Meditation apps have become one of the easiest and most accessible ways to maintain a mindfulness regimen. Whether you prefer guided meditation, deep breathing exercises or soothing sleep stories, mindfulness meditation can be a huge added benefit to your daily wellness
Research suggests that the benefits of meditation may include a reduction in stress levels, depression, anxiety, and insomnia . And don't forget the physical benefits: meditation and deep breathing can also lower blood pressure and improve your heart rate variability a measure of how well you deal with stress. In addition, many studies show that sleep meditation can calm your mind and help you get a better night's sleep.
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For many people it is difficult to find the time or energy to devote to regular practice, and while a personal visit to a meditation studio for meditation programs may be a good option for some, it may be for others no practical approach to consistent meditation. With a little help from good meditation apps, zen could only be three minutes away. Here are the best meditation apps of 2020 to improve your mindfulness practice and relax your mind.
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Cost: Free week trial, $ 11.99 per month, $ 84.99 per year
FitMind, nicknamed "CrossFit for the Mind "was developed by Liam McClintock after meditation helped him kick off drugs and therapy for OCD and ADHD. McClintock believes that "mental fitness", a world in which we care for and train our minds, is the next major health revolution – and it would be a good thing if he was right .
FitMind helps you master meditation through a 30-day mental fitness challenge, complete with graphs and charts, so you can visualize your progress towards mindfulness. This mindful health app has daily challenges and other features that characterize a meditation app, but what I love about FitMind is that it provides clear scientific explanation as to why the meditations work: if you are a meditation skeptic, FitMind can challenge beliefs (in a good way).
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Cost: Free week trial, $ 7.99 per month, $ 59 .99 a year
Born after the immersive Unplug Meditation Studio in Los Angeles became a huge hit, the Unplug Meditation app offers over 700 mindfulness and meditation videos that range from just a minute to almost an hour. You can filter meditations by mood, outcome, height or teacher. The Unplug app has a unique dashboard where you can view your total days, hours, minutes, and seconds of meditation, set goals, and write in a gratitude journal.
Unlike some guided meditation apps, all sessions on the Unplug app are filmed in the Los Angeles studio, so it really feels like you're in an immersive class with an instructor. This app is great for people who need a lot of structure when it comes to meditation and enjoy visuals in addition to audio. However, if you prefer to meditate alone, you can choose from Unplug's ambient sounds, including nature sounds, and set a timer.
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Cost: $ 7.99 per month, $ 17.99 per quarter, $ 49.99 per year [19659013Thereismeditationandthenthereiselectroencephalogram(EEG)guidedmeditationMuseisahigh-techheadbandthatconnectstoyoursmartphoneviaBluetoothandmeasuresyourbrainwaveactivityrespiratoryrateandheartrateThesevensensorscollectdataandtranslateitintoeasy-to-understandmentalhealthstatistics
With the Muse headband and app, you can learn how your brain and body respond to certain meditation tracks, and how seemingly simple things – such as your posture – affect the quality of your meditation sessions. Muse also analyzes your body numbers (heart rate, respiratory rate, and brain wave activity) and turns them into sounds that train your brain to focus and relax.
Muse partnered with the Meditation Studio app to deliver guided meditation sessions from expert meditation teachers, with activity-based meditations such as & # 39; falling asleep & # 39; and & # 39; morning intentions & # 39 ;. Meditation studio is also suitable for Alexa. You don't need the portable Muse headband to have a great experience with Meditation Studio (they can be used separately), but it certainly provides a unique element for those interested in getting the most out of their daily meditation sessions.
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Cost: The app is free; Apollo wearable costs $ 349
Apollo Neuro is different in that it is not only intended as a meditation app, and you are not supposed to use Apollo while doing nothing. Instead, Apollo is a portable experience that seems to compensate for the symptoms of stress and anxiety and balances your body. Developed by physicians and neuroscientists from the University of Pittsburgh, this mindfulness-based stress reduction app works by sending soft vibrational waves to your body through your sense of touch, quickly improving your heart rate variation and signal safety.
You wear Apollo on your wrist or ankle. From the app, choose the result you need at that moment – energy, focus, mindfulness, sleep, relaxation, fun or recovery – and set a timer for up to 30 minutes. Apollo vibrates with frequencies that help your body reach that outcome. You can choose to continue what you are doing or focus on the vibrations.
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Cost: $ 14.99 a month, $ 69.99 a year, $ 399.99 lifetime subscription
The wide range of guided apps from Calm app meditations are primarily designed to help people relax (or calm down) compared to some other meditation apps designed to inspire deep thoughts or creativity.
The meditation time varies from 3 to 25 minute sessions. If you want to develop a daily meditation practice, try Daily Calm, the app's 10-minute program that you can practice before the start or end of your day. Calm has a knack for engaging in interesting celebrity partnerships – for example, the recently released "Train Your Mind" series focuses on mental fitness with LeBron James.
Calm also offers breathing exercises, bedtime stories and soothing background tracks to help you get a good night's rest. The premium plan includes all that and more, including Calm Body programs, monthly Calm Masterclasses and exclusive music. This is arguably one of the best meditation apps for a newcomer who wants to relax, reduce stress levels, and sleep better.
