Best apps for starting a meditation habit

Meditation is not just something that flower children do. You can do it, too, and you don't have to go to a yoga studio or spend a weekend at an ashram to get started. All you have to do is download an app to your smartphone.

Meditation offers plenty of benefits. A consistent meditation practice can help reduce stress, improve concentration, and encourage a healthy lifestyle by virtue of requiring routine. It's also the practice of self-awareness, which can admittedly be a tad overwhelming for those who may have quite a bit they're contending with internally. As a person with an inconsistent meditation practice, I can say that when I have stuck to the program, I've never felt better.

If you're hoping to get started with a meditation practice of you own, here are several apps worth trying out.

Insight Timer

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Insight Timer is one of the more worthy meditation apps that appeals to both newcomers and season meditators. If you're new, you can select from one of 3,500 different guided meditations led by well-known meditation teachers, and if you're already a pro, you can set a timer and choose from the library of ambient background sounds. There are also helpful interface elements, like the ability to bookmark your favorite guided meditations for later use, and there's a social networking aspect so that you can see who else is meditating alongside you.

Insight Timer does have a few drawbacks. It's free, but you'll have to fork over some cash for different bell sounds. You'll also have to maintain a separate login to keep your data synced. At the very least, that data can be easily backed up and carried over to other devices.

Download Insight Timer (Free, IAP)

Stop, Breathe, and Think

Stop, Breathe, and Think has been gaining quite a bit of traction since its debut in the Play Store. Whereas most apps require you to sort of know what kind of meditation you're into, this app asks you about how you're feeling before offering up the appropriate program for the day. Stop, Breathe, and Think also employs a sticker system for accolades, in case you need that extra push to make it to your mat each day, as well as the ability to share your progress with friends.

Be forewarned that Stop, Breathe, and Think requires quite a bit of commitment, including logging in daily to maintain your streak and actually paying to unlock longer meditation sessions.

Download Stop, Breathe, and Think (Free, IAP)


Whether you're already seasoned at meditations, or merely a bashful beginner, Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps precisely because it's so effective. One major catch, however, is that you'll have to pay monthly for full access to the app, which includes over a hundred hours of content, a buddy system for you and your pals, and special meditation packages. Think of Headspace as a class on meditation; if you're hoping to really commit to the practice, this is a great place to start if you don't mind figuratively having your hand held for a bit in the beginning.

Download Headspace (Free, IAP)

Florence Ion

Florence Ion was formerly an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.