Research shows the calming practice can improve your physical and mental health.

By Jennifer Aldrich
March 25, 2020
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Breathe in, breathe out. Right now, just about everyone could use a calm, quiet moment. However, that's a bit easier said than done as many of us are working from home and only leaving the house for essential trips, such as heading out to the grocery store or pharmacy. Although you're staying inside, and you might be doing so with other members of your family, there is a way to have a peaceful moment to yourself thanks to meditation apps for Apple and Android devices.

If you haven't meditated before, this is a simple way to start and find out if you like it. (Who knows, you might just develop a new daily habit.) There are a handful of different ways to meditate, and they can all be beneficial to your health, according to Mayo Clinic. The organization notes that the practice can improve both your emotional well-being and your physical health. Among other things, meditation can help you manage stress, enhance sleep, and reduce negative emotions. Whether you're a lifelong meditator and just can't make it to your local studio, or maybe you're trying it out for the first time, there's an app for you. They're affordable (a few are even free), easy-to-use, and all available at your fingertips on your smartphone or tablet.

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Aura

The app Aura is specifically for people who want to reduce stress and anxiety or for those looking to get a better night's rest. According to the website, millions of people use it and give it a 4.7 out of 5-star review. It features meditations, music, sounds of nature, and life coaching from a group of diverse therapists and coaches from around the world. The meditations vary from three minutes to one hour in length, so you can choose an option that fits your schedule. Perhaps the best part of the app is the majority of the features are absolutely free. The premium membership gives you more meditation options and the ability to download and save them to listen to when you're not using the app.

Cost: $11.99 per month, $59.99 per year, or $399 for a lifetime membership.

Calm

Talk about an aptly named app. Calm is the No.1 application for sleep, meditation, and relaxation, and has more than 50 million downloads, according to the site. It also has a 4.8 out of five-star rating from more than 750,000 users. It includes programs focused on meditation, sleep, music, body, and nature. The Calm website notes the most popular feature is the 10-minute meditation called "The Daily Calm" that "explores a fresh mindful theme and inspiring concept each day."

Cost: 7-day free trial, $69.99 per year, or $399 for a lifetime membership.

Headspace

More than 40 million users swear by Headspace. You first start with a free, two-week trial to test it out that includes 10-minute basic options. The meditations are anywhere from one minute to two hours long and you can choose from a variety of topics to focus on, such as sleep, self-esteem, or patience. (There's even a five-minute mindful cooking exercise that you can check out here.)

Cost: Two-week free trial, $12.99 per month, or $69.99 per year.

InsightTimer

InsightTimer is the largest collection of free guided meditations that includes more than 30,000 titles. (And more than 12 million people swear by it.) The app features top meditation teachers leading classes, including Gil Fronsdal, Ph.D., from Stanford University and Tara Brach, Ph.D., founder of Insight Meditation Community of Washington. There are also a few premium features, which include the ability to download meditations and listen whenever you'd like that require a membership.

Cost: Free option, or premium for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

Stop, Breathe & Think

If you have kids home from college right now, Stop, Breathe & Think is ideal because it's geared for those 25 and under, and is useful for teens and young adults. There's also a version for kids ages five through 10. It includes games, activities, exercises, journaling, meditations, as well as its "signature check-in" feature that ask how you're feeling in the present moment. There's also a free version that offers just foundational meditations. The app, which has more than 3 million downloads, is compatible with Alexa.

Cost: Free option, or $9.99 per month or $58.99 per year. For a bundle that includes the original and the kids' version, $11.99 per month or $70.99 per year.

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