My Favourite Guided Meditation Apps
It’s hard to escape the idea of meditation. It’s everywhere. If it’s something you find challenging, guided meditation is a good way to go…
Why should you have a meditation practice?
The oodles of physical and mental health benefits that come with a regular meditation practice are well documented. Here are some of them:
- Decreased pain
- Better immune function
- Less anxiety and depression
- A heightened sense of well-being
- Greater happiness, emotional self-control and resilience
And, importantly it actually changes your brain. I think that this might just be one of the grooviest things to occur when you establish a regular meditation practice. Imaging studies show increased activity in brain regions associated with attention, a higher volume of grey matter, and lessened amygdala response to emotional stimuli. How cool is that?
When it comes to making time to meditate, commit to it like any other appointment you make. Schedule time in your diary and set aside the time to meditate. Preferably daily.
My word of the year for 2021 is self-compassion. As it is for so many, this is an area of this health caper that I continue to navigate (read: work on!). Some days it’s a struggle to get out of my own way.
And that’s where my guided meditation apps come into their own in my own daily meditation practice.
Because they do the heavy lifting for me.
I’m a pragmatic kind of girl. I’m not the biggest fan of the woo-woo stuff. Gimme science over mysticism, please.
Choosing a meditation app definitely isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. Before you commit to a subscription, it’s important you do your research.
I think I should also mention that I’m not a big fan of sharing my personal meditation data with the world. It’s kind of personal. If you decide to download any app, make sure you read the terms of service and check out any language about how the app shares your data. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know before you begin whether your personal meditation shizzle is going to end up in another marketer’s hands.
The 3 apps below are my favourites when it comes to a guided meditation.
Here, in no particular order, are my top 3 favourite guided meditation apps
Ten Percent Happier
If you’re at all sceptical about meditation, this is a great app. Developed by journalist, Dan Harris and meditation teacher, Joseph Goldstein, Ten Percent Happier has a great introductory course as part of its offerings. One of the featured meditations I particularly love is the one on, “Getting Out of Your Head”. (No surprises why that is a favourite!) I also like the fact that there are courses that focus on specific emotional challenges and mindfulness techniques.
Full disclosure – I’m a Dan Harris fan. (He has a great voice and I regularly tune into his podcast). The app follows the success of his book by the same name. It’s worth a read. His meditation caper first began when he had an on-air panic attack in his role as a news anchor. He began searching for ways to calm his mind, and stumbled upon meditation. He is a fellow woo-woo sceptic, like me!
Subscription price: US$99 annual fee (after 7-day free trial period)
Here’s the link:
Insight Timer is one of the longest-running and original meditation apps. It began as a way of timing your practice, with different the option of starting bells – including my favourite traditional Tibetan singing bowl. You can also set the duration and a variety of ambient background sounds.
Over time it has evolved into a community, which allows you to connect with other meditators around the world (if you want to!). Now it also offers a huge, always-increasing library of guided meditations and talks from a wide variety of teachers, Some of the big names include Tara Brach, Wim Hof and Judson Brewer. You can search for topics of interest, types of practices and traditions. If you choose to upgrade there are also 10-30 day courses you can take, on subjects ranging from anxiety and grief to Buddhism and Ayurveda.
Subscription price: US$60 annual fee (after 30-day free trial period)
Here’s the link:
If you like inspirational quotes and nature images, Calm is for you. If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll understand why it’s in my top 3!
Great for beginners, the “Daily Calm” is a 10-minute guided meditation that focuses on a specific theme. All the meditations are broken down by easy-to-navigate categories: self-care, personal growth, anxiety, sleep, and more. There are masterclasses where you can upskill yourself on mindfulness-based topics.
If you want to work on improving your sleep, one of the apps best features is the “Sleep Stories” which help ease you into better quality sleep with a selection of narrated stories and instrumental musical tracks.
Subscription price: US$59.99 annual fee (after the 7-day free trial)
Here’s the link:
Remember to pop your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb while you are meditating. If not, you run the risk of pesky interuptions in the midst of seeking grace and ease.