9 Apps for Mindfulness
As we find ourselves busier and busier, it’s easy to get caught up in the enjoyment, pleasure, and satisfaction that comes from being continually occupied. Our smartphones are with us every second of the day, and there’s always something new to check out on Instagram or Facebook, which only serves to heighten our experience of daily life passing us by faster than we can experience it.
One of the ways that people have started to push back against the constant encroachment of technology and social media into our lives is through the practice of mindfulness. This practice encourages people to take time out every day for themselves and helps them develop the tools necessary to stay in the moment, rather than searching for a distraction or escape. While some people think smartphones only hamper this practice, the truth is a new generation of teachers and coaches are using apps to promote mindfulness on a daily basis.
Here are some of the most interesting mindfulness apps that will help encourage your practice on a daily basis.
Headspace is one of the most popular mindfulness apps on the market because it approaches the practice in a straightforward, encouraging way. It’s available on iOS and Android and comes with a free 10-day basic course to get you started. After that, a full year subscription is only $58, which may seem like a lot, but with that you get access to their entire library of themed meditation sessions, which all build on the basic course. They have several 30-day meditation courses designed to help anxiety, stress, or depression, as well as a large number of singles designed for situations like eating, going to bed, or taking a test. All the meditations are narrated by Andy Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace, a former sports scientist turned Buddhist monk with a genial, soothing voice.
One of the most unassuming mindfulness apps on the market today is Minutiae, an app that encourages you to celebrate the beauty of life’s most unassuming moments. Once you install the free app, you’ll get a notification every day at a random time which will prompt you to take a photo within one minute. The idea is that you take a photo of your regular life every day for 1440 days — no filters, editing, or posing — which gets stitched together into a tapestry that celebrates your everyday moments. There’s no commenting, no liking, and they even refer to themselves as the “anti-social media app.” The app makers hope that encouraging people to celebrate these everyday moments will lead to more mindful behavior.
3. The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App is another meditation-focused app that’s available for both iOS and Android. Like Headspace, it aims to encourage a daily practice of mindfulness mediation through their excellent themed sessions, which are available to new users free for the first month. After that, you can pay $59.99 for premium library access, or $0.99 for each separate session. The sessions are all narrated by different teachers, so you can pick which ones suit your practice. The app also allows you to track your progress and save your favorite sessions. It also allows you to build your own personalized meditation sessions by customizing the sounds, intervals, and narrator.
Another great app that comes with a wealth of prerecorded meditation sessions is Calm, which is available for both iOS and Android. If you want to try it out, their seven-day free trial introduces you to their practice, and after that, if you enjoy it, you can sign up for a $12.99 monthly membership, or pay $58.99 for a full year of access to all their premium content.
If you want more multi-day courses rather than single sessions, Calm is a great app for you. Unlike some of the other mindfulness meditation apps, Calm also has a lot of resources to help people sleep, including calming music and simple stories recorded by people like Stephen Fry and Bob Ross.
Some people need physical activity in addition to their daily mindfulness practice. So, if you regularly switch between yoga, sweat sessions at the gym, and Zumba classes with friends, MINDBODY is the perfect app for you. It serves as a one stop shop to help you find, book, and pay for fitness classes, as well as other wellness services like massage, skincare, and hair salons. You can also connect your Fitbit activity tracker to your MINDBODY app, so you can see your progress during workouts and classes. MINDBODY also gives you access to offers that may not be available elsewhere, like free intro classes, discounts, and class passes.
6. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind is the work of an Australian non-profit organization whose mission is to bring the benefits of meditation to children and adults all around the world. They’ve partnered with some of the best meditation teachers and psychologists in the world, and their app is completely free to all.
Instead of focusing on different situations where meditation might be beneficial, they’ve broken their curriculum down into age groups, and offer a unique set of sessions for children aged seven to 18, as well as adults. Over 1.5 million Australian students use this app in the classroom on a regular basis.
7. In The Moment
If you regularly struggle with emotional eating or have food habits that change when you experience stress or anxiety, the In The Moment app could help you. It’s available for iOS and only costs $1.99.
Once you download the app, it will guide you through a series of questions related to your food choices. It starts by asking whether you feel like eating or are currently in a state of emotional distress. From there, it asks a series of questions to determine where you’re at emotionally, and if you’re making impulsive food choices, it will help guide you towards a more sensible option by encouraging you to explore your motivations for why you want to eat in the first place. Then, it gives you suggestions and tips on how to use mindfulness to improve your eating habits.
8. Stop, Breathe & Think
A super-practical app that will help you fit your mindfulness practice into your busy schedule is Stop, Breathe & Think, an app that’s available for iOS, Android, and the web. Instead of letting you choose any meditation session from their library, each time you open the app, it will ask you a series of questions about your mood, then suggest a meditation session depending on the amount of time that you have available. This method makes it easy to choose the perfect session, even if you only have a few free minutes. It also helps people get more comfortable with the habit of self-reflection.
Aura is an app that has collected a number of stress and anxiety-reducing tools in one easy-to-use platform. It’s available both iOS and Android, and contains a library of mindfulness meditations, nature sounds, stories, music, and life coaching sessions that are all designed to help you get through each day with joy and gratitude rather than stress or anxiety. The app costs $100 for lifetime access.