Whether you’ve made it your New Year’s resolution to take up mindfulness, or the stresses of the festive season have left you in dire need of some meditation, we’ve got just the thing to help you on your way.
Ranging from relaxing music and self-care courses, to daily exercises to improve concentration and sleep quality, we’ve rounded up the very best apps that provide all the tools you’ll need to become the master of your own mind.
Andy Puddicome’s Headspace app is a classic but it’s for good reason. In fact, if you aren’t familiar with Andy’s cheery yet comforting voice, it’s about time to get acquainted. The app is world-renowned for making meditation and mindfulness simple, and it does so with daily guided sessions based around your goals. So, whether you’re trying to be more productive, or you need help with anxiety, there’s help at hand. You can also get reminders when it’s time to meditate, and track your progress, too. Basic courses are free, or you can access the full range of courses for £9.99 per month.
If you’re skeptical about the benefits of meditation, you should probably download 10% Happier. The app, based on the best-selling book, provides thought-provoking talks, guided sessions and practical exercises by some of the world’s most esteemed thinkers, including neuroscientists, psychiatrists and writers. There’s also an impressive range of sessions, from focusing on mindful eating, to learning about how meditation benefits the brain, to how to be more compassionate. A 7-day free trial allows you to explore the app before deciding whether to commit to a £87.99 yearly subscription.
Situation based sessions (including sessions to deal with looming deadlines, and how to stay calm in a queue) complement breathing exercises for different times of day and a focusing function, which plays concentrating-aiding background music (think waves on the shore, or fire crackling) for a specified time (and if you stray, it’ll prompt you to put your phone back down until it’s over).
This cleverly designed app is designed entirely around your every day life, rather than requiring you to take a break from it. To start, you select what you’re doing, whether walking, trying to sleep, working or even scrolling through your phone. The app will then provide a meditation session based on your current activity – if you’re scrolling through social media, Buddhify will stay with you post by post, asking thought-provoking questions about how you’re feeling. Who knew social media could be so mindful?!
STOP, BREATHE, THINK
Along with a meditation and breathing timer allowing you to create a bespoke moment of calm with a soundtrack of your choice, this app also has a “check-in” function – a short quiz into your physical and mental state used to prescribe the meditation session best suited to your needs. And no matter what the results, there’s a session suited to you with everything from forgiveness-focussed meditation and routine-forming advice to guided accupressure, breathing exercises and short stories on offer. While there’s a selection available for free, you’ll need to pay £9.99 for a monthly subscription to enjoy all of the features.