The Best Meditation Apps for Beginners
Mindfulness meditation, once an esoteric spiritual practice, has been proven by contemporary science to have positive impacts on mental and physical well-being. Its benefits have been covered on this site before. Leaving theory aside, how exactly do you get started and sustain the practice to reap its benefits.
First, it’s important to recognize that meditation is a skill. Like any other skill, learning it well requires finding a good teacher. Luckily, gone are the days of needing to find one in your local community. We live in a world in which high-quality instruction is now available through our smartphones. With dozens of popular apps on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is best. This article will summarize my favorite meditation apps to help you discover the right option for you.
Founded by a Buddhist Monk with a desire to share his insights, Headspace has earned a reputation as one of the top meditation apps on the market. It has been optimizing its content for over 10 years and has developed a range of courses with specific purposes in mind. For example, it has short sessions to calm you down when you’re feeling an acute bout of anxiety. It has courses designed to address emotions like guilt, grief, or anger. If sitting meditation isn’t your thing, headspace offers guided walking, eating, and exercise programs to help you apply mindfulness into your everyday activities.
Calm is another popular app which has attracted many due to its endorsement by celebrities like Lebron James. In addition to meditations, it focusses on sleep-related content, with soothing bedtime stories read by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey meant to lull you into a slumber, together with natural soundscapes that can be played in the background. If you sleep well with the ambient sounds of nature, or fall asleep easily with the TV on, Calm might be the app for you.
Waking Up is run by the Neuroscientist and Writer Sam Harris. It is a great option for those who are further along their meditation journey. This app – more than Headspace and Calm – delves deeper into metaphysical concepts often uncovered through meditation, such as the illusion of self, and non-duality. If you’re inclined to explore the philosophical underpinnings of meditation, Waking Up is a great choice for you.
Insight Timer boasts a library of over 100,000 guided meditations constantly being updated by a variety of teachers. While it’s less cohesive than Headspace or Waking Up, it is the only app that is free beyond a short trial period. If you’re curious to try meditation but wary of financial commitment, Insight Timer is a great place to start.
When choosing between multiple options, it’s easy to become paralyzed by indecision – evaluating the pros and cons endlessly as a way to avoid getting started. But the truth is that as a beginner, nearly any option will yield dividends. Pick one that speaks to you, stay consistent, and get ready to reap the benefits.