Meditation and mindfulness have been gaining exponential popularity over the past year thanks to incredible benefits: combatting stress, fighting depression and anxiety, improving sleep, boosting energy, and even helping the immune system are just a few powerful reasons to start. If you're feeling intimidated, just remember you can keep your meditation practice simple and short. The goal is just to start! There are different types of meditation, but to get started, you can try a free or inexpensive app on your phone or tablet.
- Headspace. One of the most highly revered meditation apps (Emma Watson said it was "genius," so that's enough reason for us) is Headspace. It's free to download and start the trial program, with varying subscription prices (starting around $6 per month if you sign on for two years). You can download sessions to use offline and take different types of meditation with you in your pocket anywhere, anytime.
- OMG. I Can Meditate! Seriously, though! Created by meditation coach Lynne Goldberg, OMG. I Can Mediate is free, and has a variety of programs you can subscribe to. With specialty programs that can be time-based, relationship-focused, or spiritual, this in-depth, thoughtful app works for nearly every need.
- Yoga Wake Up Alarm Clock. Ready to get up on the right side of the bed? The Yoga Wake Up app lets you set your morning alarm and choose a meditation or yoga practice to get going. Choose from options like "Three Tokens of Gratitude" or "Anja Meditation." Certain options are free and included with the app, while others are $1. Each gives you the option to preview before you buy!
- Buddhify. With a more playful approach to meditation, the Buddhify app treats your meditation program like a game. For $5, you can choose what your problem is ("difficult emotions," "can't sleep," and "work break" are all options), and pick a program that works for you. Super customizable and user friendly, this app has received rave reviews in the App Store.
- Relax Melodies Oriental Meditation. If your primary goal for meditation is to fall asleep, then check out Relax Melodies. With different tranquil and white noises, built-in alarm clocks, and guided meditation sessions, you'll be well on your way to a sound, peaceful slumber.
- Calm. With a straightforward name and purpose, the Calm app is customizable for your needs and meditation journey. Are you up for "7 Days of Self Esteem" or "21 Days of Calm"? How about a 5-minute, 20-minute, or 30-minute session of deep sleep? Even that's customizable — choose a "body scan," "muscle relax," or "release" session with your desired time and get ready to feel all the zen. With relaxing sounds and scenes to hear and see, Calm really lives up to its name (and it's free).
Need a playlist to set the tone for your own mediation? Try this calming meditation music to relax and clear your mind.