Finding quiet moments of calm in today’s world feels like an impossible task. Especially as the world returns to “normalcy,” it’s crucial we carve out some time for ourselves. Whether it’s a walk in the neighborhood, a few minutes of journaling, or take a few moments to meditate.
We know there’s an app for literally everything these days (and we usually know the coolest ones) so we decided to shop around and see what we could find. As it turns out, there are dozens of apps geared towards helping you meditate, sleep better, and curb your anxiety. Some are completely free while many others require a subscription to unlock everything they have to offer.
We combed through the app stores to find 12 of the best meditation and anxiety apps that will absolutely help you chill the fuck out.
The Best Free Meditation Apps:
Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds
Relax Melodies is one of those hidden gem apps that I still enjoy sharing with folks. “Oh, you’re not sleeping well? I have the app for you.” Relax Melodies is a free-to-download app with a library of guided meditations and bedtime stories, all geared to help you center yourself and wind your body down. But, the sleep app’s best feature is “Composer,” which allows users to create a soundscape lullaby to drift off to sleep. The app has a variety of sounds to draw on ranging from fire crackles to rain falling on a rooftop to wind rushing through trees. Once you’ve crafted your relaxing symphony, you can hit “smart mix” and the app will raise and lower the volumes as you move through your sleep cycles. Forget purchasing a white noise machine, this app is all you’ll need. If you want to access the full scope of this app, there’s an upgraded version for $30/year. But, the standard free version is more than enough to help you on your journey to improved sleep. iOS Android
Insight Timer is easily one of the most comprehensive free meditation apps we’ve come across. There are thousands of guided meditations, music and ambient sounds, and discussion groups available without paying a cent. While the individualized guided meditations were impressive, we appreciated that Insight Timer offered the option for group meditation. So, if you want to gather your friends for a meditation session, you can! Plus, you can access brand new daily meditations if you need guidance or make use of the app’s customizable timer function for your own meditation session. There are in-app purchases for the upgraded version of the app, but if you’re looking to dip your toe into meditation practices, the free version offers plenty. iOS Android
For those looking for just a small dose of mindfulness in their day, may we recommend Chill. This meditation app is a catalog of daily quotes and affirmations designed to help you stay calm and centered. Chill allows you to customize your schedule so you can start your day with a push notification featuring an inspirational quote. Then, you can set “mindfulness reminders” throughout the day. Need a boost to get through the afternoon slump? This could help! We love using Chill because it’s relatively unobtrusive — just a gentle boost of positivity every morning. iOS Android
Breethe positions itself as a goal-oriented wellness app, rather than simply an activity to be checked off your to-do list. When you first open the app, Breethe will ask you what you want to improve in your life with options like falling asleep, losing weight, and dealing with anxiety. With this information, the app will cater guided tracks to your goals for daily meditation and encouragement. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, Breethe might recommend an energizing morning meditation before working out. The basic app is free and there’s plenty to get you started on your mindfulness journey. But to truly get the most out of Breethe, it’s likely worth upgrading to one of their paid plans: $13/month, $90/year, or $180/lifetime. iOS Android
While most of the other wellness and meditation apps on this list cover a broad range of topics related to meditation and mindfulness, Rootd is explicitly designed to help folks with anxiety. From guided lessons to breathing exercises to an integrated journal, the app can help you build the skills to manage stress and anxiety. Moreover, if you are actively having a panic attack, Rootd can guide you through it in the moment. (Though, the app also acknowledges that a trained medical professional may be required in severe circumstances.) Rootd advertises a paid plan but the free version offers more than enough to help anyone along the anxiety spectrum with visualization tips, sleep aids, and more. iOS Android
What if your daily journal could talk to you? That’s effectively the pitch behind Reflectly, a virtual diary that incorporates artificial intelligence to track your mental health journal. That sounds like a bunch of Silicon Valley mumbo jumbo but, in practice, the app is pretty simple. With semi-regular mood check-ins, daily journaling, motivational quotes, and more, Reflectly is able to help you track your emotional and mental health journey. For instance, the app can show you when and why you self-identified as happy or motivated so you can create positive habits. Or, you can identify when you were stressed or upset and find solutions when those feelings come up again. The app is free to use but the paid version opens up a suite of additional features. iOS Android
The Best Paid Meditation Apps:
Headspace is arguably the app that kicked off the rush to create helpful, sleek meditation and wellness apps. And, it works. Headspace, over the course over several days, guides you through the basics of meditation and stress relief before starting you on your journey to mindfulness. The app is free to download and includes a 10-session pack of 10-minute spoken word plans, which makes for an excellent first exposure to meditation. The subscription following the 10-session pack is a bit steep at $12.99/month (or $69.99/year), but is well worth the cost for those looking to ease anxiety and meditate more regularly. iOS Android
When you imagine yourself meditating, it’s likely in a peaceful, quiet environment. But, in our busy lives, it’s hard to find those moments. Buddhify encourages you and teaches you to meditate during the chaos of the day. Whether you’re commuting, taking a quick lunch break, or even out for the evening. Buddhify is a great tool for novices looking to learn more or experienced meditators. Download the app for $5 on iOS or $4 in the Google Play store.
Calm is the latest buzz-worthy wellness app to hit the scene. Like most of the apps listed here, Calm features a robust library of guided meditations aimed at helping you live a calmer life. But, rather than some soft-spoken guru guiding you to sleep, what if it were a celebrity? Calm enlisted a series of actors and musicians like Matthew McConaughey, Katy Perry, Harry Styles, and more to read bedtime stories or play mindful music. It certainly separates Calm from the rest of the pack and it helps that Calm is extremely well produced. The app is free to download but nearly everything is locked behind a paywall so a premium plan is necessary to get the most out of the app. iOS Android
Monument Valley wasn’t explicitly designed to be a meditation app. But, the relaxing soundtrack, beautiful design, and chill vibe make this simple puzzle game one of the most calming apps you can download. Play through several stunningly illustrated levels guiding a silent princess through M.C. Escher-esque architecture. The 2014 indie mobile game even spawned a sequel and still remains one of the most beautiful games you can download on an iPhone. iOS Android
MyLife Meditation: Mindfulness
This is an app dedicated to highlighting the emotional connection between relaxation, meditation, and happiness. The app is free to download and offers some helpful tools to begin with, but the paid subscription is really where it’s at. Users get to pick meditation exercises tailored to their current mood and feelings. And it features a check-in screen that’ll log your emotional state and suggest relevant exercises based on your given response. Plus, the app is beautiful. iOS Android
The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App is about as straightforward as it gets, and frankly, we’re real big fans of the approach. It offers a free five-day course to serve as an introduction to the concept of mindfulness, including guided and silent sessions from 3 to 30 minutes long, and then also offers users an activity tracker to precisely track progress or developments. It’s an excellent way to force yourself to slow down, take a step back, and breathe for a bit. Oh, and it also features a paid library chock-full of premium meditation sections and courses, if you’re interested in continuing on. iOS Android