The Downtime Agenda

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  • Words — Samantha Dick

If the idea of being completely still for half an hour sounds impossible — perhaps (ironically) it’s time to turn to technology for some assistance. We’ve compiled a list of popular meditation and mindfulness apps to help you find your inner Buddha. 

The beginner’s guide to meditation apps.

SMILING MIND —
Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit initiative designed to induce a sense of clarity and mindfulness in its users.

Why we love it:
Smiling Mind’s mindfulness programs are catered to a variety of age groups, which makes it perfect for kids, teens and adults of all ages. Prior to starting a session, the user is required to rate their feelings of connectedness, fatigue, negativity and stress. After completing the session, the user is asked to rate their feelings again as a way to determine the extent to which the session was successful. The app is easy to follow and tracks the progress of its users’ achievements.

Cost:
Free.


CALM —

Calm consists of both timed and guided meditations accompanied by scenes and sounds of nature.

Why we love it:
Calm lets its users customise the length of the meditation session and the scenes and sounds to match. Many of the programs span over a period of one week, with options including ‘7 Days of Managing Stress’ ‘7 Days of Self-Esteem’ and ‘7 Days of Gratitude’. If you’re having trouble nodding off at night, try the seven-day ‘Sleep’ program to put your mind at ease before bed.

Cost:
Free to begin with, however, the user is able to make in-app purchases. For example, a subscription will unlock a 21-day program.


HEADSPACE —
Headspace describes itself as a “gym membership for the mind” and focuses on training the mind to be happier and healthier.

Why we love it:
Headspace introduces the app to new users with a free 10-day program, where it teaches the basics of meditation in ten minutes per day. If you’ve burnt dinner or can’t find your car keys, check out the ‘SOS Sessions,’ which are short meditations to help with particularly angry and frustrating moments. Bonus gifts are rewarded to those who meditate seven days in a row. Better yet, any user who purchases a subscription will automatically donate a subscription to another person in need.

Cost:
Free for the first ten days until the user is asked to subscribe.


OMVANA —
Omvana
claims to be the most popular meditation app in over thirty countries worldwide.

Why we love it:
Omvana brings its users more than 500 tracks of transformational audios to enhance the meditation experience. Categories include body, mind, lifestyle, productivity, relationships, hypnosis and more. Meditations are guided by authors, teachers and gurus, and feature hundreds of inspirational tracks, music and poetry. A unique feature of this app is the background music mixer, which allows its users to mix their own music to create the perfect session.

Cost: 
The first 25 tracks are free. The user is asked to make in-app purchases thereafter.


BUDDHIFY —

Buddhify is an award-winning mindfulness app that aims to incorporate meditation into every aspect of life.

Why we love it:
Buddhify has over 80 guided meditations that are custom-made depending on the location and mood of the user. The user is asked to answer the question, ‘What are you doing?’ by selecting options such as ‘Feeling stressed,’ ‘Work break,’ ‘Parks and nature’ and ‘Pain and Illness.’ Buddhify is a great one to try if you want to improve your mindfulness on the go. Take a walk and let the app guide your thoughts. The meditations range from five to thirty minutes and are designed to be used anywhere and anytime.

Cost:
$7.99 with no extra hidden costs.


MINDBODY CONNECT —
MINDBODY Connect
helps its users find the best fitness, wellness and beauty services locally and around the world.

Why we love it:
MINDBODY Connect
is less about meditation and mindfulness than it is about physical wellbeing. For example, the app can be used to look for a new yoga studio, massage therapist or group fitness session. It helps its users find the best deals on local classes and manages their schedules and goals in one place. The app can also be used to monitor information from Fitbit to ensure that its users are keeping on track with their personal health and fitness goals. Be warned: if you’ve been choosing chocolates over treadmills, MINDBODY Connect will know about it!

Cost:
Free.