If you’re new to meditation, it can be hard to find your way in. Just breathe. There are countless apps that can help you take your first step, and we’ve got a list of the best free meditation apps for 2021.
But before we dive in, you may be asking this: Why meditate?
Meditation was once a mysterious art practiced only by an elite few. But today, more people than ever are reaping the benefits of the practice, which enables us to relax our minds, find stasis in our bodies, relieve the stress and anxiety that are all too prevalent in the modern age. While it’s sometimes hard to go it without some guidance, these apps offer programs that guide you through your first experience and beyond. Before you know it, a few minutes of meditation will be part of your daily routine.
Here are the top, free meditation apps to help in your search for peace in 2021.
Calm – Most Versatile
The Calm app helps you find balance through a variety of tools, like guided meditation, stretching tutorials and breathing exercises. And if you lay endlessly awake at night, Calm’s Sleep Stories function can help. Its calming bedtime stories are performed by the recognizable vocal tones of Matthew McConaughey and Stephen Fry, among other famous voices.
“I love this app,” wrote one grateful user. “Me and my five-year-old go to sleep relaxed and happy listening to Queen of Calm and The Secret Lagoon every night. It’s magic.”
Headspace – Best for Sleep
As its name suggests, this app is designed for those who can’t seem to turn off their thoughts at night. Headspace will help you find peaceful sleep through breathing exercises, nighttime meditations, soothing natural sounds and stories. But Headspace also provides meditations for the daytime, making it a perfect, versatile app for those with a cluttered mind. Plus, it generates a personal plan just for you based on a brief survey that takes into account your habits and individual concerns.
One Headspace user wrote it helped form “a connection to myself, and a disconnection from negative thoughts, feelings, and sensations.”
Insight Timer – Most Extensive Library
Insight Timer has the largest library of guided meditations of any app in the field. And, on a daily basis, ten new meditations are added to their existing collection of 45,000. But don’t feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Insight Timer catalog. You can easily filter meditations by mood or area of need, like stress, sleep or self-esteem. Insight Timer also provides music and ambient sounds to help calm you even as you multi-task. Best of all, Insight Timer has a community feature that lets you contribute to discussion groups and reach out to other novice meditators.
Unplug – Best for Habit-Forming
Unplug makes it easy for you to fit just five minutes of meditation into a busy schedule. It’s perfect for those moments throughout the day when you need to refocus or just take a breath to clear your mind. You can also stream live or watch on-demand meditation classes to learn new skills that can be implemented in your daily life. And if you’re serious about adopting new habits, try their 30-day challenge, which will set you up with a new daily meditation for a full month.
Buddhify – Best for Busy Lifestyle
Buddhify is ideal if you really want to explore the vast world of meditation. That’s because it offers more than 200 guided meditations, aimed at reducing anxiety and stress, supporting sleep and helping to manage emotions. Best of all, it allows you to search for mindfulness exercises that you can practice throughout the day, regardless of the activity you may be doing. They have meditations for travel, for work, for waking, eating, and even surfing the web. Ranging from 4 to 30 minutes in length, these exercises are accessible even for the busiest among us.
“The genius of Buddhify is that you can choose how much time you have, even if it’s only a few minutes,” writes one happy meditator.
Buddhify is so great, it made it on our list of free apps despite its modest price of $5.