Have you tried using a mindfulness App to help you meditate?
They are a great tool to help and support anyone starting out on a path of learning to meditate. Mindfulness apps will help you establish a daily mindfulness practice if you have no idea where to begin.
So where do we start?
There are so many apps available in the marketplace to choose from. The Wall Street Journal reported that between 2015 and 2018 more than 2,000 new meditation apps were launched. Choosing the right one for you can be a challenge.
Bearing this in mind throughout 2020 I have tried many to see what’s out there. This blog is to help you save time choosing. To narrow down my selection I have exclusively focused on the FREE mindfulness meditation apps available to make you choose easy.
Whether you have an iPhone or Android phone these apps should help you.
Here are my personal top 3 mindfulness FREE apps for mindfulness and meditation.
I suggest you try them all to see which works best for you. They are all FREE so you are losing nothing but a little bit of time.
Smiling Minds is Australia’s number 1 most popular mindfulness app. It has a 4.3 rating on the App store and has been downloaded by over 4 million people.
I’m personally a big fan of the work done by their CEO Addie Wootten and her team. They deliver a totally free app that is rare these days. It is available on the App Store and on Google Play.
The Smiling Mind meditation app has many great features:
- Suitable for users of all ages;
- It’s free to use;
- You are able to check in with yourself in a highly effective way;
- It’s easy to use;
- Practices focus on improving productivity, sleep, moods, and relationships;
- You can practice meditation while commuting;
- You have reminders to nudge you when to meditate;
- The app features hundreds of meditations;
- The app is organized into categories such as Mindful Foundations (42 sessions), Sleep (6 sessions), Relationships (13 sessions), and Workplace (41 sessions);
- Most meditations are in the five- to fifteen-minute range, with a few practices up to 45 minutes for advanced meditators;
- Flexibility to choose where to start and to easily jump between programs.
Smiling Mind hits the sweet spot for a free mindfulness app in so many ways. The app is designed to help you bring balance to your life. The app features enough meditations to keep you engaged without feeling overwhelmed with choice.
While you could use a meditation app as a brief break from your frantic life, Smiling Mind encourages you to take your mindfulness practice into every part of your day.
Scattered with the meditations are audio “activities” with attractive names. A great example is ‘Are You Really Listening?’ You learn how to focus on other people’s speech as the object of meditation. When the mind wanders you bring your attention back to what they are saying.
I had fun with this. It has helped me remember details of what people tell me for future reference rather than zoning out when things get boring.
The app wants to put a “smile on your mind”—You be the judge!
Experts agree that Insight Timer is primo when it comes to choosing a meditation app. The Insight Timer app is arguably the most popular free meditation app on the market.
Insight Timer has attracted more than 6 million meditators from around the world. TIME magazine voted it as one of the best meditation apps of the year!
Insight Timer has helped thousands of people cultivate peace of mind, improve sleep quality, and manage stress and anxiety. It is great for both beginners and advanced meditators. This app has a 4.9 rating based on nearly 200,000 reviews.
While the Insight Timer is a free app, you have the option to pay for either monthly or yearly subscription plans in order to access their full range of features. However, with the free version, you can still get to choose from a wide range of more than 15,000 meditations and music tracks to accompany you wherever you go.
For me the excessive choose was initially an issue. Depending on your preferences, Insight Timer’s extensive collection can be either a blessing or a curse. An endless list of choices that might leave you feeling overwhelmed.
It’s a bit like Netflix’s. I needed some recommendations. There’s nothing worse when you sit down to meditate based on a random selection and you’ve picked a dude. You end up in a worse frame of mind than before you started. Trial and error was a painful process.
Yet, Insight Timer does have something for everyone:
- Offers a community place for users to discuss anything regarding mediation.
- You can keep track of your progress;
- Follow along with your favourite teachers;
- You can choose an alarm sound that will gently let you know time is up;
- You can access over 70,000 free meditations;
- Music tracks and ambient sounds to meditate to;
- Fresh new meditation content daily;
- Meditation app is perfect for beginners and advanced practitioners alike;
- You can follow and practice any meditation type such as Zen, Insight Meditation, Buddhist Mindfulness, Yoga, and many more;
- Over 25,000 guided meditations from around 3,000 teachers;
- Wide range of topics covering stress, relationships, creativity, and more;
- The meditation session lengths are numerous, ranging from 5 minutes to over 30 minutes;
- You can tune in to 2,000 free talks and podcasts for life advice and inspiration, and music tracks to soothe your mind or help you sleep.
The app makes you feel supported and part of a community. A good example of this is when the home screen announces, “420,065 meditations today, 5,059 meditating right now”.
After you finish a meditation, you’ll learn exactly how many people were meditating “with you” during that time—and by setting your location, you can even see meditators nearby and what tracks they’re listening to- how cool!
Anyone that has even the slightest interest in meditation should at least download and try Insight Timer app for two reasons: it’s free and it’s incredibly helpful. Although a bit overwhelming at first, it has a lot to offer. As soon as you get used to their interface-and-style I found it very helpful.
This app does not have the bells and whistles of the other apps; however its simplicity is what appeals to me.
When I facilitate mindfulness workshops this is my go to app I recommend to my students to use in-conjunction with the course.
The app was designed by the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs to help teach mindfulness to service members and veterans. For some reason this initially concerns my students, however it has no impact on the effectiveness of the app.
With a 4.7 rating and nearly 2,000 reviews, it seems that this app is a good choice.
The app is 100% free and offers many great benefits:
- It tracks and measures your progress in practicing mindfulness.
- Practices focus on reducing stress;
- Improving emotional balance;
- Increasing self-awareness;
- Helping with anxiety and depression;
- Coping more effectively with chronic pain;
- Utilizes educational tools (Learn, Practice, Track, Reminders)
- Self-guided training exercises based on personal preference.
- The Mindfulness Log allows tracking of behaviours per day (based on minutes of Mindfulness Activity)
- In-app reminders to either practice or log designated behaviours.
Mindfulness Coach strives to teach individuals how to focus on the present moment and equip them with skills to create emotional balance despite exposure to stressful circumstances (either past or present).
A very easy app to use. I highly recommend it for anyone who is totally new to meditation and mindfulness. What stands out is its structured training plan to guide you to become a mindfulness master.
It has this cool visual learning element where you see your learning grow. You earn badges which grow from a seed to a tree. Nice touch!
A Take-Home Message
If you are dedicated to mindfulness, your smartphone does not have to be an obstacle to your practice. Sometimes technology can help, not hinder, your journey to becoming more mindful.
As we have explored above, there are a variety of apps that can teach you how to meditate and be mindful for FREE.
If you are intentional about your smartphone usage, you might find that–contrary to popular belief–your smartphone can be a helpful mindfulness tool after all.
Do you believe smartphones can help us in our mindfulness quest?
Do you use a mindfulness app?
What app is your favourite?
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
We hope you found this article useful.
If you would be interesting learning science-based Mindfulness and meditation in 2021 please reach out. I facilitate a number of classes throughout the year and can send you details and costs of upcoming events.