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The 5 Best Apps to Calm You Down

Beth Greenfield
Senior Writer
July 14, 2014

Photo by Elke Seizle/Getty Images

It sounds counterintuitive, but apps and meditation fit together as neatly as the soles of your feet. Not only are they a pocket-sized fix for stress, apps make you a bit more accountable when trying to ‘ohm’ on a daily basis. So, for now, clear your mind of everything but these 5 top apps for relaxation:

Buddhify 2
This UK-based app is ideal for cautious beginners who want to dabble in meditation because its guided sessions range from just 5-to-20 minutes long. Plus, the app is pretty — more than 40 guided-meditation tracks are laid displayed on a bright color wheel categorized by mood (stressful moments) or activity (traveling, work breaks). And when you’re ready to delve into a solo practice, set the app’s timer anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes and chart your progress with the “stats screen.”

This app has some serious street cred. Not only was it co-created by a former Buddhist monk, it’s endorsed by ABC Nightline anchor Dan Harris who used it to detail his meditation journey in his 2014 memoir “10% Happier.” It’s a comprehensive aid for both beginners and pros, based on a $7.99-a-month subscription (“like a gym membership for the mind”) that provides 10-minute daily meditation sessions, regularly updated inspirational podcasts, reminders and mindfulness “buzzers” to help you stick to your goals. To try it without commitment chose the free “Take 10” program, which offers one session per day for 10 days.
Free (plus subscription)

The Mindfulness App
Attention all parents! This collection of meditation sessions — in 3, 5, 15 and 30 minutes in length —are guided by Catherine Polan Orzech, a 20-year mind-body vet who teaches (among stress reduction techniques) mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting. There’s also a silent meditation option with stop-start bells, a body-scan check (to assess where the body holds tension) and customization features to track progress and set reminders.

Simply Being
Created by husband and wife duo Mary and Richard Maddux who run a popular Meditation Oasis podcast, this app provides a nice balance between autonomy and hand-holding: It offers 5, 10, 15 and 20-minute guided sessions, a selection of ocean, rain and stream sounds, and tips on posture, listening skills, and how to create the ideal Zen environment.

Bare-bones support for dedicated meditators who simply crave a little structure, this app (named after the term for practicing Zen meditation while seated), is basically a timer with four distinctive bell sounds to let you know when it’s time to start and stop your silent sessions.