Meditation and mindfulness. A soothing complement to the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, the zen and wellness lifestyle has been growing in Australia for years now. More and more yoga studios and wellness retreats seem to be popping all over the country.
But even though it seems as if this is just a trend, the art of mindfulness and meditation have been around for millennia. With the advent of technology and social media, it just so happens that these practices now have a platform to share their teachings and is something anyone can do any time, and anywhere.
Science has proven that meditation plays a role in both mental and physical health benefits. It has been shown to have positive effects on patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Other studies have shown that meditation potentially alleviates high blood pressure and aids in stopping nicotine dependence from smoking.
With more and more meditation apps popping up in the Apple Store for iPhone and Google Play Store for Android, it’s easier than ever to escape our busy lifestyles and take a break for a moment to be mindful. Meditation also helps with sleep, and with the weather getting warmer as we enter the New Year, this may be what you need to get a better night's rest.
But which are the best meditation apps for you? Which apps can give you what you’re looking for this 2019?
This app takes you on
The app allows you to customise the experience even further with more than 100 guided meditations, a Sleep Stories library, meditative music tracks, and a Calm masterclass headed by meditation coaches. It also offers relaxing soundscapes – from waterfalls and heavy rain to city streets and crackling campfires.
However, the app doesn’t offer any free features past the 7-day trial period. After that, you’ll need to pay an annual subscription fee for access to all of Calm’s amazing features. Is it worth it? If you’re willing to spend a little, Calm definitely offers a great ad-free meditation experience.
Headspace speaks to you like a friend. With its conversational tone, the app allows you to personalise the journey with the app and choose one focus from several options at the beginning.
Like Calm, Headspace offers to focus on stress and anxiety or sleep and waking, but also has a few different options that set it apart – goals of personal growth, work and productivity, movement and sport, physical health, or a more student-focused practice. The app allows you to track your meditation journey from the very beginning.
Headspace does offer the basic meditation features for free; however, you will need to upgrade to Headspace Plus to get the full access to the app’s library with either their annual or monthly subscription options.
After signing up, Simple Habit takes you straight to its wide selection of curated playlists for anxiety, stress, focus, happiness, motivation, sleep, physical health, relaxation, and many more. It also has a selection of lessons from different experts on meditative practices.
One unique Simple Habit feature is its “On the Go” tab. Choose where you are mentally and physically during the day – commuting, at work, taking a break, having a tough day, etc. – and the app gives you a daily dose of just what you need to be more mindful.
And what’s even better about all this? You get access to a lot of their library for free! However, if you upgrade to Premium, you get unlimited access to their library selection, join their community, access to the app from your phone to your computer, and support for Simple Habit’s teachers for all their work.
No need to sign up, this app takes you straight to a library of meditation exercises either for beginners or for those who choose to take the journey with less guidance. It has breathing exercises, body scans for muscle relaxation, meditation sessions for visualisation, and a selection of soundscapes.
Though it doesn’t have as wide a selection to choose from and isn’t completely customisable, the app’s advantage is that it is completely free! There may be the occasional ad banner, but if you aren’t bothered by them, Deep Meditation may be just the app you need to get you started on your
If you’re looking for a different meditative experience than these other apps, check out Plum Village.
The app is guided by the teachings of Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Plum Village provides recorded resources, practices, and chants that help you focus better
Plum Village’s unique feature is the Bell of Mindfulness. With our hectic schedules, we all need to take a breath every now and then. The Bell of Mindfulness helps us do just that. With a set timer, the bell dings and signals you to be aware and enjoy three breaths at regular intervals throughout the day, integrating the app into your daily journey and teaching you to be more mindful no matter where you are or what you’re doing
We recommend trying them out before bed to help you feel more relaxed at the end of the day. Pair that with a comfortable set of silk pillowcases and a great mattress, and you might just fall into a more restful sleep than ever before.
So breathe, download a mindfulness app, and start your daily meditation journey this new year.