Meditation and mindfulness are buzzwords these days, and for good reason: research has linked the practices to benefits ranging from lessening symptoms of depression and anxiety to changing how your body responds to stress on a molecular level.
But incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your life can feel intimidating without the right help. But there are plenty of apps to get you started. Here are three to try.
Headspace offers simple meditation and mindfulness guides that are helpful for first-timers and expert meditators alike. The app allows you to progress to more challenging meditations only after you’ve completed simpler ones, helping you build up your practice at a pace that makes sense for you. Headspace also includes animated videos with tips on how to embrace the distractions that are probably happening around you instead of viewing them as interruptions.The best part? The app lets you set reminders so you can give yourself a helpful push to take a few minutes, breathe and meditate each day.
Like the name suggests, this app is all about slowing down, taking a breath and reflecting on what’s happening right now, which is what mindfulness and meditation are all about. The app teaches you how to meditate and tracks your progress, and you can integrate it into devices and applications like Alexa or Slack. Using the app via Alexa makes it easy to mediate without needing your smartphone nearby (which is perfect for morning and nighttime routines). On Slack, the app can be installed as a bot that encourages group or individual meditations, sends you daily inspirational quotes or begins meditation sessions if you message it.
Based on ABC News anchor Dan Harris’s book and podcast of the same name, the 10% Happier app uses expert advice to help you meditate even—or especially—if you’re skeptical about starting. There are many guided meditations to choose from, with the option to specify how long you want to meditate for and even pick a specific topic to focus on during your meditation, like self-acceptance or gratitude.