When it all feels like it’s getting too much, meditation apps could help relieve anxiety and stress.
It’s normal to feel worried about certain things in your everyday life such as a job interview or an exam but when that worry takes over, it’s time to take action. It’s easier said than done, I know but noticing symptoms of anxiety and having coping strategies in place is so important.
Those with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) could be spending over 300 minutes a day worrying. This is in comparison to just general worriers who spend around 55 minutes a day worrying, according to a Johns Hopkins Health Alert. That’s over five hours a day spent obsessing and working yourself up instead of really enjoying a good quality of life and well-being.
Anxiety disorders don’t discriminate and anyone can experience stress and worry at some point in their life. In the UK alone, 1 in 10 young people (16-18-year-olds) will experience a mental health disorder. With over half of all mental ill health starting at age 14 and 75% developing by age 18.
One way to help ease anxiety and stress, two common factors that disrupt sleep and cause insomnia, is to practice meditation. Focusing on your breath and visualising a calm environment may help to reduce anxiety symptoms and ease stress.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD looked through almost 19,000 meditation studies. Their findings suggested that mindful meditation can help ease anxiety, depression and pain.
The thought of meditation may seem a little hard to grasp, sitting cross-legged on the floor trying not to think. However, there are several meditation apps that can help with mindfulness and allow you to take the time to be present and just take a breath.
When it all feels like it’s getting too much, reach for your phone, put on some headphones and relax. Here are 10 amazing meditation apps to help relieve anxiety and stress.
The Calmer You app is a complete course designed with tools to help you to manage your anxiety every day. It’s designed specifically for those with anxiety, with science-backed tools, meditations, daily journalling and ways to track your progress as you become calmer.
The most perfect app for anyone!
‘I love the way that each course subtly reinforces the previous courses to build up real change: a brilliant App that trains the brain. Not just an information fest’
10/10 – thank you for a really great app
‘Wow, what an incredible app! I’ve never come across an app that combines so many great techniques and tools for overcoming anxiety in such a strategic way. One day I’m meditating and working through difficult decisions, the next im working out and learning to manage my ‘thinking traps’ – its really great. Thank you!’
‘Packed full of really helpful and easy-to-understand advice and I love doing the reflective practices! I feel calm and grounded when I use the app and it helps me to put things into perspective. Great to have the meditations and the journaling in there too!’
If you’ve never tried meditation before then this is one of the meditations apps for you. Created by New York Times bestselling author, Dan Harris, 10% Happier provides a simple and easy to follow approach to meditation. The app includes guided meditations as well as a number of resources for coping with stress and anxiety. A perfect choice if you don’t have much time. The practices are short and sweet and can fit into your morning commute or afternoon coffee break.
Voted App of the Year by Apple in 2017 and Happiest App in the World by Human Tech, Calm helps to bring more clarity, peace and happiness into your life. The app is free to download but has a paid subscription fee. Guided meditations are available at different lengths, ranging from 3 to 25 minutes long. The topics include calming anxiety, managing stress, self-esteem and happiness amongst several others. There are new practices added daily as well as specific programmes for both beginner and advanced users.
The Smiling Mind is a non-profit organisation. The app was developed by psychologists and educators who want to help bring balance to people’s lives. The Smiling Mind aims to make mindfulness and meditation available to children and adults. The programmes are suitable for a range of ages starting at age 7. As well as offering 10-minute sessions they also have mindfulness programmes specifically for the classroom and workspace.
Even just the title itself is good advice to take when it comes to anxiety. The app includes guided meditations, breathing techniques and yoga. A unique approach to mindfulness and meditation, users have reported feeling 46% less anxiety with consistent use of the app. They also experienced a 78% increase in positive feelings after the first session. You can track your progress and mood to keep on top of your practice at all times.
This is one of the meditation apps for the person with no time. It’s fantastic for busy lifestyles. It was created by a former investment banker who turned to meditation to manage the extreme stress from her job. Simple Habit includes guides by some of the world’s best leaders in the mindfulness space from experts at Google to former monks. The app requires a monthly paid subscription and gives you access to over 1000 guided meditations, all 5-minutes long. The aim is to develop a simple habit of meditation by just dedicating a few minutes each day to the practice.
Breethe helps you to de-stress and sleep better. It’s perfect for a pre-bedtime meditation session. Your personal mindfulness coach delivers 10-20 minute sessions to encourage relaxation and sharpen your mind. The app also offers specific practices to cope with certain scenarios such as “Dealing with Anxiety”.
Omvana provides a number of guided meditations and they can range from 3 to 60 minutes. When first starting, it’s much easier to practice shorter meditation sessions and work your way towards the longer ones. With Omvana, you can personalise the background music with the integrated mixer so it really is a personalised meditation practice. The app not only focuses on stress and anxiety but also on spiritual growth, focus and sleep
Voted App of the Year Winner by TIME magazine, Insight Timer is helping millions of people to learn to meditate, reduce anxiety, manage stress and sleep deeper. The app features guided meditations and talks led by the worlds leading experts in mindfulness as well as neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers. It has thousands of music tracks to help set the mood and enter a calm state.
Oak provides a number of guided meditations and breathing techniques that can be used to manage and cope with stress and anxiety. Certain breathing techniques can really help you take a step back and be present in the moment. The app also features a meditation timer, the ability to track your progress and a library of talks from Alan Watts. It’s free to use and a simple way to implement meditation into your everyday life.
Most of us either have our phone on us or nearby so instead of replying to emails or texts that keep us alert and tightly wound, why not open one of your meditation apps and start relaxing. Research has shown that meditation and mindfulness-based training might help you manage your anxiety. One study has found that a mind-calming practice that focuses on breathing and being aware of the present moment can help fight insomnia and improve sleep.
If something can help ease your worry and only takes 10 minutes out of your day, then it’s definitely worth a try. Meditation apps are a great place to start your practice and learn the basics.
If you’re interested in attending a meditation class in person, check out your local yoga studios for a class in mindfulness and meditation otherwise try one of the meditation apps.