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  • Serenity Now: The Best Mindfulness and Relaxation Apps

    In our fast-paced and chaotic world, chances are that you often feel stressed out. One of the most effective ways to feel better is to practice mindfulness. This means to pay attention in the present moment. To acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. Most importantly, without judging yourself or trying to change yourself. Without seeking the temporary (but false) comfort of food, drugs, alcohol, or any addictive behavior. Deep breathing can help you to be mindful and relaxed. You can do it on your own, or use guided meditations. There are lots of apps out there. Here are the best ones.


    Like most of the apps out there, there are free and premium options. While other apps may have more free meditations, this one has high quality choices. Check out Mindful Walk, Lion Mind, & Relax, Ground and Clear. You get progress stickers, weekly settledness graphs, and a feed with reminders and helpful hints. With premium you get tons of great content, including meditations for Kids, Teens, College, Yoga, and Acupressure.


    This popular app offers a wonderful introduction to meditating, with a 10 day free “class.” There are colorful and fun animations that explain the theory; and the overall presentation is probably the most visually appealing. But to get the majority of the content, you’ll have to pay. Headspace offers new packs on a regular basis, including versions for kids, athletes, and cancer patients. If you enjoy British accents, this may be the app for you!


    If you don’t want to pay for the premium version, Insight Timer has “the largest library of free guided meditations on the planet.” It’s also interesting to see the first names and locations of other people around the world who are meditating at the same time as you. There are music-only versions too. Some interesting selections include Annoying Person Meditation, The Twilight Zone, and It’s Not Me, It’s You. Unlike most of the other apps, there are so many different teachers/voices, so the quality of each particular selection is a crapshoot.


    You can try Calm for free for only 7 days. It’s a great introduction for beginners, with 7 sessions of 10 minutes each. You will focus on a theme, such as better sleep or developing gratitude. If you pay, you can get over 100 guided meditations. Calm is a great option for beginners and children. The teachers/voices are very soothing and tranquil.


    This app syncs with the Health app on the iPhone. You can set up morning, afternoon, and evening reminders. There are just a few free meditations; you’ll have to pay to get more content. But choose this if you’re just starting out, and don’t want to commit to a long meditation. Even 3 minutes is better than nothing!