Using an app can be a great way to get started with mindfulness and instill a daily practice. There a wide array of apps available; our top recommendations are:
- Calm: Calm is celebrated for its relaxed approach to empowering users to generally ease into meditative practices. While there are certain programs within the service designed to address certain issues — anxiety, lack of sleep, stress — most users can complete a daily guided activity that helps them set time aside to meditate. Plus, with auditory bedtime stories as well as a suite of relaxing audio, this app can help you establish mental guided imagery, allowing you to use more than one of your senses to mentally remove yourself from your current surroundings.
- Headspace: It’s one of the most popular options for people trying to improve their focus, but other users say Headspace can also provide temporary relief from daily stressors as they arise. You’ll find plenty of quirky illustrations to help guide you along your meditation period, which could be guided, a mini session, or designed for kids. Subscribers will also be able to partake in audio sessions designed to get you to sleep soundly through the night. While there’s a small free trial, Headspace does eventually require you to fork over a membership fee, so it may be best for a family or someone really invested in daily practice.
- Insight Timer: This app is one of the only ones that is entirely free to users, and it still manages to maintain a near perfect 5-star rating with more than 200,000 reviews on Apple’s App Store. There are over 30,000 pre-recorded guided meditation sessions loaded onto Insight Timer, as well as the ability to refine sessions based on how long you have to practice. Furthermore, it comes with an in-app progress keeper that enables you to chart your progress and earn badges for the time you’ve spent meditating.
- Waking up: Sam Harris—neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author—helps you discover daily mindfulness meditation and explore the theory behind the practice. Learn the related science, philosophy, and ethics in short audio lessons with Sam and through his extended conversations with other influential teachers and scholars.