Meditation -- There's an App for That!

The act of meditating can help you rewire your brain in the sense that the more you think positively, the stronger the part of your brain that allows you to experience positivity becomes. And today, tech-enabled meditation is making it easier than ever to learn how to meditate. At the click of a button, you can escape to a place of calm to help be mindful and take a moment to reset your internal dialogue. Whether you want to meditate for five minutes, 10 minutes or 20, there are several technologies out there to help get the job done. Here are five to get you started:

1. Smiling Mind: The app-based meditation is designed to bring modern meditation practices to young people in four specific age groups: 7-11, 12-15, 16-22 and adult. It even creates meditation programs for groups in the education, sport and corporate sectors so that people can meditate individually or in teams. Because it’s a nonprofit, the app is free and runs solely on donations.

2. Stop- Breathe-Think: This meditation app is free and creates guided meditations based on five emotions you choose to identify your mood for the day. Its Quick Pick option also allows you to choose from already-prepared meditations that cater to the different moments in the day such as a falling asleep meditation for nighttime or a body-scan meditation that helps you bring awareness to the stress in your body.

3. Calm: This is another free meditation app, which is best for people who are already trained in their practice and are looking for timed meditation. It offers meditation sounds such as the ocean or rainforest to listen to while you meditate at various time increments. In the open-ended meditations, the app will sound a bell at whatever time allotment you choose to help remind you to stay present. For meditation newbies, there are seven-day and 21-day programs to help introduce you to meditation.

4. Headspace: One of the original meditation apps, Headspace is now used by more than 5 million users and is very extensive in its offerings. For $7.99, users get access to the Headspace library, which consists of 350 hours worth of guided meditation lessons for all meditation levels. The app also sends regular reminders to help you stay on pace with your practice and even has a buddy system for you and your friends to help motivate each other. They offer a free, introductory 10 day meditation guide. Once you finish the ‘foundation pack’ you can access several different ‘packs’ from 10-30 days that deal with a specific issue: anxiety, stress, appreciation, creativity, focus, and more! They even have one for pregnancy.

5. Muse: For those who really want to invest in their meditation practice, the Muse brain-sensing headband gives real-time biofeedback about what’s going on in your mind as you complete your meditation. The $249 headband simply connects to the Muse app on your mobile device via Bluetooth. Before you begin your meditation session, Muse asks you to perform a simple brainstorming task as it listens to your brain signals for 60 seconds. It then gives you feedback about your meditation in real time by translating your brain signals into the sounds of wind—slower winds mean your mind is calm, while fast winds means it’s less so—as you listen to the meditation.

Whether you're looking for a guided mediation or you're a seasoned pro looking for some feedback or calming sounds, there's an app for it!