Meditation is undoubtedly good for your mental health—in fact, it’s been known to help combat chronic pain, reduce stress, and ultimately stabilize your blood pressure. But for a practice that’s intended to help mellow your mood, it can actually inspire a lot of stress for beginners. For those unsure of exactly where or how to begin, meditation apps are usually a great place to start. These programs are often hosted directly on your smartphone, and they help to not only make the practice more accessible, but also to allow you the freedom to work at your own pace. Here are our picks for some of the best meditation apps available for download on your smartphone right now.
With hundreds of guided meditations—and even some mini-meditations for those looking to squeeze in a quick guided session—Headspace is regarded as one of the most advanced meditation apps in the world. The program attempts to tap into every area of mindfulness by pairing stress-relieving meditations with sleep sounds and animations to help you better understand the art of the practice. $7.99 to $12.99 per month
This app provides guided sessions that can range anywhere from 3 to 25 minutes—so regardless of how much time you can dedicate to meditating each day, Calm provides plenty of session options. Each meditation is rooted in a specific theme, including everything from mindfulness and practices for calming anxiety, to gratitude and spiritual alignment. Beyond guided meditation, the program also features soothing sounds and breathing exercises. Free, with some in-app purchases
Wellness gurus have a particular affinity for Aura because the app places just as much of an emphasis on meditation as it does the greater science of mindfulness and mental health. The program offers personalized life coaching, daily meditations, nature sounds, and music—all of which are catered to fit the user’s exact frame of mind. Meditation is meant to promote progress—and Aura tracks a user’s moods and patterns as a means to craft a completely individual experience. Free, with some in-app purchases