2019’s Top meditations apps
We have been testing out the top meditation apps of 2019, so we thought we would share thoughts, pros, cons…all the things!
First of all, here are the apps we’ve put to the test.
- Insight Timer
- 10% Happier
- Simple Habit
Here is what our intern, Rose had to say about the apps she tested…
“As a current intern at LIV Health, I was tasked with an assignment to review three meditation apps for three weeks. Each app was allotted 7 days to get an overall feel of what they would potentially offer the user. This was a first for me, I have never tried meditating from an app that had been downloaded to my phone – the idea through mediation is to disconnect-to relax and shed whatever stress or anxiety anyone might be experiencing. I was both excited and ready for the challenge.
If you have ever been stressed, anxious, or felt overwhelmed with your typical chaotic schedule that most people encounter in their daily lives – mediation apps are a useful tool. Providing the user with guided meditations as well as other options that are convenient and accessible. Essentially, what better way to start or end your day than using a meditation app that is designed to be used anytime or anywhere. These apps offer a wide variety of choices that range from course downloads, sleep aids, relaxation, self-care, journaling, and so much more. If the idea is to learn various techniques to declutter your mind using mindfulness, or journaling for those interested in recapping what the user has learned. Unplug, Headspace, or Insight Timer broaden any user’s horizon with regards to its versatility and its portability by using these meditation apps in their home, at work, or on the drive home.”
“This app boasts about its 32,000 titles of meditation that include sleep, morning focus, stress relief, self-confidence, and gratitude, along with its variety of meditation styles that are similar to so many other apps. However, what distinguishes Insight Timer from other meditation apps is its huge inventory list that allows the user to choose different styles of meditation.
Unfortunately, the drawback to that can be that while other apps have a smaller inventory this allows users to have a personal one-on-one perspective with its single teacher. While Insight Timer allows users to choose from a dozen styles and techniques that may lead to new users feeling perplexed to the huge inventory styles of meditation techniques.”
Pricing: Insight Timer does provide a free option and according to the Apple app store it’s the number 1 free meditation app. There is also a paid version that of course includes options you won’t get from the free version, including:
- The Daily Insight
- Insight Courses
- Ability to listen offline
- An advanced player that allows you to repeat, fast forward, rewind and pick up where you left off.
- High-Quality Audio
The paid version costs $59.99 per year or you can do a monthly subscription for $9.99 per month.
We should probably mention that we tested out the free/trial versions of each app.
“By far my favorite Meditation App is Unplug. Due in part to my own predilection for journaling. Its inventory has 68 world-wide videos that assist in mindfulness, guided imagery, sound baths, breathing, journaling, and much more. All this to help those who are feeling stressed, anxious, or can’t sleep. The drawback, of course, is cost. With its studio classes led by world-leading experts provided for those users interested in becoming a member for the introductory cost of $35 (2-weeks unlimited access) and $175 unlimited monthly access. My own 7-day experience was extremely positive. Those who are new to meditation and feel that it might be difficult or a bit overwhelming to start – Unplug’s (or any of these apps for that matter) provide a calming and approachable way to assist any user in seeking an easy and accessible way to meditate – even for the busiest person.”
“Headspace uses animations as a teaching tool to demonstrate mindfulness techniques which can be useful for those first-time users (young and old). Portability is also an important factor for those who would like to learn to meditate anywhere (i.e. car, work, home, etc.). However, the downside is that the user will be asked to sign up for a membership after 10 uses. Membership fees can be pretty expensive – ranging from $12.99 monthly or $69.00 annually – that is a pretty high cost for those living on a fixed income. I found that Headspace was a fun way to learn and use mindfulness for anxiety and sleep. Also, I began at three minutes and later found that I increased my meditation as I continued with my daily practice.”
Rose’s final thoughts…
“All in all, these mediation apps are amazing tools to aid in anxiety, stress, or assist with sleep. Whether you choose to take advantage of the membership or not, it is beneficial to develop good habits, through mediation for stress relief. What makes these apps useful is that each individual can personalize their meditation experience by using these apps in a single experience or by combining them. Each offers its own benefits. For example, Headspace would be useful for those needing more structured content. For me, I loved the journaling experience after meditation from Unplug, while Insight Timer would be excellent for those individuals who enjoy the unguided feel.
So, take it from an intern who also works full time, Meditation Apps provide you with more benefits than your expectations – they are able to enhance the users day to day experience through greater insight while enhancing their own personal wellbeing. So, make the personal investment and choose the road to self-care.”
