If you’ve tried (and tried again) to build a meditation habit, you probably already know that it’s not easy. You know what else isn’t easy? Keeping your stress under control. That’s where our list of best meditation apps comes in. These tools are essential to get you through stressful scenarios without doing your head in, which these days, is no small feat.
As we know by now, meditation can help lower your stress and slow your mind. We know that it’s tough to pick up a new habit in the midst of your busy life, but we promise you that it’s worth it.
Let these meditation apps do the heavy lifting for you and breathe a little calm into your days.
The 11 Best Meditation Apps to Lower Your Stress
Here are the best meditation apps to destress this year. And there’s something for everyone—beginners, skeptics, Android users, iPhone devotees, and those looking for cost-free options. Let’s take a look.
It’s no surprise that we picked Calm as one of our best meditation apps. Apple did too. Designated as their 2017 App of the Year, Calm comes with a 10-minute a day program to get you started, as well as 7 and 21-day meditation programs. The meditations range from 3 to 25 minutes long, so you can choose the one that fits your day, even if it’s a wild one. They’re organized into categories that help you deal with specific issues like anxiety, relationships, and focus.
Have trouble sleeping? Calm’s adult bedtime stories will help you drift away. Need to relax? Let nature sounds take away your stress, like rain in a forest or waves on the beach. Whether you’d like to destress with breathing exercises or focus with music, Calm has a meditation to fit your needs.
Price: Free with limited features; $12.99 per month; $59.99 per year; $299.99 lifetime
Headspace calls itself a “gym membership for your brain.” We call it one of the best meditation apps out there. And it lives up to the expectation.
The meditations are arranged into packs (bundles of meditations around a theme) or singles (solo meditations you can do anytime). There’s also a section for kids. Get started with the 10-day free meditation pack on the basics. From there, you can explore meditation packs about health, happiness, work & performance, and more. More into meditations for the moment? The single meditations include guided and unguided options, as well as “SOS” meditations for those meltdown moments. We’ve all had them.
Keep track of your progress with the journey and stats pages and reward system, and even take advantage of the buddy system with the built-in accountability feature. Bonus? The meditations are super easy to follow and include great imagery, so suddenly meditation is a lot easier and more enjoyable. High five, Headspace.
Price: Free with limited features; $12.99 per month; $94.99 per year; $399.99 lifetime
Need a pulse check on your well-being? Then buddhify is what you want. By asking the question, “What are you doing?” buddhify has you select from a color wheel of symptoms and daily activities so it can give you a meditation that fits your moment. Feeling stressed? On a work break? Traveling? There’s a meditation specifically designed for each situation.
Not convinced yet? buddhify also gives you an arsenal of over 80 custom guided meditations, which makes it easy to find your favorite ones instead of drowning in choices. Other features include tracking your meditation time and building your practice streak with buddhify’s check-in section.
4. Insight Timer
If you like control (guilty) and want to customize your meditations, Insight Timer is for you. With this app, you can customize the length, intervals, and start and end meditation bells. But for the days when you just want to click and breathe it all out, you have over 7,000 free guided meditations from 1,500 meditation teachers and 1,000 free music tracks to choose from. Whew.
Insight Timer also has a unique community element that most other apps don’t have. Join community groups for access to specifically-themed meditations and community experiences. We’re not the only ones who think Insight Timer is one of the best meditation apps out there. Time Magazine chose it as one of their top 50 apps of 2016.
5. Stop, Breathe, & Think
Want to monitor your well-being over time? Stop, Breathe & Think makes it easy for you to check-in with yourself and check on your mood.
After you update the app on where you’re at mentally, it gives you a tailored list of meditations you should try. As time goes by, you can review how your feelings fluctuate and better respond to stressful periods. It also helps you build a meditation habit with a streak tracker, a counter of total time spent practicing, and stickers to keep you motivated as you go.
Stop, Breathe & Think makes meditation easy with 55+ custom meditations, a meditation timer, and the coveted mood tracker. And we’ve got back-up here too. This app won the 2017 Webby People’s Voice Award for Best Health App.
Price: Free with limited features; $9.99 per month; $58.99 per year
6. 10% Happier
For the meditation skeptics among us, 10% Happier was made for you. Based on ABC correspondent Dan Harris’s book of the same name, it’s less about “omm” and more about science. So you can learn why meditation is good for you according to the facts and then try it yourself. The app offers guided audio meditations for coping with stress and anxiety, as well as for certain activities like walking and falling asleep.
