Cases of anxiety and stress-related illness are at an all-time high. A study conducted by Regus Group found that nearly 60% of the workers suffer from workplace stress, and the numbers are consistent across all major global economies. Moreover, it’s not just the working professionals who bear the brunt of heightened stress levels. Anxiety and hypertension have permeated all levels and age-groups of the 21st-century society. Severe stress and hypertension affect personal sanity, relationships, and interfere with sleep patterns, which in turn has negative health implications.
So, how do we solve this health crisis that is staring us in the face? Well, according to physicians and health care experts, mindful meditation apps and guided relaxation sessions are the answer. Research and conclusive data suggest that meditation can reduce stress and anxiety levels while improving sleep quality. The benefits of regular meditation and deep breathing exercises include decreased blood pressure, enhanced heart rate variability (a measure of how effectively your body can handle accumulated stress) and reduced symptoms of depression and insomnia.
However, it is easier said than done. With the busy routines and schedules, it is difficult to find proper time to meditate during the day. Mindful meditation apps can provide your daily zen in as little as 2-3 minutes, before or after work. Here are a few tried and tested apps that have proven beneficial to users across the globe:
Calm provides you the much needed daily dose of relaxation before or after work. The sessions range from 3 minutes to 25 minutes long. If you are looking for a daily meditation routine, you might want to check out the 10 minutes/day program on the app called Daily Calm. Apart from guided meditation, calm also provides deep-breathing sessions, sleep-inducing stories, and background music. There is a premium subscription which includes access to a monthly masterclass, body programs, and an exclusive range of soothing tracks.
Price: Free. There are options for in-app purchases, and the annual subscription is worth USD 60. Available on Google Play and iTunes.
Developed by Andy Puddicombe, Headspace started as event organizers but now provide the best library for guided meditation complete with animated videos and articles. The content library is meant to encourage beginners and assist experts in finding their zen. The app offers a basic course which is essentially a collection of 10 meditation sessions which cover the foundations and get you up to the mark. You can also check out any of the free collections available on the app.
Price: Headspace offers a free trial. The monthly charges are USD 12.99 and yearly charges clock in at USD 95. The lifetime subscription is worth USD 400. Available on Google Play and iTunes.
Insight Timer offers free as well as paid membership. If you are a beginner, you can check out the free version which comes with close to 15,000 guided meditations sessions created by thousands of experts and trainers. The free subscription also provides over 700 soothing tracks to help you meditate better. Insight Timer allows you to customize meditation sessions as per the user’s needs. The paid subscription worth USD 5 provides extra features like premium sessions and offline downloads.
Price: Free. Insight Timer offers in-app purchases worth USD 5 for each course. Available on Google Play and iTunes.
The Breathing App
Created by Eddie Stern and Deepak Chopra, The Breathing App as the name suggests prioritizes breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises have proven to improve lung function, decrease stress, reduce blood pressure, and promote overall emotional wellbeing. This app is perfect for beginners who want to focus on mindful meditation and don’t want to venture too far. The app enables you to change the session duration and provides the option to adjust breathing intervals.
Price: Free. Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Stop, Breathe & Think
This app focuses on promoting the emotional wellbeing of teens and young adults, aka the below-25 age group. Apart from meditation courses, the app provides activities which allow the users to engage with their inner selves and explore their feelings. It is particularly helpful in dealing with complex issues like depression. The premium subscription offers extra meditation courses, soothing track, and interactive self-help sessions.
Price: A free version is available. The premium subscription is worth USD 9.99/month. Can be downloaded on iTunes and Google Play.
Bonus: Meditation group on Microsoft Kaizala.
While all of the apps mentioned above provide guided meditation sessions and breathing exercises, the meditation group on Kaizala offers a platform to communicate with people practicing meditation. The group is very active and is growing rapidly. The members discuss various types of meditation they practice and share their daily routines, which have proved useful. You can join the group to pick up pro tips and share your story to get valuable feedback.