If you’re on this site it’s because you’re interested in keeping healthy and training your body. Well how about training your mind? Taking just 3 min, or 5 min or 10 mins out of each day to stop, breath and be present in the moment is a quick and easy way to enhance your well-being and make your life richer and more interesting!
As part of my own journey towards health of mind and body, I took a bit of time out to review a number of the most popular mindfulness apps. Here are my top 5. The one I stuck with…Headspace.
With tens of thousands of downloads this seems to be a popular app with all the basics covered. It offers guided and silent meditations of 3, 5 3, 5, 15, and 30 minutes in length along with a brief body-scan practice and a way to track your progress. What I liked most about this app, apart from the nice blue design, is its ability to set notifications to remind yourself to stop for a second and ‘be mindful’. You can customize your meditation and track your progress. The voice is a little awkward to listen to at first, but I guess you get used to it. It’s a great tool for everyone who wants to become more present in their life, from beginners to more experienced practitioners.
A slick app with heaps of recently added new features. It offers medications from 1-30 min. These come in ‘packs’ that target a particular headspace such as ‘Focus’, ‘Restlessness’, ‘Happiness’ or ‘Productivity’ for example. You work through these over a week or two or you can opt to try some of the ‘Singles’ for a quick SOS stop. I’ve used a few of those for ‘Waking up’ and for ‘Losing Temper’…I have a 4 year old, remember!
Headspace is a great place to start with its free 10-session program so you can try before you buy. There are some nice animations, explanations and humour to teach you what it’s all about. If you’re not into the spiritual side of meditation and instead just want to relax, this app is a great way to just focuses on the mind control part of the process. The man’s voice (Andy Puddicombe, a meditation and mindfulness expert) is also easy to listen to.
I love this app and use it daily. The downside though - if you want to subscribe after the 10-day trial it’s a monthly subscription or one-off payment so it works out a fair bit more expensive than some of the others (but only about $11 NZD a month). Interestingly, when I first finished the trial I was keen to subscribe but decided in the end to I’d try some of the other (cheaper versions) first. I came back to this and am still using over a year later.
A simple but effective app with a calming voice that offers guided medications of 5, 10, 15 and 20 min. You then choose your background track - music, rain, ocean to name a few, or you can have none at all. It’s a bit clunky in its design, simple in its appearance but the meditations are effective nonetheless.
This app offers guided meditations for whatever you may be doing, whether you're at your desk working, exercising, feeling stressed at work, trying to get to sleep, taking a quick break, or just waiting in line at the bank or grocery store. It was these options that drew me to this one in the first place. I loved the design of the app – the colours and the choices for every situation made me want to click and get going!
This simple app offers the 7-steps to calm. There are 7 guided meditations of 2, 10 and 20 mins available with some pleasant nature sounds in the background - think birds, ocean waves, pouring rain and so on to aid your peacefulness. You can select between background scenes.
This app is also behind the Do Nothing for 2 Minutes site – a great tool I’d also highly recommend if you struggle to ‘stop’ for a moment!
Which tool do you use?