My whole adult life, I’ve struggled with being able to focus during the day and fall asleep at night. I sprint through my days, busy and anxious that I won’t fit enough in to feel good enough. At night, I often stay awake, mind busy with things I know I can’t control at the moment. Stress can be a good thing in small doses, but dealing with it for years on end has certainly taken its toll on my ability to relax and focus when I need to.
I admit that meditation was something I resisted trying for years. Something about it sounded… too difficult for me. Sitting quietly with my thoughts is fine, but to sit quietly without them? That seemed like too big of a challenge!
After years of struggling to think straight and sleep well, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try. As a beginner, I knew I couldn’t just reach zen on my own – so I sought out apps to get me started. Now that I’ve been at it almost daily for almost a year, I thought I’d share which apps I’ve been using to get control of my thoughts, and find a little bit of chill in the chaos!
My Favorite Meditation Apps
(Free or Premium $9.99/month or $82.99/year)
This is the first app I downloaded, and I still go back to it from time to time. Stop, Breathe & Think works by first asking you to choose 5 emotions you’re feeling, and it will suggest a meditation for you. I liked that because, in the beginning, I had no idea which meditation would work best for me if I was happy, angry, tired, etc.
The free version has plenty of options to choose from, from guided meditations, yoga, and acupressure. They also have an unguided meditation option, where you can choose the length of time and bells to remind you of time. My only gripe is the meditations don’t include the option of background noise, which makes it hard to use when, say, there are roofers pounding on your ceiling. This one is perfect for an already quiet space.
I highly recommend this app when you’re just getting started. They have great guided meditations for beginners that don’t seem too daunting. You can also choose between short and longer meditations, so if you only have the time/patience for a few minutes at a time, you can totally do that!
(Free or Premium $12.99/month or $59.99/year or $299 for life)
A blogger friend introduced me to this app a few years ago, when I needed ambient noise to listen to while grading papers. Their desktop version is perfect for people who need calming background noise while working.
I decided to add the app to my phone after I found Stop, Breathe & Think couldn’t drown out the outside construction noise at our prior apartment. Pairing this app with noise-canceling headphones did the trick, and I still use this app daily.
They have decent options for guided and unguided meditations in their free version, though not as many as the other app. In the premium version, they have individual meditations you can choose from, a daily meditation, or you can start a 7 or 21-day program. They also have unguided meditations, and several options dedicated specifically to sleep. I haven’t even cracked the surface of what they offer, and I love it so far!
This is a good option once you already have a set practice, you’re just looking for calming background sounds for your work day, or while you’re reading. I use the untimed meditation option when I’m reading to tune out the television or music, and it works like a charm!
If you’re looking for an easy and free way to start your meditation journey, I highly suggest both of these apps! They are easy to use, the meditations are easy to follow, and both are great free options!