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Best Meditation Meditation apps have become one of the easiest and most accessible ways to maintain a mindfulness regimen. Whether you prefer guided meditation, deep breathing exercises or calming sleep stories, mindfulness meditation can be a huge added benefit to your daily wellness regimen.

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Research suggests that the benefits of meditation can include a reduction in stress levels, depression, anxiety and insomnia. And don’t forget the physical benefits: Meditation and deep breathing can also reduce blood pressure and improve your heart rate variability, a metric that can tell you how well you handle stress. In addition, many studies show sleep meditation can calm your mind and help you get a more quality night’s sleep.

For many people, finding the time or energy to commit to a regular practice is difficult, and though in-person visits to a meditation studio for meditation programs are a great option for some, for others they may not be a practical approach to consistent meditation. With a little help from good meditation apps, zen could be as little as three minutes away. Here are the best meditation apps of 2020 to improve your mindfulness practice and relax your mind.

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1.  FitMind

Cost: One-week free trial, $11.99 per month, $84.99 per year

Nicknamed “CrossFit for the Mind,” FitMind was developed by Liam McClintock after meditation helped him get off of medications and therapy for OCD and ADHD. McClintock believes that “mental fitness,” a world in which we care for and train our minds, is the next major health revolution — and it’d be a good thing if he was right.

FitMind helps you master meditation via a 30-day mental fitness challenge complete with charts and graphs so you can visualize your progress toward mindfulness. This mindful health app has daily challenges and other features typical of a meditation app, but what I really love about FitMind is that it offers point-blank scientific explanations about why the meditations work: If you’re a meditation skeptic, FitMind might challenge your beliefs (in a good way).

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2. Unplug Meditation

Cost: One-week free trial, $7.99 per month, $59.99 per year

Born after the immersive Unplug Meditation Studio in Los Angeles became a massive hit, the Unplug Meditation app offers more than 700 mindfulness and meditation videos that range from as short as one minute to nearly an hour. You can filter meditations by mood, outcome, length or teacher. The Unplug app has a unique dashboard on which you can view your total days, hours, minutes and seconds spent meditating, as well as set goals and write in a gratitude journal.

Unlike some guided meditation apps, all of the sessions on the Unplug app are filmed at the Los Angeles studio, so it really feels like you’re in an immersive class with an instructor. This app is great for people who need a lot of structure when it comes to meditation and enjoy visuals in addition to audio. If you prefer to meditate on your own, however, you can choose from Unplug’s ambient sounds, including nature sounds, and set a timer.

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      3. Meditation Studio with Muse

      Cost: $7.99 per month, $17.99 per quarter, $49.99 per year

      There’s meditation, and then there’s electroencephalogram (EEG) guided meditation. Muse is a high-tech headband that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and measures your brainwave activity, breathing rate and pulse. Its seven sensors collect data and translate it into easily comprehensible stats about your mental health.

      With the Muse headband and app, you can learn how your brain and body respond to particular meditation tracks, as well as how seemingly simple things — like your posture — affect the quality of your meditation sessions. Muse also analyzes your body metrics (pulse, breathing rate, and brainwave activity) and turns them into sounds that train your brain to focus and relax.

      Muse partnered with the Meditation Studio app to bring guided meditation sessions from expert meditation teachers, with activity-based meditations such as “falling asleep” and “morning intentions.” Meditation studio is also compatible with Alexa. You don’t need the wearable Muse headband to have a great experience with Meditation Studio (they can be used separately), but it certainly offers a unique element for those who are interested in getting the absolute most out of their daily meditation sessions.

  • 4. Apollo Neuro

    Cost: The app is free; Apollo wearable costs $349

    Apollo Neuro is different in that it isn’t intended solely as a meditation app, and you’re not meant to use Apollo while doing nothing. Instead, Apollo is a wearable experience that looks to offset symptoms of stress and anxiety and restore your body to equilibrium. Developed by physicians and neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh, this mindfulness-based stress reduction app works by sending gentle waves of vibration to your body through your sense of touch, quickly improving your heart rate variability and signaling safety.

    You wear Apollo on your wrist or ankle. From the app, choose the outcome you need at that moment — energy, focus, mindfulness, sleep, relaxation, socialness, or recovery — and set a timer for up to 30 minutes. Apollo will vibrate with frequencies that help your body achieve that outcome. You can choose to continue doing whatever you’re doing or take a moment to focus on the vibrations.

    5. Calm

    Cost: $14.99 per month, $69.99 per year, $399.99 lifetime subscription

    Calm app’s wide range of guided meditations is mainly designed to assist people in relaxing (or calming down) in comparison to some other meditation apps that are designed to inspire deep thought or creativity.

    Meditation length varies from 3- to 25-minute sessions. If you’re keen on developing a daily meditation practice, try Daily Calm, the app’s 10-minute program you can practice before the beginning or end of your day. Calm has a knack for creating interesting partnerships with celebrities — for example, the newly released “Train Your Mind” series focuses on mental fitness with LeBron James.

    Calm also offers breathing exercises, bedtime stories and soothing background tracks to help you get a good night’s sleep. The premium subscription includes all that and more, including Calm Body programs, monthly Calm Masterclasses and exclusive music. This is perhaps one of the best meditation apps for a newcomer looking to relax, reduce stress levels and get better sleep.

    6. Headspace

    Cost: Free trial, $12.99/month, $19.99/month (family plan), or $69.99 for an annual plan

    A “best guided meditation apps” list wouldn’t be complete without Headspace, the mindfulness app developed by sports scientist-turned-Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. Originally an events company, now Headspace offers guided meditations, animations, articles and videos to assist beginners and experts alike in their meditation practice and has become one of the best known and most popular meditation apps in the category.

    You can test out Headspace with the free Basics course, which offers 10 meditation sessions to teach you the foundations of meditation and get you in a mindful rhythm. You can also try a free meditation session from many of the app’s collections of guided meditations.

    Oh, and if you’re a runner, check out the guided runs with Andy Puddicombe on Nike Run Club — if your run is the only time to fit in your meditation, these guided tracks are a good way to do it.

    7. Wave 

    Cost: $9.99 per month or $99 per year; Wave hardware costs $199

    Another immersive meditation experience, Wave utilizes beats from music to enhance meditation. The patent-pending Wave Bolster, a memory foam cushion that supports your head and back, is infused with technology that allows you to feel the beat of a soundtrack through vibrations. It also includes a pair of over-ear headphones and connects via Bluetooth to the Wave app, which is a subscription-based experience designed to look and feel like a music app, rather than a meditation app.

    The Wave app features more than 80 music-driven meditation tracks, all designed with the intent for you to feel the meditation rather than just hear it. You can adjust the vibration intensity to suit your mood and sensitivity. This app and pillow combination is great for people who feel like meditation is a bit woo-woo and want something that doesn’t seem as spiritual.

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    8. Simple Habit

    Cost: $11.99 a month or $96 a year — currently free through the end of April 2020 for support during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Burnout is real — seriously, the World Health Organization designated burnout an official medical diagnosis in May 2019. The meditations on Simple Habit focus on daily stress relief, and the developers know you’re busy, so they make it as easy as taking five quick minutes for meditation time. In fact, the app even offers a special playlist just for burnout symptoms, with topics like “stay calm with a busy schedule” and “relieving morning anxiety.” There’s even a guided meditation program just for commuting.

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