Sometimes, you just need a break. With these meditation apps, a relaxing moment of peace is just a click away. Here are the top five meditation apps that make meditation so simple and easy that you can get started in as little as five minutes.
Meditation Timer is one of the most flexible free meditation apps available. While simple to use, it can also be customized in more ways than other meditation apps, making it the best app for those who know the framework they want for their meditation. Customization options include customizable background images, audio, preparation time length, and meditation length. It also includes features for using interval chimes, which are a great way to help you re-focus during a meditation when you don’t want a fully guided session. Chime sounds can also be customized, as can the end and rest chimes.
*Secret feature: You can change the background image by quickly turning your phone upside down and right-side up again. It will not work if you turn the phone over too slowly.
Calm incorporates background music into its meditation and offers a variety of background images. The free “7 Days of Calm” guided meditation is a great free beginners meditation program. One unique feature is the guided breathing imagery, where the breathing circle contracts and expands to guide your breaths.
Item to note: One downside to Calm is that the moment you open the app, it immediately starts playing background sounds, even if you have your phone on silent mode. So, don’t open this app anywhere that hearing birds chirping in the trees wouldn’t be appropriate.
With a slogan like “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics,” you know that 10% Happier doesn’t take itself too seriously. On the other hand, with images of men in suits and ties, this is the best app to be caught using while at the office. This app was developed by ABC News anchor Dan Harris, in partnership with Change Collective, as part of his personal mission to make mindfulness and meditation approachable and understandable. The app provides an in-depth free 7-day introduction to meditation that includes video lessons and guided meditations, as well as pre-recorded guided meditations with Joseph Goldstein, a renowned meditation teacher. The only downside to this app is that guided meditations start at 10 minutes long.
If you have a little more time, this app will help you learn about the mindfulness principles that are the foundation of meditation practice. Paid options with this app are very professional and include coaching and training to use meditative practice to positively impact your life. Paid sessions include thoughtful topics such as “The Blame Game,” “Understanding Strong Emotions,” and “Raising an Issue Without Starting a Fight.”
Headspace has a game-like feel for those who learn best through challenges and achieving accomplishments. A variety of “singles” (individual meditations) with cool names like “SOS” and “On-The-Go,” as well as meditations grouped by themes like Health and Relationships, are available. Unfortunately, most require upgrading to a paid version of the app.
For faith-based individuals, the Centering Prayer app may be a compelling option that aligns with their spirituality. Centering Prayer a contemplative prayer style taught by the Contemplative Institute and is a great option that incorporates both periods of silence and time to contemplate scriptural verses or other inspiring quotes and passages.
All five of these meditation apps have great features. Some provide a simple interface, others provide in-depth learning and guided meditation. For beginners, taking advantage of free introductory programs such as those offered by 10% Happer may be a great starting point, while Meditation Timer offers a free, flexible way to meditate on a daily basis in time intervals of as little as 5 minutes.