I’ve been using meditation as a tool to treat and handle my anxiety and depression for awhile now. I wish I were more regular with it, but my practice is kind of sporadic. I’ve been taking a mindfulness class as my local yoga studio once a month. It’s fantastic. I’m learning a lot, trying new kinds of meditation, and being encouraged to continue and expand my meditation practice.
My favorite way to meditate on my own is through guided (as opposed to simply timed) meditations that are available though several great apps. Some are free, some might cost a few dollars (honestly, I can’t remember). Here are my favorites:
- Meditation Studio – This app by Gaiam has an elegant design and lots of great guided meditations for $2.99 in the Apple app store (I got it as a free download from Starbucks a few weeks ago). Meditations are organized nicely to help you find one that fits your needs in the moment, and all of the teachers I’ve listened to have been excellent.
- Headspace – This app was recommended by the teacher of my mindfulness class, and I already had it on my iPhone. It includes a 10-day free trial, but after the ten days, a membership is $12.99/month (or less per month if you get a yearly subscription), and I just can’t bring myself to pay for it when there are great free apps available. It might be worth checking out though if you like the free content.
- Insight Timer – I love this world-wide app. The design isn’t very sophisticated, and it’s a little wonky to search through the multitudes of guided meditations to find the ones right for you, but there’s something awesome about seeing a community of meditators that spans the globe. There are lots of guided meditations available to sort through, a wide variety of “teachers,” and lots of community interaction among the users.
- 10% Happier – I have recommended this app to my beginner friends, and I continue to use it myself. It is led by news anchor Dan Harris, who learned the benefits of meditation after his own breakdown, and it is aimed at “skeptics” who don’t think they can or should meditate. Explanatory video interviews with the meditation leader Joseph Goldstein are used to introduce each meditation, and a live “coach” is available to chat and help as you begin your meditation practice. This might be my favorite app to use and pass on to friends.
Please comment if you have other meditation tools that help you begin and maintain and grow in your meditation practice.