As we get ready for a new year, you may be wondering what are the best apps for meditation and mindfulness. For many of us, an app is a great way to integrate mindfulness into our daily routines. But there are a lot out there to choose from. So, which one has everything you need?
In our list of the best meditation apps for practicing mindfulness in 2023, we’ve selected our favorite apps for a wide range of meditation practices. Whether you have an established mindfulness routine or you’re wanting to start one in the new year, these apps each offer different tools that can help you get started. From LGBTQ+ and BIWOC specific apps to yoga-based mindfulness, there’s an app for every type of meditation and mindfulness practice out there.
Top 13 Best Apps for Your Meditation & Mindfulness Routine in the New Year
In no particular order, our list of meditation apps and mindfulness apps starts includes our take on what makes each app unique and different!
1 - Oak
One of the more clean and simple interfaces of all the apps in this list, Oak is a newer-to-the-scene meditation app. Lots of users reviewed how accessible, easy and beautiful the app is to use. It includes a mix of meditations, guided breathing exercises, and some sleep and nighttime techniques. Plus, if you’re trying to build a meditation habit or practice, there is a progress tracker built-in.
Not available for Android
2 - Exhale
Started in 2020 specifically for Black, Indigenous, Women of Color (BIWOC), Exhale is an app focused on “soul medicine”. Serving women who are facing daily systems of oppression, microaggression, and hurt, the app address all of these topics with its programs. It has different meditations and guided breathwork and coaching based on topics for emotional healing and well-being.
3 - Calm
One of the most popular meditation apps out there, Calm has gained a lot of visibility for “beginners” looking to start a meditation practice. There are lots of approachable meditation challenges or programs, such as “7 Days of Managing Stress” and “21 Days of Calm.” There are also guided meditations by celebrities and mental health professionals. Calm is also great for people with insomnia that need help falling asleep. They have sleep stories where you can be lulled to sleep by a story read aloud.
Price: Yearly Subscription $70 / Family Yearly Subscription (6 Accounts) $100 / Lifetime Subscription is $400
The Mindfulness app is great for more experienced meditation practitioners. It is designed for total customization. You can basically create your own meditation environment on the app - down to the minutes in length, topic, sounds, volume, and other preferences. The guided sessions are led by meditation and wellness experts, and there is an option for a free (which is great, since not all apps offer free versions) or a premium subscription.
Price: Free / Premium Yearly Subscription $60
5 - Simply Being
An app by Meditation Oasis, Simply Being has lots of guided meditation for relaxation and also mindfulness. There are meditations sessions by category for relaxation, stress relief, breathing, pain relief, and others. But you can also start a meditation program that lasts a certain number of days. Many users like how the app is self-contained, there are no in-app purchases required. Plus, this app allows you to customize your meditation sessions, adjusting the voice and music volumes individually, the type of music or nature sounds, and the length of your meditation timer.
Price: Monthly Subscription is $8 / Yearly Subscription $50
6 - Headspace
It wouldn’t be a complete mindfulness and meditation app list without mentioning Headspace app. With over 70 million downloads, this app is one of the most established and resourced players in the app meditation game. Headspace has different features that let you focus on your meditation, sleep (Sleep by Headspace), stress relief, fitness (Move Mode), and morning routine (The Wake Up). And there are articles, courses, meditations, and sessions within each of these features depending on your focus.
Price: Monthly Subscription $13 / Yearly Subscription $70
7 - Sowlmate
An app created by and for members of the LBGTQ+ community, Sowlmate has an impressive list of topics for meditation and reflection. It’s a more holistic self-care app as opposed to just a meditation or mindfulness app. And for this reason, lots of users rave about the different programs like the AI mood tracker and diary, community groups and discussion boards, courses on specific issues, and self-care exercises.
Price: $14.50 Monthly Subscription / $58 Yearly Subscription
This app is another great one for beginners. If you’re not convinced meditation is for you, the creators of this app are out to change your mind. They gear a lot of their meditation sessions and in-app content to explaining what is guided meditation and how it can help you. They have both guided sessions and courses to help you tackle specific things that are “cluttering” your mind - whether it’s grief, coronavirus anxiety, overthinking, PTSD, insomnia, eating habits, anger, or something else.
