Feeling harried? Overwhelmed? Too many responsibilities?
One tool to help reduce stress is to download a meditation app. and even more importantly (lol), …BEGIN to practice!
     Stress management helps you create your health on every level. You feel better, more at ease.  It helps you to focus, feel more balanced, less anxious, and tends to  increase positive emotions both in the short term and over time.  Studies show how a regular meditation process decreases your risk of many diseases, and can significantly strengthen your immunity.
     There are many types of meditations (explanations of these in a future blog post) Many of the current apps. include several of the different types.
     Below, I give you a heads up on which apps I think are really great (all opinions are strictly my own), include some of the main features of each, and explain a little bit about how they differ from one another.
Top Meditation Apps to Try
1.  Calm:
My current favorite!  This is probably because it includes great tools for sleep hygiene. The app includes sleep guidance, sleep stories, and a large variety of ambient sounds/music.  The sleep story about the lavender fields in Provence, did the trick to put me right to sleep. I like that “Calm” is a bit less structured than Headspace which is often rated first for meditation apps (and is also very good!) Calm features guided meditations from 3 to 25 minutes.   Calm does not teach mindfulness, so its great if you like mostly silent meditations.  Calm also features meditations for children. Cost:  Some of the features and a basic course are free or you can get a subscription for about $9.99 a month or $60.00 a year.  

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

2.  Headspace:

This is a great app for beginners.  Headspace was the first meditation app that I tried. Many of the meditations are based on evidenced based scientific research. The app. was founded (and is narrated) by former Buddhist Monk, Andy Puddicombe  (Google him for more information).  Some are short in length and can be done anytime when you need to quickly reduce stress and establish a sense of calm. Headspace is highly rated. There is a free introductory course and several others that you can purchase.  The free trial includes 10 exercises geared toward beginners that can help you learn more about meditation as well as applying it to your life. One great feature of Headspace is that you can download the meditations and use them offline.  Headspace also includes the following features:  mood tracking, an ability to check your progress, daily reminders,a buddy system so you can connect with others which helps with accountability, meditations for kids, and meditations on specific topics like managing anxiety and mindful eating.  Cost:  You can take the introductory 10 session course for free.  A monthly subscription is $12.99, or $95.99 per year.  There is a lifetime membership option which is $399.00.