Mindfulness Apps

Mindfulness AppsMindfulness apps have intrigued us for years. The New York Times recently two mindfulness apps. I was pleased to see that the ones they chose were the two apps that we find are the most popular these days: Headspace and Calm.com.

I’ve updated the webpage that lists a number of apps and links that you may find helpful. But I thought it might be worthwhile talking a little bit about my experiences working with clients with both of these apps.

Calm.com is the more conservative of the two. To get a sense of its aesthetic all you have to do is go to the webpage where you will be instantly immersed in a video clip with sound and perhaps music. There are a number of backgrounds that you can select depending on which particular combination of sounds and sights seems most relaxing but on the main webpage which you have access to is a quite nicely done, demystified, body scan guided meditation which you can do in a version that lasts two minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. Some of the busiest and most frenetic people that we know have found the two minute version to be a nice introduction. A two minute guided meditation probably won’t get you into deep relaxation but if you repeat it an hour or so later it probably will have a significant impact on your day. In addition to the free website there are also free android and iOS apps. To my mind these are not quite as appealing as the webpage but there is more diversity of guided meditations. For the full experience of many different kinds of guided meditation you need to sign up for the Pro version of the app, which costs about $10 a year (cheap) but as of this writing is only available for people with iPhones.

Headspace is hipper but also noticeably chattier. The narrator has a British accent that you may find charming or distracting and he talks a lot more about what mindfulness practice is all about. Again you will either find this informative or distracting. In my experience people tend to be drawn to one or the other of these apps. Headspace also offers free webpage, android, and iOS experiences / apps. What you get for free is basically a 10 day introduction to mindfulness meditation that you have to follow in the order recommended. Whereas many people have found that the free guided meditations at Calm.com are all that they need, most people will probably want to pay for the Pro version of the app (or webpage) and it is quite a bit more expensive than Calm.com ($13 per month as opposed to $10 a year).

But either expenditure is likely to be well worth it if you use these apps on a daily basis. The evidence of significant health benefits from daily practice of mindfulness is more and more overwhelming…