Stress is something we all deal with in varying forms. The past 12 months have tested everyone’s ability to cope with unprecedented stressors, and well, it’s tiring having to adapt to a constantly changing landscape. Meditation is scientifically proven to lower stress levels and help soothe the hamster wheel of thoughts racing through our minds.
Best of all, thanks to modern technology, meditation has never been so accessible. You need no equipment, and there are hundreds of free meditation apps and mindfulness apps to assist you in finding your zen.
1. MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness
Selected as the Apple App Store’s “App of the Day” in 2020, MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness is a free meditation app that is personalized to how you feel and only asks for a few minutes of your day.
According to the app, users were 82% more likely to be less anxious with consistent use of MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness. Sign us up! This free meditation app also offers breathing exercises to catalyze calm and groundedness, tracking mental health with a daily feelings log, and guided meditations recommended just for you.
For those who are ready to kick things up a notch, the meditation app has a premium membership for $9.99/month or $58.99/year that unlocks 400+ activities, guided journaling prompts, yoga and soundscapes.
2. Simple Habit Sleep, Meditation
With 71,000 ratings totalling 4.8/5 stars on the Apple App Store, Simple Habit Sleep, Meditation is one of the top free mindfulness apps available today.
Simple Habit’s goal is in its name — make daily meditation a simple, easy habit. This free app offers five-minute meditations, progress trackers and downloadable meditations for situations like air travel or remote adventures.
It has programs guided by top mindfulness experts from Google, former monks and leading mental health experts. Whether you need a quick decompression before heading into work or a longer, pre-sleep session, Simple Habit makes meditation easy.
To access even more mindfulness content, Simple Habit has a premium subscription for $11.99/month.
3. Ten Percent Happier
The Ten Percent Happier app was Apple’s best of 2018 award winner and was the top app in the Wirecutter’s list of “Best Meditation Apps” .
This easy-to-use app is led by Emmy-award winning journalist Dan Harris, who works with some of the best meditation teachers in the world to bring you sessions focused on meditation practices like self-compassion, emotional balance and navigating crises.
Ten Percent Happier opens by asking users a series of questions about their life and lifestyle, then curating a plan specific to each person. You can select goals such as fostering daily calm, lowering anxiety levels and more. You are also invited to choose the way you learn best, whether that’s through audio, reading, videos or hands-on experiences.
Here’s the catch: the Ten Percent Happier program isn’t free , though you can start with a 14-day free trial before paying $99.99 for a one-year subscription.
Headspace is one of the best-known mental health apps. Its nearly five-star rating and 65 million downloadsshow Headspace is on it for meditation practice.
One of Headspace’s more unique offerings is its Weathering the Storm collection, a series of guided meditations, prompts, body scans and stories geared toward helping folks navigate the challenges presented by the past year.
Headspace is changing the meditation app space by offering mindful workouts, too. Led by Olympians Kim Glass and Leon Taylor, Headspace workouts combine mental grounding with body-pumping training sessions to promote holistic wellness.
This affordable (but not free) meditation app has a free 14-day trial before charging $12.99/month or $69.99/year (which brings the monthly total down to $5.99/month).
5. Insight Timer
Another heavy hitter in the free meditation app space is Insight Timer, which was named App of the Year by TIME Magazine and Women’s Health.
Insight Timer is a must-have for those who want a wide variety of meditation practices, as the app offers thousands of guided meditations and is constantly adding more. It also has no-cost music and ambient soundtracks to promote better sleep and focus.
This free meditation app promotes community by offering numerous discussion groups and ways to connect with other Insight Timer users.
Whether you’re looking to sleep better, move through an addiction, improve leadership at work, or work on your meditation practice, Insight Timer has a guided meditation for you.
Calm is one of the original mindfulness programs for smart devices. It boasts 40 million downloads worldwide and 1.1 million reviews on the Apple App Store.
With its free version, users get access to loads of guided meditations, sleep stories, ambient sounds and breath timers that all seek to promote a more tranquil, fulfilling life.
Calm offers a wide variety of meditations, from flight anxiety to SOS panic sessions designed to ground users in the present. Some of its meditations and bedtime stories are led by famous voices like Bindi Irwin, Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry, to name a few.
This app lets you track the number of days you’ve meditated, helping to make using Calm a rewarding habit.
If the free version of Calm isn’t enough, users can upgrade to a premium subscription for $69.99/year and get access to even more mindful content.
7. Breethe: Meditation & Sleep
With more than 10 million downloads, Breethe: Meditation & Sleep is one of the best meditation apps in the mindfulness market.
Breethe has over 1,000 tracks of nature sounds, guided meditations, bedtime stories, five-minute and three-minute meditations and more.
Wellness experts like mindfulness coach Lynne Goldberg walk you through practices to help you achieve a smiling mind and a calm body. Breethe seeks to help all users find peace with their emotions, physical sensations and current events through deliberate mental health practices.
The app is free to download. But to access its features, you can join the Breethe membership community for $12.99/month or $89.99/year.
Kristin Jenny is a contributor to Codetic.