In a world as hectic as the one we live in today, the ability to focus your mind and redirect your thoughts sounds like some sort of modern superpower. The ancient practice of meditation is becoming more and more popular, in part because it can pretty much do just that.
Meditation may conjure up eye-rolling stereotypes such as hippies sitting cross-legged to a soundtrack of gongs and deep breathing. However, it plays an important role in many religions and can be traced back thousands of years, with the earliest documented records that mentioned meditation being dated around 1500 BCE.
Regardless of whether you are religious or spiritually inclined, taking a moment to clear your thoughts is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body and soul. There are a number of benefits that come from meditation, like focusing on the present moment, managing stress and anxiety, improving your heart rate and controlling your breathing.
To celebrate World Meditation Day we’ve rounded up some of the best meditation and mindfulness apps (with a little bit of a leafie psychedelia twist as well), to help guide you to your best self.
Headspace provides guided meditation resources focussing mainly on mindfulness. A great app for beginners, it lets you build personalised plans to suit your mood and lifestyle whilst helping you apply mindfulness to your everyday activities.
Headspace has stated they are “committed to advancing the field of mindfulness meditation through clinically-validated research”.
“We are currently in progress on research studies with large national institutions that could be among the largest mindfulness meditation trials ever conducted. We are committed to ensuring Headspace can actually make an impact in our lives.”
If you’re interested in learning more about bringing some mindfulness to your meditation practice, Headspaces free 10 day trial lets you experience the app before purchasing.
Branded as the number one free meditation app, Insight Timer has 60,000+ guided meditations completely free of charge. Making it an app with more free content than any other worldwide.
Insight Timer features guided meditations and talks led by the world’s top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers, giving you a wide range of expertise.
The app also features music tracks and ambient sounds to help calm the mind and aid with sleep, along with discussion groups and community features for the more sociable meditators, and if you struggle with the discipline of meditation there are short meditations when on the go, that help you to build a simple daily habit.
With 100+ new free guided meditations added daily, Insight Timer splits their profit with teachers and re-invests in top-quality content ensuring the app has something that caters to everyone’s mindfulness needs.
Balance is a guided meditation app that takes a personalised approach, aiming to bridge the gap between working with a live mediation coach and the one size fits all approach of apps. First-time users are asked some simple questions to understand what they want to get from meditation, and during use more questions are asked to understand and personalise the experience of the user, customising content along the way.
Balance is a great app for those new to meditation, as it aims to teach and enlighten the user along the process. What’s more, you can get a full year free when you first sign up. There are a number of different courses and sessions meaning there is something for everyone.
We previously reviewed Lumenate, an app that uses the light on a mobile phone to stimulate brain activity and put the user in a state somewhere between meditation and hallucination. Don’t be fooled by the novelty effect of the semi-psychedelic experience, Lumenate is a great tool for personal development, mindfulness and introspection.
Lumenate uses stroboscopic light patterns to guide users into a unique, deeply meditative, semi-psychedelic brain state, and can be especially useful for people who have previously struggled to ‘get into’ meditation. The team behind the app found that EGG scans produced much of the same neural activity observed in experienced meditators during their practice.
Trip is an app offering from Field Trip, a Toronto based company offering guided psychedelic-assisted therapy using drugs such as MDMA, ketamine, and psilocybin.
Developed by doctors, therapists and guides, the app is designed to help users navigate their journey, whether with the assistance of substances or not, mimicking the work of a guide. The app encourages mindful breathing and provides prompts at the start of a journey to understand the emotions and intentions of the tripper. The ‘trip’ is accompanied by calming music and visuals, guidance for difficult situations, and the opportunity to record thoughts through voice notes.
At the end of the trip, users are encouraged to reflect on their feelings and findings and to record how they can take their insights forward, making it a powerful tool for those looking to get more from a psychedelic experience than just the giggles.