‘Tis the season to sing winter carols, spend time with loved ones, and—you guessed it—study for finals week! When November and December are jam-packed with holiday preparations and major academic projects, you may feel like you have more to do than you could ever finish in two months. Those with anxiety disorders may even notice exacerbated symptoms as, no matter how hard they try, they cannot shake their perpetual state of stress.
Daily meditation can do wonders for combatting anxiety and improving mental focus in stressful situations. Researchers at Harvard University have found that mindfulness-based meditation programs can reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, including uncontrollable worries, irritability, and insomnia. If you don’t already incorporate meditation into your daily routine, these seven apps (all available on iOS and Android platforms) may help you say goodbye to end-of-year stress and prepare for the new year mindfully.
Buddhify offers meditations that center around what the user is doing. Whether you’re walking in the city, struggling with insomnia, taking a break from work, or working through your emotions, you will receive an individualized meditation. Over 80 meditations are available on the app and, if you don’t feel like the meditation Buddhify chose for you isn’t helping, you can switch to another one. Users can also track their emotions and meditation progress over time to see how mindfulness changes their overall mood.
Insight Timer is a free meditation app that offers a simple timer so users can set their meditation and receive a notification once the time is up. If you prefer guided meditation, the app also offers both free and paid options—users can choose between over 4,000 meditations on subjects like stress, self-compassion, overcoming depression or anxiety, and loving-kindness. Users meditating with a Wi-Fi connection can log and track their meditations over time and see on the home screen how many other users are meditating with them.
Simply Being offers customizable meditation wherever you are. Online or offline, you can set the timer for anywhere between 5-30 minutes depending on your meditation needs. You can then choose between guided meditation, timed silence, nature sounds, or some combination of the three. This app is ideal for those who need a personalized app to define what environment you meditate best in.
Aura provides users with a simple three-minute meditation every day based on the user’s need. Because Aura teachers record new tracks every day, users never hear the same meditation twice. To gauge your needs, users input information about their emotions, stressors, and interest in mindfulness. Aura then pairs you with a meditation designed to compliment your needs. If you loved your meditation and want to hear it again, you can save it in your user library.
Stop, Breathe, & Think is perfect for meditation beginners who need plenty of structure. The app begins with a quick “Learn to Meditate” section, which explains what mindful meditation is and walks new users through key meditation elements. Then, users can choose between over 30 free meditations (and many paid meditations) based on their mood and desired meditation length. Or, if users prefer a quiet meditation experience, they can set a timer and meditate to silence or calming nature sounds. Users can track their daily progress and watch how their mood changes over time as they incorporate meditation into their life.
Smiling Mind is a meditation app designed specifically for children and teenagers, though adults are welcome to use the app as well. Each meditation program is divided by age, with the first category being (7-11) and the last being (16-18). The programs are based on psychological research done by UCLA, John Hopkins College, Harvard, and other university studies on how mindfulness meditation can combat stress and improve focus. Each meditation is designed to help young people work through their emotions in a fun, insightful way.
Omvana is a meditation app with a smooth, visual-heavy interface. Users who download Omvana can access a library of over one thousand meditations, including 75 free meditations. Meditators all over the world (including about 50,000 daily meditators) can also meditate to the daily “6-Phase Meditation,” which guides users through a morning meditation on gratitude, forgiveness, and human connection. If you’re looking for a daily timed meditation app with beautiful and calming images, Omvana may enhance your meditating experience.