P.S. the photo used at the beginning of this post was taken by Rose…pretty awesome photo huh?
Next up is our intern Rachel, here’s what she had to say…
“Some things I really wanted to focus on was my sleep habits and improving my self-esteem. The app recommended a daily podcast for me to listen, that went along with the things I was wanting to focus on. It made me think about my internal dialogue towards myself and how I can improve it. The app also offers a variety of different things to listen to before going to sleep. I’m someone who listens to white noise, music, or (I’m ashamed to admit) falling asleep while the TV is on. There are a variety of different stories, sounds, and sleep meditations. My personal favorites was the “Bob Ross” stories for bed. It also features a sleep timer and alarm. It also has a mood tracker. If you’re utilizing mindfulness and meditation for mood management or to reduce depressive symptoms, this is a great option.
I didn’t like the time that each of the activities/podcasts took. Many lasted between 20-40 minutes, which can be really challenging if you’re someone who is easily distractible or doesn’t have much time throughout the day. I am a full-time graduate student, and often times very distractible. Some were downloadable, so I could listen to them in the car. However, that didn’t feel very mindful. If you’re really serious about mindfulness and meditation I would probably recommend a different app. If you’re someone who has experience in meditating and wants longer meditation sessions this app would be perfect for you. It’s also important to note that if you’re trying to open the Calm app in a quiet place it can be rather embarrassing. It plays rather loud “calming” sounds when opened. It also takes up a lot of space on your phone which I was also not a fan of.
Pricing: Calm offers 3 options and a free 1-week trial. Per month, $14.99, auto-renewing subscription. $69.99 per year auto-renewing subscription or you can do a lifetime subscription for $399.99
“I really enjoyed this app! For starters, I thought the app was a lot more accessible for anyone who is looking to learn more about incorporating meditation into your everyday life. When you first download the app, it asks you about areas you would like to improve on. I chose to focus on the same things I did within “Calm”, self-esteem and sleep. I also chose to focus on “relationships” with this app. It asks you about your experiences with meditation and mindfulness. With those questions answered, it curates some things to listen to, and splits things into sub-categories like, “commuting”, “morning”, “evening”, etc. Many of the listening activities were under 10 minutes which again, I felt made the app a lot more practical. The app has a category called “walking” which I enjoyed listening to while walking my roommates’ dog Neville. You can set a timed reminder, which I did at night to remind me to meditate before bed. You also have the ability to disable notifications you would regularly get so you don’t get distracted.
Holy notifications. That’s the downside of this app. The reminder to meditate was ok, but the app assigns you a “coach” who sends out too many notifications.
Pricing: 10% Happier offers auto-renewing monthly and yearly subscription ($99.99 per year) membership options with a 1-week free trial.
“This app focused more on little ways that you can incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily life. There are many different things that this app focuses on and gives you time limits, ideal meditations for your location and suggestions on how to make meditation a habit. Since this one didn’t curate a list of different things to focus on I tried using the app for the same purposes as the others. I focused on building self-esteem, better sleeping habits, and incorporating mindfulness in small ways. One thing I particularly liked was the commuting meditations option, and meditations you can do when you have a short break during the day. While commuting, I liked using the “focus” meditation. It seemed to help me get through a stressful day.
Some of the cons were that many of the different meditations were “exclusive” or could be “unlocked” by purchasing the full version. This app also sent out reminder emails, so this would be another app I would suggest avoiding adding your email.”
Pricing: In order to get unlimited access you have to sign up for the premium account. The monthly cost is $11.99, or yearly for $95.99
Rachel’s final thoughts…
We all have different schedules, lives, and levels of experience using meditation and mindfulness practices. So try before you buy. See which works best for your needs and wants.
Stop, Breathe & Think
I, Courtney here, tested out Stop, Breathe and Think with my kids. For reference, my daughter is 7, and my son is 3. We found the app very easy to use. And my kids started asking to “measuretape” (how my son says “meditate”) every night before bed. I would start by taking a second to check in with them, see how they were feeling. At first, the app asks how you’re doing, how you are feeling physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Then comes up with your recommended results. The meditations are usually pretty short, which is great because my kid’s attention spans are not very long. We would do the meditation, then get ready for bed. I’m not sure if it actually helped them sleep any better. However, I did notice they had a tendency to be calmer. (Especially my son who has A TON of energy.)
Pricing: Stop, Breathe and Think offers a free version and 2 auto-renewing subscription options. The monthly options for $9.99, or yearly for $58.99.
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