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Best Meditation Apps for Busy People.
If you have been interested in starting meditation but don’t know where to begin — this post is for you.
So hike up your socks and fluff your pillows – the top 3 Best Meditation Apps for Busy People are here – and they’re glorious.
Finding time for meditation can be hard. As a finance professional that typically works 10-12 hour days, I can relate (kill me). However, not meditating can lead to chronic work-stress, inability to keep a level head and really holds you back from enjoying each day. In addition to your ability to brag to coworkers that you meditate, there are serious mental benefits professionals can gain from meditating. Just ask Rupert Murdoch (CEO, News Corp), Russel Simmons (Founder, Def Jam Records), and Oprah Winfrey (you know Oprah) here. Personally, meditation has been a game-changer in my life, specifically with lowering my daily anxiety/stress.
I’ve been meditating for a year and a half now and continue to deepen my practice today by reading books, sitting cross-legged for hours on end, and trying out the best meditation apps out there.
I’ve found that using a high-quality meditation app is the best way to start and sustain a meditation practice.
A forewarning– of all the best meditation apps I have tried, the paid apps have been the best by far. Two of the apps I recommend have ongoing charges but are worth the money a-hundred-fold. These apps teach you the proper ways to meditate and the science behind it all, instead of just providing you random guided audios. If you are just starting out, I highly recommend starting out with the free content from 10% Happier and/or Headspace, then moving to a paid subscription.
Note: These best meditation apps are for practical, non-hippy, hard-working professionals that are looking to improve themselves at home and at work. If you’re busy, you’ve come to the right place.
App Pick #1: 10% Happier
Level: First Timers, Beginners and Intermediate Meditators
Price: Free for first 7 lessons, $9.99 per month with subscription
Supported: Only on Apple App Store
Summary: Gives you access to practical meditation teachings from arguably the best meditators in the world today. Great for those looking for the “why” in meditation and starting meditation for the first time.
This is by far my favorite meditation app and is my #1 recommendation. The two experts in the app are Dan Harris, anchor of ABC News, and Joseph Goldstien, meditation master who brought meditation to America. Dan Harris started meditating and later created this app as a reaction to a panic-attack he had on national television. Joseph Goldstien, a less-traditional-business-type, has been studying and pioneering mindfulness meditation since 1967.
Each lesson is broken down into a short video, teaching you something very significant about meditation, followed by a guided meditation by Joseph that solidifies the teachings. What I love about 10% Happier is that Dan and Joseph’s teachings are so practical and applicable to the lives of busy professionals. Dan Harris is a very successful and popular news anchor that had to claw his way to top like the rest of us. He cuts through the crap and “hooplah” typically associated with meditation which is really refreshing.
The first seven days are free and you can replay these lessons as many times as you’d like. My recommendation when beginning meditation would be to run through these free lessons at least twice over. The content is profound and I still refer back to them this day. After the two weeks you can decide for yourself if the ongoing subscription of $9.99 is worth it or if switching to Insight Timer, with the lessons you’ve learned, is the best idea.
I have subscribed to the app and have found it invaluable. There is new content and lessons being released each month, with Dan Harris and other world-renown meditators joining him. The app also assigns you a professional meditation coach that you can tap into when you have any questions (I never use this feature personally).
App Pick #2: Headspace
Level: First Timers, Beginners and Intermediate Meditators
Price: Free for first 10 lessons, $12.95 per month with subscription ($7.99 per month if you buy a full year up front).
Supported: Apple App Store and Google Play
Summary: extremely user friendly app and calming-UK voice, guides you through the first stages of meditation practice. The animations and guided meditations are top-notch and make it easy to stay engaged.
Headspace has been making waves in the meditation community after they raised over $35 million to build and promote the meditation app. The founder and calming voice behind each meditation is Andy Puddicombe, who while in college for sports science dropped everything and moved to the Himalayas to become a monk (so typical…).
Headspace is a fantastic app and my #2 paid meditation app on the market. In a similar format to 10% Happier, Headspace pairs engaging animations with very effective guided audio meditations. Honestly, my favorite part about the app is the narrators voice whose accent is the perfect combination of a United Kingdom Accent and a snugly, yet bad-ass, cuddle bear. Besides the voice, the app has a ton to offer including 30 foundation lessons to learn proper meditation practice and hundreds of hours of guided audios on topics like happiness, sleep, stress, self-esteem, relationships and creativity.
