Mindful Meditation | How Apps Can Help with Inner Peace

Mindful Meditation | How Apps Can Help with Inner Peace

  • Kathy Sexton
  • 03/22/24

Mindful Meditation | How Apps Can Help with Inner Peace

Your Home & Lifestyle Magazine

Looking to calm your mind and enhance your well-being? According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, those are the twin purposes of a meditation practice. While those are great goals, some people find meditation a tough habit to start and maintain. Those new to meditation may have difficulty sustaining focus without some help, while others have no clue how to start or what to do during. These common obstacles led app developers to create helpful tools. Dozens of apps are available, including Headspace, Calm, Smiling Mind, Healthy Minds Program, Insight Timer, and Balance, all available on Apple and Android platforms. Here, we explore how simple apps can be used to help you start and sustain a meditation practice.


Consistent, regular practice is key to creating a new habit. Headspace and Calm let you set daily reminders. Smiling Mind and Insight Timer use mood trackers to encourage daily use by showing how the app improves your mood and mindset over time. If you find cost an obstacle, several apps are free (Smiling Mind, Healthy Minds Program) or offer free, pared-down versions (Calm, Insight Timer). Balance even offers a free, one-year trial period before transitioning to a paid plan.


Attention span and time constraints can affect your focus. Most apps allow you to choose modules based on your available time. Those with guided meditations—where a presenter talks you through the meditation—help users stay focused during a session. Calm and Headspace offer sessions ranging from a couple minutes to a half hour or longer. Healthy Minds Program assesses your current abilities and then suggests a course plan. This assessment keeps you from wasting time on things that don’t interest you or moves you to more robust content if you’re an experienced meditator.


Those new to meditation might feel confused about what to do during a session. Apps provide a wide array of content to help. Headspace offers guided meditations, breathing exercises, tutorials, and even physical workouts that center on mindfulness. Calm offers similar options, but is well-known for their Sleep Stories, designed for kids or adults, to help with falling asleep or going back to sleep if awakened at night. Smiling Mind suggests actions to take outside the app that help you interact positively with others. For example, in the app session Are You Listening?, they suggest you practice attentively listening during conversations. What the speaker says becomes the object of your meditation.


These apps are great for those new to meditation, but what more can they teach you as you gain skills? Calm offers masterclasses taught by wellness experts to help broaden your learning; Balance has a similar offering; and Insight Timer gives you the option to connect with a mentor or join workshops.

For a foray into meditation, free or free trial apps offer a great place to start. Decide what your goals are for a practice, and then read reviews and user comments to see which app best matches what you’re looking for.

deep dive.

Here, we share three popular apps and more of their offerings (prices current at press time).


This app offers five areas of focus: Meditate, where you learn meditation, mindfulness exercises, and coping strategies to manage stress; Sleep, which offers music, sounds, or mantras that help you rest; Move, which trains your mind and body together to strengthen both; Focus, which helps with concentration; and Wake Up, which offers inspirational stories to start your day. ($12.99 per month)


Their mission is to “make the world happier and healthier.” Individuals can use the app, but there are family and business plans too. Sleep Stories is a popular feature that helps adults and kids fall or stay asleep. There is a free, pared-down version and a paid premium version with more features and content. ($14.99 per month)

Smiling Mind.

This free app can be used by anyone, but offers much content intended for children and youth. The app provides foundational tools and skills to support a healthy mind. It offers programs related to stress reduction, better sleep, mindfulness, relationships, sports, and mindful eating. App reviews often mention that it’s a good starting point for meditation newbies. (free)


YHL/ Written by Ronda Swaney

Photography by LaylaBird/E+/Getty Images.

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