Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults every year but only 36% of those suffering receive treatment. I am one of those sufferers and I do receive treatment but there are some days that I just can’t anymore. It’s usually the smallest thing that break this mama’s back but my kids, and sometimes spouse, get the brunt of my anger and annoyances. I have really tried to focus the past few years on getting my mental health in check and finding ways to battle those moments when I want to yell but need to be kind.
I spend a lot of time in my office and my car, and I wondered if there was an app I could use to help me de-stress away from home. Little did I know that there are a LOT of apps out there to help teach mindfulness and meditation! I want to share this wealth of knowledge with others who could use a FREE app to help calm yourself in some of your most trying times. Here are 5 apps that I have personally used to help when I need to calm down.
Meditation & Mindfulness Apps
This app is what got me started on my meditation journey. I’m such a non-techy person that I hadn’t even thought of these things being at my fingertips. I listen to a podcast (Shout out Who? Weekly!) and they advertise for Calm. I tried their free trial and loved it. They offer sleep stories, meditations and just music/sounds. Their app is free and while you are still able to view/listen to a lot of the content there is so much more available if you unlock their premium version. There is an entire kids section but that is all under premium, so if you’re looking for a family app you would need to be willing to pay.
Breethe is a lot like Calm in that they have the options of different categories and you can listen to them at your convenience. When you’re looking through their options you have about 1 free session in each grouping so as long as you don’t mind rotating what you listen to you could easily not opt in to Premium and still get a good experience.
Headspace falls into the Breethe and Calm category of having multiple options to choose from to decide how you want to relax and meditate. Before I chose the premium version I did enjoy the quick little snippets I could do at work when something was hitting me wrong. I could shut my door for 5 minutes and get back in a better mindset. When I unlocked the full version though there was so much more available. Outside of sleep, it offers an explore option and under those has so many categories that it helps you know where to begin. They also offer a kids category and has distinctions for different ages, but it also includes a distinction for parenting and activities to do meditation together.
This app was very straightforward. It is strictly for meditation through breathing. It is a guided practice of breathing through your diaphragm. You can set the length of your breaths, the scenery you can watch while you do it and the sounds you hear. It can also sync to your Apple watch. If you just need a reminder to take a few minutes to breathe and don’t need many frills this would be the one for you.
Smiling Mind is completely free and also boasts a website. The thing I liked best about this app is that not only does it offer short bursts of meditation but it also has a section for kids from 3-18 that includes meditation for sleep, study and sports.
As a bonus recommendation, if you don’t want to download another app to your phone but already have Apple Music there are a ton of different options to download. My favorite is Jason Stephenson. His voice is so soothing and can put me to sleep in minutes.
*The 3 that have a premium subscription service all offer a free trial to see if that is something that you would be interested in and/or use on a basis that would be helpful to have the premium stuff. Outside of the premium version they all offer meditation and sleep stories for free.