When you think of mindfulness, you probably don’t immediately associate it with technology.
After all, the whole idea of meditating revolves around being present, and our iPhones are the ultimate portal for escaping the here and now. Whether we’re avoiding our colleague in the line at Starbucks, or enduring yet another uncomfortable elevator ride at the dentist’s office, our Instagram feed provides a means of escape for situations that prove less than stimulating.
Low and behold, mindfulness is now rapidly integrating into our technological processes—most notably, apps. As of 2012, about 8 percent of all U.S. adults had a meditation practice. But now that people have access to guided meditation right at their fingertips, who knows how the statistics may change within the next couple of years?
If you’ve been thinking about starting a meditation practice, but aren’t quite sure what app is right for you, we’ve rounded up seven options that each offer different routes for kickstarting your practice.
This gorgeously designed app immediately takes you to serene destinations right on your screen—from an evergreen rainforest to a placid lake. You can choose from many guided meditation themes such as “Happiness,” “Gratitude” and—of course—”Calm.” You’ll be guided through a free, ten-day trial before being asked to purchase a subscription. At $9.99/month or $39.99/year, this app falls on the more affordable end of the spectrum as far as mindfulness apps go.
Upon opening this handy app, you’ll be prompted to conduct a 10-second check-in with how you’re feeling (both mentally and physically). Then, the app will ask you a few simple questions before suggesting a meditation curated to your current state of mind—no matter how turbulent. If you’re feeling anxious though, you can always skip this step and head straight to their list of guided meditations, including the classic “Body Scan,” “Welcoming the Day,” “Engaging Your Senses” and many more.
Created by Dan Harris of ABC News, this app rounds up some of modern meditation’s expert teachers—from Joseph Goldstein to Sharon Salzberg to Alexis Santos—for guided meditations delivered straight to your phone. Once you’ve subscribed to the 10% Happier App ($9.99/month, $79.99/year), you will also receive a meditation coach to keep you on top of your game, and hold you to your practice.
By the time you’ve finished your trial of Headspace, you will have fallen head over heels for the sweet British accent of meditation leader, Andy Puddicombe. This simply designed meditation app starts out by teaching you foundational skills for your practice, then you can pick particular qualities you’d like to work on, including patience, acceptance and kindness. While the first ten days are free, this app is also subscription-based ($12.9/month, $95.88/year).
If you’re an athlete interested in diving into a meditation practice, look no further. In less than five minutes a day, this app will guide you through mental training exercises geared towards elevating your performance, whether you’re hitting the track, shooting hoops or dancing. Lucid’s mental coaches have worked with big name athlete including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and many others. At $9.99/month or $99.99/year, this app may be a valuable investment for your sport.
Insight Timer stands out from its brethren because of one fantastic aspect—community. Not only does this app make unguided and guided mediation easy to access, it also allows you to connect with other meditators throughout the world. Whether you’re struggling with your practice, or want to share an experience you’ve had on the cushion, there’s a whole world of meditators within Insight Timer that are willing (and eager) to connect with you. Oh, and it’s absolutely free!
This $4.99 app contains a color wheel of mindfulness practices for day to day situations. Whether you’re surfing the net or taking a quick break from work, this app makes it simple to plug in your earphones and cultivate mindfulness right here, right now. Buddhify will also track your meditation practice so you can watch your graph spike upwards with satisfaction.
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