.). If you’re new to mediation, try the seven-day free course on how to meditate. You can also join the community of other meditators for free.
As if the delightful illustrations on the Headspace app aren’t enough, the guided courses and quick meditations should do the trick on winning you over. The team have branded Headspace as “your gym membership for the mind” and believe that your mind is a muscle that deserves just as much attention as your triceps. Beyond focusing on silencing your racing thoughts, this app offers sleep music and soundscapes to help you sleep.
Cost: $13 monthly with a seven-day free trial, or $70 annually with two-week free trial
Just as the name of this meditation app states, Calm is a portal to peace of mind. Once you open the app you’re then invited to complete the Daily Calm or locate a meditation more specific to soothing what you have going on, wether that be anxiety, stress, a need for sleep, etc. Additionally, there are walking meditations, body scans, masterclasses, and Sleep Stories — one of which comes courtesy of Matthew McConaughey.
Cost: $70 annually with a seven-day free trial
Aura is for people who have barely enough free time to read this sentence. Just stop reading and download this app! For anyone else who maybe needs a way to quickly calm their nerves before a big interview, soothe their worries, or get jolted out of a panic attack, Aura may be a a good fit for you. Its collection of three-minute sessions and 30-second anxiety busters are designed to help pull you out of intense situations.
Cost: Premium membership costs $12 monthly, $60 annually, or $400 for lifetime use
Mindfulness is the goal with Smiling Mind, a free meditation app developed by psychologists and educators that offers a wide variety of programs for all ages. Particularly if you feel anxious about COVID or your kids feel stressed about disruptions to their everyday normal lives, this is an app that will have solutions for everyone.
This app (which is great for beginners!) connects you directly with experts who can coach you through the basics of meditation. They also personally respond to your queries, usually within a day. The point of the app is to eventually become happier despite your life circumstances.
Cost: $100 annually with a seven-day free trial
This app offers the usual guided meditations, custom sleep sessions, stress reducers, and more. But where Inscape sets itself apart is with playlists. Categorized by life’s moments (Tinder Troubles, Overcoming Your Fears, Study Chill), each little melodic meditation has your back.
Cost: $10 monthly or $59 annually with a free seven-day trial
Stop, Think, & Breathe
Though many meditation apps require your credit card number before offering anything helpful, the Stop, Breathe & Think app has a fairly robust slate of meditations completely free. Every time the app is opened, it invites you to check in with your feelings; you fill out a quick survey that leads you to a choice of meditations tailored to your needs on that particular day.
Cost: You can access more than 20 activities for free. Premium memberships are $10 monthly or $59 annually
Meditations, chants, mantras from Sanskrit scholars: This app is for serious zen seekers only. Sattva (which translates to “existence”) is one of the most comprehensive meditation apps. In addition to guided meditations led by the top experts in the industry, Sattva taps into your physical health as well. It’s equipped with a heart rate monitor and a mood tracker, meaning you can see in the palm of your hand the effects of your practice on your health.
Cost: $108 for lifetime use
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