10% Happier also features interviews between Dan and notable meditation experts—like Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg. If you’ve ever wanted to try meditation but weren’t so sure about the stereotypes that go along with it, this is the app you want.
Price: Free with limited features, $11.99 per month; $79.99 per year
Named the 2017 #1 New App by Apple, Aura is a mindfulness app for the stressed and the anxious, which at some point, is all of us. The app starts you off with a new three-minute meditation every day. And then it reminds you to actually do it. You can choose when—and even where—you receive the reminders. You also get your own gratitude journal to reflect on the good stuff in your life.
The meditations, which last from 3 to 10 minutes, are designed to help regardless of your mood or what you’re struggling with. Want a little more? Just like Insight Timer, Aura also includes a social community by allowing you to connect with teachers and other members.
Price: Free with limited features; $7.99 per month; $29.99 per 6 months; $399.99 lifetime
8. The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App gives you access to meditations that range from 3 to 30 minutes. Get started with the 5-day guided practice and introduction to mindfulness. With scheduled reminders, a journey tracker, and a customizable timer, this app will help you keep up with this life-changing habit. The premium version includes an additional 200+ audio meditations and courses.
Price: Free, $9.99 per month, $59.99 per year
9. Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind was developed alongside psychologists and professionals in healthcare so the approaches are science-backed and easy to learn. The app organizes its meditations into different age groups and audiences, including children, adults, athletes, employees, and students. It also allows you to check in with yourself and your feelings while tracking your progress on a statistics dashboard.
Smiling Mind turns meditation into a family practice by allowing sub-accounts for family members. There are also tools for educators to bring meditation into the classroom. Now there’s no excuse to be a little more mindful—on the job, at school, anytime.
Begin each day with the right mindset with Welzen’s curated 10-minute meditation. If you need a mental boost, try the app’s micro-meditations or SOS meditations for a quick calming session.
Meditations are packaged in programs with specific intentions, subject-specific series, and single meditations that range from 5 to 20 minutes. The app also includes meditations for kids and meditations in Spanish. New series are added regularly that focus on different topics, themes, and activities.
Price: Free with limited features; $12.99 per month; $59.99 per year; $149.99 lifetime
At less than a year old, Meditable is grabbing lots of attention and earning rave reviews. What makes it so worthy of the praise, you ask? It brings customization into your meditation.
Choose from a variety of areas you want to improve upon, such as confidence, study and work performance, health, productivity, stress-relief, and sleep. Then, pull together tracks of different meditations ranging in length from three to eight minutes. Next step: Add your intro and ending. And now you’ve created your own personalized meditation. There are tons of techniques to choose from, all rooted in psychological science, of course, to make the most of your time.
Start with Meditable’s 14-day free trial to see if it’s right for you. If you’re on-board, choose from monthly or yearly options for premium access. But don’t worry—the annual fee breaks down to only $6.49 a month, so this is an affordable way to make meditation work for you. Even better? Meditable is offering their monthly subscription, usually $9.99 per month, to new subscribers for $6.49 per month. So you get the benefits of a month-by-month subscription at the cost of an annual one. It won’t last forever though, so get to it.
Price: 14-day free trial; $6.49 per month (limited offer); $77.88 per year
Try one and see what meditation can do for you
Whether you want to reduce your anxiety, quiet your mind, keep yourself from losing your shit at your boss, or basically handle anything stress-related with a little more ease, a regular practice of meditation can add some much-needed calm to your world.
Plus, getting into the habit is much easier with these tools on your side. Another tool that can help you create a lifelong habit? Panda Planner. With built-in habit tracking, you can ensure that meditation is something you do every day to keep those stress levels low.
Now you’ve got no excuses to make meditation your secret weapon. Go kick that stress and take on your life with a little more peace of mind.
Your turn: What are the best meditation apps you’ve tried? Let us know what worked for you in the comments.
Author: Nadia Chaudhry
Nadia Chaudhry is an SEO copywriter and content marketer. She’s all about growth in business and life. No surprise, she loves to write about personal development, productivity, e-commerce, and marketing. But first, pilates. Follow her on Twitter @NadiaChaudhry.