Meditation has become extremely popular over the past few years. As more and more data has come to light, it has become clear that meditating has deep and far-reaching effects on mental well being. Recent studies have shown that long meditation sessions (over 30 minutes consistently) can build gray matter in the brain. This improves things like cognitive function, restful sleep, and general stress levels.
What is often overlooked though, is most people are extremely busy. Meditating is no easy ask. In fact, when done correctly, it is actually quite painful and difficult.
Most Americans struggle to sit and watch a 30 minute show without checking their phone. Sitting in silence, murmuring “ooohm…ooohm…ooohm…” for a full half hour can seem down right impossible. Not to mention that the result of meditation is that it will often dredge up painful or embarrassing memories. Overtime this is how meditation leads to elevated mood and happiness as you are able to confront these memories and overcome them. However in the short term, the pain can feel quite acute.
While some leading experts recommend brute forcing through these problems, and learning to meditate without the use of an app, we didn’t find that to be realistic or broadly helpful. The past few years have seen the birth of a number of new apps that have been refined and improved over time.
So which app is best to learn how to meditate? Let’s take a closer look.
What should I look for in a mediation app?
Meditation apps are difficult to totally screw up. Even just a simple timer and nice sounding gong can be useful for tracking progress. If you’re serious about learning to meditate and improving your life, a good app can be a God send.
We tested a few different apps, and found some to be fairly bare bones, and not all that useful. Some were better, but lacked any particular structure or guidance.
The best we used, by far, was an app called Calm.
How does the Calm meditation app work?
Calm has been around for almost 10 years, and it was one of the earliest meditation apps on the market. It is a really cool, integrated community of people trying to learn meditation, and overall live happier, healthier lives.
Their main feature is a daily 10-minute meditation program known as the “Daily Calm”. It is, in our opinion, the ideal way to ease into learning meditation. While some people may be able to simply dive in and quiet their mind for an hour at a time, most of us need a better, more structured introduction.
They also have hundreds of “sleep stories” to help you fall asleep, and optimized nature sounds and other calming lessons and music. Calm provides access to world-class meditation experts for structured courses to help you learn about new meditation concepts over time.
How much does Calm cost?
Calm offers a $0 seven day introductory trial so you can see if you like it before you buy. After that, it’s $70 for the year, which works out to around $6 a month.
They also take care to remind you two days before the expiration of your trial, so you won’t be billed unfairly. We loved Calm, and after just a few days we were able to feel the difference in calmness and overall mental health.
If you’ve been searching for the right meditation app to get you started, Calm is the way to go.