The practice of meditation dates back thousands of years. Fast-forward to today: Millions of people still turn to meditation in an effort to alleviate stress, practice mindfulness, and prioritize their mental health.
In fact, one study from the University of Waterloo in Canada found that mindful meditation — even for as little as 10 minutes per day — can help you focus better, especially if you tend to have repetitive or anxious thoughts. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), practicing mindfulness also helps reduce stress.
To help you stay on top of your meditation game, we’ve rounded up a few of the best meditation apps, each of which offers guided programming tailored to your goals and emotional wellbeing.
Headspace App Review: Headspace features a wide array of programming, ranging from 60-second guided breathing exercises to curated playlists to workout videos. The app also offers plentiful resources and techniques to help you hone your meditation and mindfulness skills. The “SOS” section offers several three-minute meditations to help you (quickly) de-stress, while the course library features everything from “Managing Financial Stress” to “Healing After a Breakup.”
Headspace App Cost: The app is free to download; however, there’s not a ton of free content to choose from. Consider purchasing Headspace Plus for $70 per year or $13 per month. (Free trials are also available.)
Calm App Review: Calm offers guided meditations for newbies and pros alike. Simply select from your desired category (Sleep, Anxiety, Self-Care, Beginners, or Personal Growth, for example) and get ready to unwind. The app also features meditations led by A-listers like Harry Styles, Matthew McConaughey, Laura Dern, and Idris Elba. Additionally, users can listen to stories, stream music, practice deep breathing, and take online courses.
Calm App Cost: Calm is free to download. However, to reap the full benefits of the app, you’ll need to sign up for Calm Premium ($70 per year). You can also score a seven-day free trial.
Insight Timer App Review: With 95,000 completely free (!) meditations, Insight Timer offers an incredible value. While the options may seem limitless — and overwhelming, to say the least — users can sort through categories (i.e., Stress & Anxiety, Health & Happiness, Sleep, etc.) depending on their goals and preferences. The app offers both individually guided and group meditations, as well as live ones led by experts.
Insight Timer App Cost: The free app offers thousands of resources at no cost. The paid version is available for $10 per month or $60 per year. A 30-day free trial is also available.
Aura App Review: Immediately after downloading Aura, you’ll be asked to complete a series of questions pertaining to your goals, emotional wellbeing, sleep habits, and lifestyle. Using your responses as a guide, Aura is able to offer personalized meditation recommendations and programming, which range in length from three minutes to 60 minutes.
Aura App Cost The app is free to download. After a seven-day free trial, you’ll be charged $60 per year, affording you access to more than 1,000 meditations.
Inscape App Review: Unlike the aforementioned meditation apps, Inscape one is actually an extension of a swanky guided meditation studio in NYC. Inscape offers dozens of deep breathing and visualization exercises — ranging from five minutes to 45 minutes and over — that are sorted based on specific goals (think: sleep, mindfulness, relaxation, and so on).
Inscape App Cost: While the app is free to download — and there are several free exercises to choose from — most meditations and exercises require a paid membership ($59 per year or $10 per month) to access.