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Home » If You Just *Can’t* When It Comes To Meditation, Give One Of These Expert-Backed Apps A Shot

If You Just *Can’t* When It Comes To Meditation, Give One Of These Expert-Backed Apps A Shot

by News Desk

Vicens Prats / EyeEmGetty Images

If you often find yourself unable to sit still long enough to meditate, you’re not alone. It can even be difficult to squeeze in a mindfulness break into your hectic day. With all these hurdles, you may want to give up on trying altogether. But this practice can work wonders for your physical and mental health, so it’s definitely worth sticking with it. Thankfully, now there are tons of meditation apps with guided sessions, chants and music, and motivational tools to keep you going.

“Meditation apps are a great supplement to a mindfulness practice as they help you continue anytime, anywhere, putting the power of mindfulness in the palm of your hand,” says Pax Tandon, a mindfulness thought leader and the author of Mindfulness Matters.

Still, what’s the big deal with meditation? It can help reduce stress, chronic pain (such as headaches), and blood pressure, as well as help you quit smoking and better navigate a variety of mental health conditions, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Curious what apps experts recommend for discovering your meditation groove? Here you’ll find their top picks, as well as why each one might work best for you.

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If you’re new to meditation: Headspace

Headspace is one of the most well-known meditation apps out there, for good reason. Whether you’re looking to unwind, need help falling asleep, or want a productivity boost at work, it has the right guided practice for you.

“There are hundreds of guided meditations, mini-meditations, sleep sounds, SOS meditations for emergencies, meditations for kids and animations to help you better understand meditation,” says Lindsey Elmore, PharmD, a pharmacist turned wellness expert (her nickname is “The Farmicist”).

Cost: $12.99 per month or $69.99 per year after a free seven-day trial

Visit and use the code PRHearst1M for a one-month free trial code, or the code HEARST for three months free of a year subscription.

Download for iOS

Download for Android


If you want lots of options: Calm

Elmore likes the Calm app when she’s feeling choosy about her meditation practice. After all, the app provides guided sessions ranging in time from three to 25 minutes. And with topics from calming anxiety to gratitude to mindfulness at work—as well as sleep sounds, nature sounds, and breathing exercises—you can really choose your focus. “There are new meditations every day, progress trackers, and seven-day and 21-day programs for beginners,” Elmore says.

Cost: $14.99 per month, $69.99 per year, or a lifetime subscription of $399.99

Download for iOS

Download for Android


If you want the best pros teaching you: Insight Timer

Experts across the board agree that Insight Timer is a primo meditation app. “This app has many of the most experienced mindfulness teachers on it, and allows you the freedom to pick and choose depending on how long you have to practice, what style you’d like (e.g., body scan, loving kindness, anxiety/stress reducing, etc.), or just set a timer and sit without guidance,” says Tandon.

The app is also Elmore’s go-to because, in addition to the variety of guided meditations, the app has a tracker that allows you to chart your progress and earn badges, which will keep you coming back for more.

Cost: $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year

Download for iOS

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If you want a personalized experience: Aura

Fans of Aura love its daily meditations, life coaching, nature sounds, stories, and music, which are all personalized with an algorithm based on the needs and interests you share with the app. It continues to learn about your preferences as you make your in-app experience your own.

There’s also an option to track your moods and review patterns in how you feel, and set reminders to breathe and take breaks for mindfulness throughout the day.

Cost: $11.99 per month, $59.99 per year, or a lifetime subscription of $399

Download on iOS

Download on Android


If you’re interested in the history of meditation: Sattva

With a goal to provide an authentic experience, Sattva draws its mediations from ancient Vedic principles (FYI, the Vedic religion was one of the major traditions that shaped Hinduism). In addition to the six-minute-plus guided meditations, the app also features “sacred sounds, chants, mantras and music by Sanskrit scholars.”

This is perfect for anyone looking to get more in touch with the history and origin of meditation and those who want to start their own practice.

Cost: $12.99 per month, $49.99 per year, or a lifetime subscription of $399.99

Download for iOS

Download for Android


If you want to combine fitness and meditation: Glo

Tiffany Cruikshank, a registered yoga teacher and the founder of Yoga Medicine®, says she loves the Glo app because it has “a large variety of guided meditations to choose from well-respected teachers.”

Plus, you can customize your workout by choosing the length, teacher, and level you want, as well as a variety of topics and focal points that can help you zero in on specific meditation goals, says Cruikshank, adding that the app is a great option for new or experienced meditators. Added bonus? You’ll also have access to teacher-led yoga and pilates classes within the app.

Cost: $23.99 per month after a seven-day free trial

Download for iOS

Download for Android


If you’re a meditation pro: Ensō

Ensō isn’t necessarily for beginners. “For those well-versed in meditation, I love the Ensō app, which has a simple timer that you can set with bells at different intervals to keep you alert and set a soothing endpoint to your practice,” says Cruikshank.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Download for iOS


If you want to meditate on the go: buddhify

buddhify offers over 200 meditations to help with issues like anxiety, stress, sleep, pain, and tough emotions, and you can pick from multiple teachers so the voice and style resonate with you. The biggest perk of buddhify is that it has mindfulness exercises that you can do anywhere, and they are super specific (for traveling, at work, waking up, eating, and spending time online).

Cost: $4.99, plus in-app purchases

Download for iOS

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If you want a science-based app: Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind was developed by psychologists and educators to encourage mindfulness practice as a pillar of wellness, much like daily exercise, good sleep, and healthy eating. You can choose from simple 10-minute daily meditations, which are broken into categories by age and settings. The best part? All the resources are available for no charge.

Cost: Free

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Download for Android


If you want to improve your sleep: Simple Habit

If you want short meditations from top mindfulness experts at Google and former monks, Simple Habit is for you. Not only can you get classic guided meditations, but you can also find coaching, motivational guides, and bedtime stories in this meditation app.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Download for iOS

Download for Android


If you want to practice mindfulness too: Ten Percent Happier Meditation

Based on the book by the same name (penned by ABC news anchor Dan Harris), the Ten Percent Happier app is perfect “for the skeptic who is not sure that they want to meditate,” according to Elmore.

“This one has meditations aimed to help users with anxiety and sleep, and there is new content each week,” she says, adding that there is a free version, as well as a premium version with more than 500 vides and additional content.

Cost: Free, in-app purchases

Download for iOS

Download for Android

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