Technology has helped us in many ways. It’s also made it harder than ever to disconnect from the always-connected world we live in today. With our incredibly busy lives, finding time to step away can seem like a difficult task. Especially if you work a regular 9 to 5, getting that time, however little it is, to relax during the workday, is seemingly out of the question. While we can use our smartphones or tablets to browse the endless posts on Facebook or play Candy Crush to pass away the time, we can also use them to get back to zen. There are many relaxation apps out there, and here are the top five you should look into installing right now:
Calm is from the creators of Calm.com, an incredibly simple website that offers a number of soothing sounds, and set times for how long you want to take a break. The app is free on both iOS and Android, and when you fire it up, you’re presented with a “scene.” Each scene has a different sound, and to switch to a different scene, you simply swipe left or right. Once you’re ready to go, tap “Meditate,” then “Timer.” There, you can select as little as one minute, all the way up to a custom number you set. For those who want more guidance on such subjects as better focus or positivity, and/or want to learn meditation, Calm offers an affordable monthly or yearly plan.
Buddhify is basically the Beats Music for mindfulness. What makes it unique compared to other relaxation apps is the ability to select what it is you’re currently doing, and it offers guided audio tracks specifically for that, over 80 at the time of writing this. Each audio track lasts anywhere from five to 30 minutes, and you can always go with the “Just meditation” options or have it offer up suggestions. The app also has a “Solo” option, which similar to Calm, is a timer and sounds without the guided talks. Buddhify is available on Android for $2.99, and iOS for $4.99.
The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App is as simple as it gets, and offers up several different categories: Guided meditation, silent meditation with bells, mindfulness notices, and personalized meditation. Guided meditation is fairly straightforward, helping you get into a more relaxed state lasting anywhere from three minutes to 30 minutes. Silent meditation with bells is similar to Calm and Buddhify where you can set a specific time, and not have a guided session. Mindfulness notices are reminders you can set up to be notified at a certain time everyday to take time to relax, and personalized meditation lets you tweak your session to be as long as you need it to be. To keep an eye on your progress, a statistics page will let you know which meditations you most frequent, the total number of times you’ve meditated, and the overall time spent based on the week, month, or year. The Mindfulness App will run you $1.99 on Android, and $2.99 on iOS.
With Relax Melodies, it’s all in the name. One of the most popular sleep aid apps, the app has a wide range of sounds that extend beyond helping you get and stay asleep. There are nearly 100 clips to choose from, ranging anywhere from sounds of the ocean or a waterfall to a cat purring. One particularly interesting feature is the ability to create custom mixes of sounds. You can choose from a number of different instruments and audio tracks, giving you “thousands” of possibilities. If you have any favorite audio tracks, you can save them to listen to later. Like many free apps nowadays, you can get access to more features by upgrading. Relax Melodies is only available on Android, and comes with 48 different sounds. However, if you want access to the full arsenal and other goodies like no banner ads, that’ll run you $2.99.
Mindfulness Daily is only available on iOS, costing $2.99, but it offers up some good features, which are:
- Simple Start program: 21 days of free mindfulness audio lessons. Themes include mindful breathing, body awareness, kindness, and present moment awareness.
- Pause button: take a 15-second mindful Pause whenever you’re stressed or catch yourself on autopilot.
- Reminders: set personal reminders to nudge yourself to be mindful throughout the day.
- Practice library: select from a library of guided and self-guided practices. Extended practices available for purchase.
- Lifelog: notice patterns and gain insights from your Lifelog as your commitment to mindfulness takes root.
- Remix: after you’ve completed 21 days of mindfulness, use the unlocked Remix feature to continue practicing mindfulness your way.
It’s also one of the most beautifully designed relaxation apps on this list. However, it doesn’t offer a timer function without the guided audio portion.