Two brilliant free meditation apps that will bring calm into your day
I used to avoid any kind of meditation, thinking they were all fluffy, woo woo and overly spiritual. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered meditation that was straightforward, practical and that focused on mindfulness and simple breathing techniques. Man, I love technology.
The Five Free Meditation Apps I Road-Tested, and the Two Winning Apps that Won Me Over
Over the past month I tried out five different meditation apps. Some apps I’ve utilised more than others because I instantly found them super relaxing and helpful. Others, I didn’t find I connected with as much, for various reasons.
The apps I tested were Headspace, Calm, Mind Pilot, Smiling Mind and Stop, Breathe and Think. I’ve road-tested these apps to save you the time trawling through the HUGE number of meditation apps out there. I’ll also discuss the two top apps that I found worked best for me.
Each of these apps had good points, and obviously everybody is different, so I would recommend giving a couple of these a go and seeing which works best for you.
Meditation App 1: Headspace
The apps description: The app is self-described as a gym membership for the mind (genius!).
How I would describe it in three words: calming, quiet, straightforward.
What I love the most about this app: I am sure I’m not the only person to say this, but I love Andy’s voice! He’s got a beautiful, calming, gentle voice that does not startle you and compliments the meditations perfectly.
How I used it: I used the Take 10 for Free section of the app; 10 days of mindful meditations at 10 minutes each. I actually used this app either first thing in the morning or last thing at night while lying down in bed. The recordings say to be sitting upright so you can breathe ideally, but I still found it enjoyable and useful lying down too.
You will like this app if: you find English accents soothing, you like straightforward meditations without any fluff and you’d like an app that you can use in aeroplane mode (the app downloads onto your phone so you can use it without internet, woohoo!). Also recordings go for 10 minutes, which is a good amount of time if you want to incorporate into a morning or evening routine.
Meditation App 2: Calm
The apps description: The Calm app states that meditation can improve your mood, and your life, and that this app can help you to meditate, sleep and relax better.
How I would describe it in three words: upbeat, interesting, quality.
What I love the most about this app: When I first tried the app, it defaulted to making rain sounds in the background, which while beautiful put me off the app. I then realised I could turn the sound off and just have the ladies voice guide me through the meditation; perfect! I also love the positive, upbeat feel that the meditations have, likely due to the nice American lady reading the script!
How I used it: I used the Seven Days of Calm section, which provides a ten minute meditation each day. As I found the meditations a little sprightly, I preferred to use this app in the morning rather than at the end of the day. I occasionally listened to them on a walk as a walking meditation which I found useful.
You will like this app if: you want to do no-fluff mindfulness meditations, and are happy to meditate for 10 minutes at a time.
Meditation App 3: Mind Pilot
The apps description: I’m pretty sure I saw an add for Mind Pilot on TV, which is how I came across it. The Mind Pilot app is said to help boost your energy levels and focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and achieve your goals.
How I would describe it in three words: crisp, clear, quality.
What I love the most about this app: this app has clearly had a lot of work put into it and the quality is great. While not a necessity and not a feature I used much, I thought it was cool to be able to choose a male or female voice for the meditations.
How I used it: I had some issues downloading the meditations, but upon downloading it again it seems to be working alot better. I’ll need to take a closer look at this one! To take advantage of this app, you’d really need to download the paid version to unlock the rest of the features; most sections on this app require payment.
You will like this app if: You would like to be able to choose a particular amount of time to meditate, and if you specifically want a male or female voice to soothe you into your meditation.
Meditation App 4: Smiling Mind
The apps description: Smiling Mind is aimed at young people, which makes perfect sense when you see the colourful, well set-out, structured steps. Smiling Mind describes itself as a simple tool that gives a sense of calm, clarity and contentment.
How I would describe it in three words: Simple, knowledge-building, straight-forward.
What I love the most about this app: The app is set out in a way where you start with learning the basics and work up from there. The recordings seem quite short and well thought out for young people. In saying that, anyone of any age could benefit.
How I used it: I found that I couldn’t skip ahead to the sections that I was really interested in getting to; perhaps I need more patience! I used the body scan and the daily mindfulness meditation the most.
You will like this app if: You like shorter meditations and want to work your way up and learn about mindfulness in a step-by-step process.
Meditation App 5: Stop, Breathe and Think
The apps description: This app is described as a friendly, simple tool to guide people of all ages and backgrounds through meditations for mindfulness and compassion.
How I would describe it in three words: fresh, dynamic, abundant.
What I love the most about this app: You can enter how you are feeling at that particular time, and it will give you some suggested meditation ideas e.g. body scan, compassion meditation, or do a self-guided timed meditation. There’s lots of different options for the person who likes variety.
How I used it: I’ve just recently downloaded this app and did a meditation just before I went to sleep. Well, you could say it was relaxing, because I fell asleep during the meditation!
You will like this app if: you like to learn by reading as well as listening to guided meditations. If you get bored doing the same things, this app has lots of options for you.
#1 – Headspace
Headspace was the first app I used and I found it met what I was looking for; a practical, no-nonsense approach to mindfulness breathing exercises. Andy’s voice is the most soothing for me out of all the apps and there are also cute little videos that you watch along the journey of the free 10 day program to help you gain new perspectives on thoughts that try to distract you during meditation.
#2 – Calm
At first, I was unsure of the Calm app as I wasn’t a fan of the background noises, e.g. rain, a crackling fireplace, the ocean. But as soon as I was able to turn them off, I loved it! Personally, I prefer just the voice guiding me through the meditation. I really enjoyed each of the 7 day meditations and enjoyed doing some of them while walking.
Depending on what you are looking for, you are sure to find a meditation app that works for you. With such a variety of different voices, lengths of time and themes, there’s certainly alot out there in terms of free meditation apps. Enjoy, and find out which one works best for you.
Have a great week!
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