You don’t have to be super spiritual and live somewhere in the mountains to meditate, although a lot of people still think that the super relaxing practice is just not for them. But it could be! Meditation is generally considered to be awesome for everyone, and really, it’s easier than it looks.With our busy lives and schedules it can be really hard to learn how to shut your brain for a few minutes every day, which is why you might want to start by downloading some apps that will teach you how to meditate — especially if you’re a beginner and you’ve never tried it before.
There are a few different kinds of meditation.
It doesn’t matter which type you choose, though — meditation is good for you any way you do it. It’s best known for reducing stress, but it can also help you sleep better, relieve some chronic pain, keep your energy up throughout the day, and improve your focus at work. Basically, meditation is like giving your brain a much-needed nap.
Here are a few meditation apps to get you started.
Headspace is a good place to start for beginners, but there’s also tons of features for the meditation guru. Their basic package is free and will help you through 10-minute meditation routines and track your progress. Once you start craving meditation, there are other packages that you can choose for a more tailored experience, like if you want something for before bedtime or to get your through high anxiety moments.
This one costs $2.99 for the Android version and $4.99 for iPhone, but it’s totally worth it. You can choose guided meditation tracks that last just a few minutes, if you need to calm down quickly after rush hour, or for half of an hour, if you want to chill out at home. You can track your progress and tell the app exactly what you’re doing in real time so you get the kind of meditation you need.
The Calm app will help you meditate or fall asleep using their free or paid tracks, depending on how serious you want to get. If you don’t want to use their Daily Calm track or feel like you don’t need a voice to walk you through it, you can also choose the Timed Meditation track and quiet your mind your own way.
Smiling Mind is a totally free app that introduces you to meditation with free exercises. Even cooler? There are specific sessions for people of all ages, as young as seven years old. Whether you have a kid at home and want them to take a time out now and again (or join you in some quiet awareness) or teach at a school and want to introduce a meditation practice, this is your new best friend. Studies show that when meditation replaces punishment like detentions, children of all ages respond better.
Aura is a top-rated app in both the Apple and Android app stores for a reason. The free app lets you choose from 3-minute mediation sessions, so you can stop and get calm AF whenever you want and you won’t even be late for your next meeting (and if you are, you’ll be blissfully mindful and aware of it).
Whether you want to relax or just be kinder to yourself and others, Stop, Breathe & Think has meditation sessions to help you get there. You just have to check in and tell the app how you’re doing, stop and do some breathing exercises, track your progress and moods — so you can start be mindful of how and when you feel whatever you feel — and get back to life feeling refreshed.
Insight Timer not only has free guided and timed meditation sessions, but there are also discussion groups where you can talk to other people, share your experiences, and maybe get some meditation tips. Did we mention it’s totally free?
Once you find an app you love and dedicate some time to mindfulness every day, you’ll start noticing the difference. Life doesn’t get easier and you’ll likely still lose your patience and get frustrated, but you’ll be able to get through it just a little easier.