Cost: Free trial, $ 12.99 / month, $ 19.99 / month (family plan) or $ 69.99 for an annual plan
A list of "best guided meditation apps" wouldn't be complete without Headspace, the mindfulness app developed by the sports scientist who became a Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. Originally an event company, Headspace now offers guided meditations, animations, articles and videos to assist both beginners and experts in their meditation practice and has become one of the best known and most popular meditation apps in the category.
You can test Headspace with the free Basics course, which offers 10 meditation sessions to teach you the basics of meditation and get you into a conscious rhythm. You can also try a free meditation session from many of the app's guided meditation collections.
Oh, and if you're a runner check out the guided runs with Andy Puddicombe at Nike Run Club – – if your running is the only time to fit into your meditation, these guided tracks are a good way to do it.
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Cost: $ 9.99 per month or $ 99 per year; Wave hardware costs $ 199
Another immersive meditation experience, Wave uses beats of music to enhance meditation. The patented Wave Bolster, a memory foam cushion that supports your head and back, is infused with technology that allows you to feel the rhythm of a soundtrack through vibration. It also includes over-ear headphones and connects to the Wave app via Bluetooth, a subscription-based experience designed to look and feel like a music app rather than a meditation app.
The Wave app contains more than 80 music-driven meditation tracks, all designed with the intention of feeling the meditation instead of just hearing it. You can adjust the vibration intensity according to your mood and sensitivity. This app and pillow combo is great for people who think meditation is a bit woo-woo and want something that doesn't seem so spiritual.
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Cost: $ 11.99 per month or $ 96 per year – currently free until the end of April 2020 for support during coronavirus pandemic .
Burnout is real – seriously, the World Health Organization designated burnout as an official medical diagnosis in May 2019 . The meditations on Simple Habit focus on daily stress relief, and the developers know you are busy, so they make it as easy as five short minutes before meditation time. In fact, the app even offers a special playlist for burnout symptoms, with topics like & # 39; keep calm with a busy schedule & # 39; and & # 39; relieves morning anxiety & # 39 ;. There is even a guided meditation program for commuting only.
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As you might have guessed from its name, The Breathing App focuses only on breathing and the physiological benefits you get from slowing down your breathing – increased lung function, reduced stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and improved emotional balance. just to name a few – all of which are beneficial for overall health and sleep patterns.
The Breathing App, developed by Eddie Stern and author Deepak Chopra, is simple and perfect for those who want the benefits of mindfulness without diving too deeply into spirituality. You can only change two settings for the meditation program: exercise duration and breath ratio.
Cost: Free 5-day trial, $ 7.99 per month, $ 79.99 per year
Declutter the Mind is a no-nonsense meditation app that focuses on one simple thing: unnecessary , pushing out chattering thoughts. Most people are familiar with the feeling of bouncing around from one thought to another, not really able to focus on a single task or focus on an important thought.
Declutter the Mind is designed to help you retreat to the one thing you need to focus on and train your brain to stop all that jumping around. You can search for guided meditations by topic, of which there are many: stress, anxiety, body scan, depression, sleep, relaxation, concentration, clarity and cravings, just to name a few.
First there was functional fitness; now there is & # 39; functional music & # 39 ;. Helps you sleep soundly, focus and relax with soundtracks that go beyond just a good jam. These tracks are purposefully designed with ambient sound, soothing narrators, and scientifically proven scientific waves that help calm brain activity.
This functional music concept is not entirely new – people use music to help them focus and crush workouts almost forever – but it applies it to meditation in a new way. You can discover mixes by function, save your favorite mixes, create playlists with multiple tracks, speed up or slow down the narrator, and much more in the app.
Cost: $ 9.99 per month or $ 49.99 per year
Mindwell combines isochronous tones, solfeggio frequencies and spoken words to instill creativity and focus, which is different from the main purpose of many other meditation apps that focus on promoting relaxation.  Mindwell offers meditations to help you recover from stressful or disturbing moments that occur throughout the day. Let's say you went through a meeting with a client at work who didn't go well – you could use a Mindwell meditation specifically designed to dampen negative emotions and help you get on with your day.
The app also offers a feature called MoodShift, which maps your mood over time and lets you track your mood and meditation progress.
Cost: Free with in-app purchases.
I have added this breathing and meditation app. because it's even more convenient than iPhone ($ 699 at Apple) or Android apps for busy people on the go. Breathe is the mindfulness app for Apple Watch ($ 399 at Apple) that allows you to use short meditations without ever taking your phone off.
Using one of three presets – classic, focus, or calm – you breathe in rhythm with the on-screen animation. If you answer a call or text message or move too much during the exercise, you will not receive credit for that session.
Breathe is a native app on the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 so it does not appear in the iTunes Store. Breathe is not compatible with Android devices.
How I chose these apps
This guide to best meditation app choices is a list of meditation, mindfulness and breathing apps that claim the best reviews on the App Store and Google Play.
In addition to ratings and favorable reviews, I looked for apps for Android and iPhone that offer more than just audio meditation. In this list you will find options for customizable meditations, background music without words, engaging activities, inspiring push notifications and additional meditation or relaxation podcasts. Some apps go hand in hand with immersive experiences, such as a vibrating ankle strap or multi-sensor headband that translates body data (such as your heart rate) into sounds.
Finally, almost every app on this list was developed by a person or company with strong ties to meditation and mindfulness – not just someone who jumped on the meditation train to earn a few dollars, but previously offered formal training or their app developed after a personal revelation related to meditation and mindfulness.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.