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11 Meditation Apps To Help You Get Calm & Centered During Quarantine & Beyond
With the normal flow of life upended for most of us at the moment, you may be finding yourself with more time on your hands and perhaps a bit more stress or anxiety, given all the new uncertainty in our lives and the world around us. One of the silver-linings of quarantine is a lot of our routines and habits are getting a big-old reset. If you are looking for tools to help you stay calm during these crazy times, and new habits to bring into your life, meditation may be a good place to start.
There are a lot of styles and approaches to meditation, but the basics involve building awareness around your breath and checking in with your mind and body. It can involve music, can be guided by a meditation teacher and can even involve visuals. There are plenty of mobile apps out there to help you find a style that works best for you, as well as a guide you towards a less-stressful daily flow. Read on to learn what 13 popular meditation apps can offer you, and at what price (many offer free trials to give you an idea if you want to commit).
1. Calm (iOS & Android apps)
One-week free trial as well as limited-access free version; Premium costs $70/year
Calm is currently the top-rated app in the Health & Fitness category in the Apple App Store and is loved by its many users for its themed daily meditations, sleep stories and calming music library. Much of the meditations, which are typically about 10 minutes, are guided by meditation teacher/musician/writer Tamara Levitt, who brings inspiring quotes and real-world lessons into each session. In addition to the rotating daily meditation, the app offers many more on-demand meditations around practical themes like confidence, soothing pain, reducing anxiety and even training your mind with with Lebron James. For help relaxing and falling asleep, calming music collections from Moby, Sigur Rós, Sam Smith add flair to a packed library of nature sounds and celebrity-narrated bedtime stories. The sleep stories are great for all ages; Calm also offers meditations tailored for kids and teens, if you have young ones at home.
2. Headspace (iOS & Android apps)
One-week free trial as well as limited-access free version; Plus costs $70/year or $13/month
With cute animations and tailored meditations to your goals, Headspace is another hugely popular meditation app. Similar to Calm, they also offer meditations centered around themes like reducing anxiety and stress, as well as sleep-focused stories, meditations and music. The biggest difference between the two apps seem to be the approach, with Headspace being more goal-oriented and less rooted in Eastern philosophies like Buddhism. They also offer a special section for kids.
3. INSCAPE (iOS app)
One-week free trial; $10/month or $59/year
As explained by Oprah Magazine, the Inscape Studio in New York City is filled with "sound and smellscapes designed to instantly transport its members to tranquility," with the app bringing their ethos to your home. In addition to offering guided meditations and sleep offerings personalized to your needs, Oprah Mag highlights their unique playlists, with short, melodic meditations to address "Tinder Troubles," "Overcoming Your Fears" or to get into a productive "Study Chill" mode.
4. Insight Timer (iOS & Android apps & online platform)
Many free meditations, plus one-week free trial for MemberPlus, which costs $60/year
Insight Timer has an extensive free offering (40,000 free meditations!) and gives its users access to guided meditations and deep-dive mindfulness courses from mindfulness teachers around the world, like Elizabeth Gilbert and davidji. The platform also offers an extensive calming music collection, including mantras and recordings from musicians around the world as well. You can follow the people whose offerings you love and find content aimed at beginners, kids, for sleep and more, meaning it's easy to find exactly what you need.
5. Meditation Studio (iOS & Android apps)
Some free meditations; Premium (iOS only) is $50/year or $8/month. Limited Android app is $4 (one-time cost)
Meditation Studio is all about ensuring your meditations are exactly what you need, with themed collections and customizable open-ended ones. For the latter, you choose your duration, background music and the sounds that will open and close the unguided sit. The extensive collections are grouped by practical themes like eating ("Mindful Eating Practice" and "Love Your Body"), calm ("Releasing Anxiety" and "Slow Down") and creativity ("Fire Your Inner Critic" and "Make Space").
6. Mesmerize – Visual Meditation (iOS app)
Free three-day trial; $60/year
Mesmerize offers something totally different from the rest of the apps—trippy, kaleidoscope-esqe visuals to sooth you and meditate with. As their website explains, their approach is based in the Focused-Attention meditation technique. Like many of the other apps we've mentioned, they offer guided meditations for stress, sleep and more, but instead of closing your eyes, you keep them open and softly focused on the paired visuals. Citing scientific research, they claim this method helps with cognitive performance and other brain functions. The app also offers "psycho-acoustic music" tailored to relaxation.
7. Oprah & Deepak's 21-Day Meditation Experience (iOS & Android apps & online platform)
Current series is free; past courses are available for purchase
A powerhouse inspiration and mindfulness team, Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra have been offering 21-day mediation courses for years now. With their mobile apps and online platform, they offer free access to several series a year for those who follow along. If you miss it or want to dive into one of their past offerings, they offer each for purchase á la carte, for yourself or as a gift. Their current offering, which you can join for free now, is incredibly timely, called Finding Hope in Uncertain Times. Each day comes with an audio mediation clip, opened by Oprah and led by Chopra, paired with journal prompts to help you dive into the daily theme and mantra.
8. Shine (iOS & Android apps)
One-week free trial plus limited free content; Premium costs $54/year
Shine is female-founded app is aimed at helping users manage and reduce stress and anxiety. The "Daily Shine" serves up short, tailored meditations and paired in-app journal prompts to check in with yourself and add some calm each day. In addition to more on-demand meditations, the premium version allows you to look back at your journals and check-ins to track your moods and connects users with a community to support each other through the journey. Shine is also offering a free coronavirus anxiety toolkit online.
9. Simple Habit (iOS & Android apps)
One-week free trial, plus some free content, $12 monthly, $90 annually
Simple Habit, was created by Silicon Valley's Yunha Kim for people who are "too busy" to meditate. With meditations ranging from one to 20 minutes, this app focusing on quick breathers to help you find a moment of stillness and breathing in your packed schedule. The meditations, the majority of which are just five minutes, are broken up into practical topics like reducing work anxiety, one minute breaks, falling asleep and even moving on after a breakup.
10. Smiling Mind (iOS app & online platform)
Not only is Smiling Mind completely free (they're an Aussie non-profit org), it is designed by psychologists and educators with "evidence-based" meditations tailored for kids and schools as well as adults and workplaces. They have recently launched the "Thrive Inside" program to help combat the stresses many of us are facing specific to the coronavirus quarantine.
11. Ten Percent Happier (iOS & Android apps)
One-week free trial, plus limited free content, Membership is $100/year
The Ten Percent Happier app was created by Dan Harris, who wrote a New York Times Best-selling book with the same name six years ago. The app, like the book, hopes to show people that meditation can be for everyone, even those who "get fidgety just thinking about it," as their website explains. The app connects you with world-renown meditation leaders like Anushka Fernandopulle and Sharon Salzberg, to teach you how to meditate. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, they are also offering the Free Coronavirus Sanity Guide, as well as free app access for health care professionals—to share with anyone who could benefit.