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  • Claire Hannum

The 7 Best Meditation Apps for 2021

Updated: May 6, 2021

The 7 best meditation apps for 2021 are here to help as we navigate through one of the most unprecedented seasons in recent history. No matter how you're getting through 2021, meditation is there for you. These apps are some of the most popular and effective for unplugging and de-stressing.

Best Meditation Apps For 2021 - And What Makes Them Great

1. Unplug

Unplug encourages you to Rise, Click, Meditate. The apps’ teachers want you to make meditation the first thing you do each day - because the whole rest of your day will go better! As one of the top meditation apps out there, Unplug offers an unmatched library of 800+ guided meditations on topics like anxiety, relaxation, breathwork, and countless others. Each session is on video, led by a range of 80+ world-renowned guides.

Unplug offers flexible options for busy days, like self-directed meditation, livestream classes, and quick meditations you can tackle in just a few minutes. It's not just one of the best meditation apps for 2021, it's one of the best meditation apps period! Its content is produced to be engaging and easy.

Unplug is especially known for its 30-day meditation challenge, which is designed to help make meditation a daily habit that you’ll look forward to each day. Unplug’s wide library of courses also includes a meditation of the day, which is under 10 minutes and changes daily. The app also goes beyond traditional meditation by also offering soundbaths, hypnosis, reathwork, and life coaching. You can even expand on your meditation with the Unplug meditation book, in-app gratitude journal, timer, and stats.

2. Headspace

Headspace is perhaps one of the most well-known apps, so it's no surprise that it's considered one of the best meditation apps for 2021. With a welcoming design and the soothing voice of Headspace’s much-loved narrator and teacher, Andy Puddicombe, it’s a great jumping off point for meditation beginners. The app offers a series of starter sessions for users who are new to meditation, as well as specifically targeted sessions for needs like creativity, high-pressure situations, and “sleepcasts” for better sleep. Headspace frames meditation as a type of fitness for the mind, and at the beginning of each session, you’re welcomed with an opportunity to check in and get settled before diving in.

3. Calm

The popular Calm app combines meditations with nature sounds and soothing imagery to target stress. With features like bedtime stories, gentle stretching lessons, and short-term meditations for busy days, millions of people are turning to Calm for a little boost in their lives. One of Calm’s most popular series, Sleep Stories, features celebrities telling relaxing tales to help listeners fall asleep. Stars like Kate Winslet, Matthew McConaughey, Lucy Liu, Idris Elba, and Laura Dern have lent their voices to the app. Calm recently even launched a television series, A World of Calm, inspired by Sleep Stories. Like the app, the show features narration by a star-studded cast, including Mahershala Ali, Priyanka Chopra, and Keanu Reeves.

4. Insight Timer

Insight Timer is great for anyone on a budget, with thousands of free videos to choose from. You can filter through their library based on your meditation focus, time constraints, or other needs. If you prefer a self-directed meditation, you can use their timer feature and choose between various bells and ambient sounds. The app also offers a seven-day beginners’ meditation course, and a community of fellow users to connect with. It features fun badges and progress trackers to keep you motivated, which makes it one of the best meditation apps for anyone struggling to make meditation a habit.

5. Ten Percent Happier

The Ten Percent Happier app is inspired by the book of the same name, written by ABC News anchor Dan Harris. Harris began his meditation journey after having a panic attack on live television while working at the ABC anchor desk. The app is particularly suited for what Harris calls “fidgety skeptics,” or people who are curious about meditation but feel like it might not be for them. (Harris felt the same way when he first got started!) The app provides quick meditations designed to be experienced on the go, with focuses on topics like anxiety and getting better sleep. The app can also help you track how many meditation days you can do in a row!

6. Healthy Minds

Healthy Minds was created by the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The app draws on forty years of research by lauded neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson and his team focuses on four pillars of training your brain (awareness, insight, purpose, and connection.) The app’s step-by-step setup is designed to help with releasing stress, building positive connections, and developing a sharper focus.

Healthy Minds offers a robust library of meditations as well as exercises and lessons to enrich your experience. If you’ve ever wished you could have taken a college course on how meditation works, this might be the app for you.

7. Aura

With its swift meditations and soothing color scheme, Aura is designed to help you meditate on the go. With a daily three-minute meditation, the app makes it easy to quickly dive in without spending much time, and other mindfulness features like nature sounds and recorded life coaching sessions add extra elements. Aura also curates recommendations based on your mood or other factors, whips up playlists based on themes and emotions.

Aura also has additional features like a gratitude journal and mood tracker to help with managing stress and anxiety. If you’ve always wanted to dabble in meditation and aren’t yet sure how much time you want to dedicate, Aura is a fun option to explore.

As uncertain as this year may feel, don't forget to take a few minutes for yourself each day to find your center. It can make a world of difference. The best meditation apps for 2021 can help you get there!


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