The first 10 lessons are free and can be recycled for your pleasure. The pricing for a full subscription is a bit steep but its for a reason; you’ll see the quality once you start. There is new fresh content being released all the time. The app also includes a “buddy” feature where-by you can connect with friends and motivate each other.
My recommendation is to run through the 10 free days and see how you feel prior to pulling the trigger on a full subscription. If you are not convinced or are looking for a deeper understanding, check out 10% Happier’s free 7-day content. I think its important to have the basics down first.
APP PICK #3: Insight Timer
Level: Beginner and Intermediate Meditators who have a foundation in meditation
Supported: Apple App Store and Google Play
Summary: Over 1,500 FREE guided audio meditations created by the Insight Timer community. Great for trying new meditations and keeping your practice exciting. The App is not great for just starting out. The audios are not professionally made but are still quality.
Insight Timer is the #1 free meditation app that is out on the market today. The App has a simple interface that allows you to select from 1,500+ different guided meditations (over 500+ hours of content). There is no other free app that comes close to this amount of available free content. The guided meditations are communally-rated so the ones you listen to will be the cream-of-the-crop.
Insight Timer has all types of meditations; it is not restricted to mindfulness meditation. For purposes of the busy professional I suggest starting with the in-app-categories of “Introduction to Meditation” and “Mindfulness”. Other topics include relaxing, deep sleep and exploring meditation techniques. The audios are user-generated so no two audios are the same – which can be good and bad. Some voices make me want to punch a cat while others are super enjoyable (its pot-luck).
One aspect I love about Insight Timer is that it logs your meditation activity and also displays who in the world meditated at the same time as you. When I meditate, there is typically a few hundred that are also meditating which helps me feel not alone and supported. You can friend other meditators and send messages within the app (great alternative to Tinder). Another feature I love is a simple timer with a meditation bell to use when you’re a little more advanced and want to go un-guided.
My recommendation for first-timers is to first check out 10% Happier and Headspace’s free content, then move over to trying out Insight Timer.
FINAL VERDICT- which is best?
It depends where you are on your meditation journey. Here are my recommendations for success in the best meditation apps:
Download both Headspace and 10% Happier. If you are an android user, you can only download Headspace (sorry brah). Start out by doing the first 10 free days of Headspace. Headspace is really easy and fun to start with. Once you’re done with Headspace’s free content, and you’re an iphone user, switch over to 10% Happier and complete their 7 free lessons.
Once you have completed all the free lessons, its time to make a decision on if and which paid app you want to continue your practice on. I find Headspace more easeful and fun to follow along with, while I find 10% Happier more thought-provoking and interesting. For me I chose 10% Happier because it allowed me access to world class teachers and focused on a deep understanding of the practice. However, many find Headspace and its intuitive design really engaging and helps keep their practice active (and that voice is delightful).
If you are dead set on not paying any money, complete all the free lessons on 10% Happier and Headspace to get a foundation understanding of meditation, then download Insight Timer. There are more than enough free content there to keep you active. But be warned! The key to deriving benefits from meditation (and there is a ton) is to practice daily. The paid apps are the reason I’m able to practice daily. If you’re able to buy two drinks at a bar each weekend, a better investment may be these apps.
My recommendation is to use 10% Happier as it will allow you the opportunity to meet and learn from the world’s best meditation teachers. Each lesson is practical and rich in profound content. I think Headspace is a little too focused on keeping it simple to encourage beginning meditators to continue their practice.
Also Insight Timer is a must for experienced meditators as it includes a nifty timer and a huge selection of free guided audios, covering a large variety of meditation disciplines. Its a great app for expanding your practice to other areas outside mindfulness.
All-in-all the goal here is learn about meditation and start practicing each day. The above best meditation apps have helped me innumerably and I am now much less stressed and focused because of them.
Please leave comments of any of your best meditation apps! Happy meditating!
Best Meditation Apps for Busy People