Price: $8 Monthly Subscription / $80 Yearly Subscription / $200 Lifetime Subscription
9 - Waking Up
If you know the name Sam Harris, then you’ve probably heard of this app. Developed by the neuroscientist and author himself, Waking Up is an app for your driven, structure-loving, meditation practitioner. A lot of reviewers say the resources on the theory of meditation helped to educate them such that their meditation practice was more successful. There is a 28-Day Intro Program which is like a meditation 101 course. And there are even guided conversation and reflection questions at the end of each session.
Price: $15 Monthly Subscription / $100 Yearly Subscription / $500 Lifetime Subscription
Simple Habit is specifically marketed as an app for people who struggle with anxiety. They offer sleep and wellness plans and 5-minute meditations to calm anxiety. This app focuses on small, bite-sized, daily meditations that can transform lives, reduce stress and help with lifestyle improvements. They also have coaching and lifestyle programs. For this reason, the app has a broader health and wellness focus. And has lots of in-app purchase options so you only pay for what you want to use.
Price: $15 Monthly Subscription / $96 Yearly Subscription
11 - Insight Timer
Insight Timer has one of the vastest meditation session libraries of any on our list. There are all different types of meditation you can choose from based on your spiritual practice. From Buddhist mindfulness to Zen, Vipassana, Metta, and more. Plus, there are dedicated community groups for your practice as well. Insight Timer lets you access thousands of meditation sessions guided by well-known yogis and meditation experts for free, which has earned it both popularity and hundreds of thousands of 5-star ratings. This is definitely one of the best free meditation apps out there!
12 - 10% Happier
Created after his book with the same title, the 10% Happier app is author Dan Harris’ “practical application” piece of the ideas outlined in his book. And its a great option for anyone looking to start trying guided meditation, mindfulness meditation and mindfulness exercises. It is geared towards the beginner, and it offers a lot of the same types of meditations, sleep stories, and courses that some of the other apps on our list offer. Ten Percent Happier is a great app if you listen to Dan Harris’ podcast and read his book. But its also great if you just want to dip your toes in the meditation water and have access to some awesome celebrity interviews (like Karamo Brown from Queer Eye), guided meditation and more.
Price: $15 Monthly Subscription / $100 Yearly Subscription
13 - Aura
Aura is a meditation and sleep app that gives you a super-personalized meditation experience. People love for its life coaching, meditations, nature sounds, and so much more. You can also track your moods, listen to stories and calming music, and set reminds to breathe and take breaks throughout the day. Best of all, people report sleeping so much better when using this app.
Price: Free With In-App Purchases
Why start a meditation routine in the first place?
If you’re setting goals and intentions for the new year, you may be thinking about adding meditation to your list. There are lots of reasons why meditation and mindfulness practices are recommended. Not only can meditation help reduce stress, increase your self-awareness, and help with focus. But meditation and mindfulness routines can also have amazing benefits for your overall health and wellness - physical, mental, emotional and more!
Especially right now, in a time when so many people around us are stressed for various reasons related to Coronavirus, work, family, finances, meditation can be one of the most grounding things we do in our daily lives. Even just 30 minutes set aside everyday to breathe and think is a simple habit that could be transformative. Adding one of these meditation app or a mindfulness app to your phone is just one way to jump start a new routine for the new year.
Tips for using meditation apps to their fullest potential:
- Set reminders on your phone for a daily meditation
- Find calming sounds or relaxing sounds in an app to turn on when you find yourself stressing out
- Add 5 minutes of meditation to the end of your daily gratitude journaling routine or an existing mindfulness practice
- Download the free version or free trial of several apps in our list and try each one for a week before committing to a premium membership
- Take a meditation course (offered in a lot of the meditation apps in our list) to get your bearings with how to meditate and what you enjoy best about it
- Track your moods and your progress in your journal once you begin daily meditation practice to see how its influencing your daily life
- Get a friend to download the same app as you and hold each other accountable to doing mediation for enough time each day
- Try using your meditation app before bed to see if it helps you fall asleep and get better sleep throughout the night
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