You spend too much time at the office. You’re trying to pay off that credit card debt. What the hell is an ECU, why is the one in your car dying, and why the hell is it going to cost a thousand bucks to fix?
We get it, man. Life is stressful. But rather than let it consume you, you need to learn how to take a minute and chill. It’ll be good for you, it’ll be good for your work, and it’ll be good for everyone around you. Trust us.
Buddhify is a perfect app if you’re constantly stressed throughout your day. It’s garnering a lot of attention because it’s super unique in that it basically allows you to find time to meditate no matter what you’re doing or where you are—walking in the park, eating, hanging out at karaoke night, going to sleep, whatever. It’s also not very strict, and makes meditation accessible to everyone from complete and utter novices to full-on bodhisattvas. iOS Android
It’s tough to relax and sometimes you don’t realize you need to until it is too late. That’s why Headspace is such an excellent app. First, it’s super well thought out. The free version offers a 10-session pack of 10-minute spoken word plans (which are great), but it also offers a personalized stats page to help you stay on top of your progress and set reminders, and it even features a buddy system so you can meditate with friends. The subscription following the 10-session pack is a bit steep at $12.99/month (or $94.99/year), but if it works for you, it’ll prove itself invaluable. iOS Android
Stop, Breathe & Think
Stop, Breathe & Think is an app dedicated to highlighting the emotional connection between relaxation, meditation, and happiness. The 15 free videos included in the initial download are a great introduction to meditation and what it’s all about, but the paid subscription is really where it’s at. Users get to pick meditation exercises based on their current mood and feelings, and it even offers a legitimate check-in screen that’ll log your emotional state and suggest relevant exercises based on your given response. Oh, and the app is just downright beautiful. A+++ 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
Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds, White Noise, and Fan
Science has shown time and time again that music can completely change one’s perspective on the world. That’s where Relax Melodies comes in. It’s an app that essentially allows users to create (and share) different sounds and songs that promote good rest and healthy sleep. You can definitely listen to stuff created by others, but the real fun comes in making your own actual sleep melody to help you relax. The app itself is fascinatingly self-aware, offering brainwave frequencies to help you reach “heightened” states of sleep. So yeah. iOS Android
For whatever reason, a lot of the well-regarded meditation and relaxation apps are premium services that cost money—annually, monthly, whatever. Insight Timer is super popular because aside from its awesome timer (which alone offers peaceful bells and other ambient background sounds, as well as interval bells, personalized presets, and even helpful statistics) it features over 5,000 free guided meditations, 1,200 free meditation music tracks, over 30 meditation playlists, and even feedback from teachers. Though there are some in-app purchases you can make to enhance the experience, this app is great without spending a dime. iOS Android
Let’s Create! Pottery HD Lite
Listen, fellas… We know what you’re thinking: “Pottery sculpting? Really?” As a matter of fact, yes. Distracting activities like pottery (or painting, glass blowing, knife making, motorcycle building, etc.) are scientifically proven to reduce stress levels. There’s a certain zen associated with learning and practicing a new skill, and it’s always good to force yourself to be distracted every once in a well. Let’s Create! Pottery HD Lite is a free app (with in-app purchases) that allows users to create custom pottery. You can shape them, paint them, and design them any way you’d like, with thousands of possibilities on the table. To a hectic and busy day, sitting down for 10 minutes and designing a flower pot is a welcome reprieve—trust us. iOS Android
Sleep Pillow Sounds: Rain, Ocean, Relaxing Nature
This one is exactly what it sounds like: An app dedicated solely to proving you with some of the best nature sounds out there in order to help you focus, meditate, and relax. The ambient sounds are wonderful and high quality, and are specifically designed to stimulate (or destimulate, really) relaxation, sleepiness, etc. You can choose between a bunch of different sounds that include light rain, inside fireplace, distant bird, and a beach+white noise mix, but also more interesting (??) sounds like “mother’s heartbeat” and “luxury car ride.”. Either way, it sounds like music to our sleepy ears. iOS Android