Meditation often conjures up images of blissed-out hippies wearing flowing clothes and sitting in trance-like stillness. If the only stillness you experience is when you pass out in bed each night, the ancient practice can seem pretty daunting—and even kind of weird.
But as you've probably heard by now, there are tons of reasons to meditate—it's good for your heart, helps you sleep better, creates better eating habits, and improves relationships, for starters. Whether you're looking to make it a habit or just want to dip your toes in, we rounded up 13 apps that make it easy to develop a practice that works for you—and your lifestyle.
If You've Never Meditated Before: Headspace
Headspace starts on level one, where you'll learn meditation basics and techniques through fun, animated videos, and a guided, 10-minute session each day. Once you progress past level three, you can choose from themed series (health, relationships, performance) or quick sessions you can do while walking, commuting, cooking, going to sleep—or when you're having a major freak-out. Also awesome? For every subscription purchased, Headspace donates one to a person in need.
Available at itunes.com, $12.95 per month.
If You're Skeptical About All This Inner-Peace Stuff: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by 10% Happier
The name says it all. The app offers a 17-day course that teaches you how to meditate with none of the bullsh*t. Through guided audio meditations and daily video lessons from 10% Healthier author (and former skeptic) Dan Harris and meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein, you'll learn what to do if you have an itch or fall asleep, how not to let your emotions control you, and the answer to the age-old question,"Am I doing it right?"
Available at itunes.com, free. Additional content, $9.99 per month.
If You're Having a Bad Day: Stop, Breathe, & Think
Feeling annoyed and exhausted? Uneasy and overwhelmed? There's a meditation for that. The app prompts you to take 10 seconds to think about how you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally, and then offers a handful of meditations tailored to your state of mind. You can also track your progress through stickers and a chart that shows how you feel before and after meditating. The only downfall is you can't choose hangry as an emotion (yet).
Available at itunes.com, free. Premium subscription, $4.99 per month.
If You Have Zero Time to Meditate: Buddhify
Ain't nobody got time to sit in silence with their eyes closed for 20 minutes. That's why Buddhify offers quick sessions that fit into things you're already doing, such as scrolling through Facebook, trying to fall asleep, eating dinner, or even hanging out with your S.O.
Available at itunes.com, $4.99.
If You Want to Build Healthier Habits: Calm
Even Calm's website is, um, calming (its homepage lets you pick from a number of soothing soundscapes, like falling rain, the ocean shore, or chirping birds). Both the app and site offer guided programs that help you work toward something, whether you want to manage stress, practice gratitude, or get better sleep. Like Headspace, it also has one-off sessions for specific situations, such as when you’re commuting, angry, or need to concentrate.
Available at itunes.com, $12.99 per month.
If You Love Tracking Your Progress: The Mindfulness App
The Mindfulness App offers a no-nonsense way for beginners to try meditation, helping users to go from zero to zen in moments. A five-day introduction gives you the ins and outs of the app, then you'll get access to a library of silent and guided meditation sessions ranging from three to 30 minutes in length. The app also lets you log your progress and read stats on how far you've come, helping you stay focused on your goals.
Available at itunes.com, $9.99 per month.
If You Have Exactly 5 Minutes: Simple Habit
Between work, the gym, and your social life, it’s hard to find time to meditate—but nearly everyone has five minutes. With Simple Habit, you can pick one of three options for a quick and easy meditation: in the morning, during a work break, or before bed.
Available at itunes.com, $11.99 per month.
If You Can't Stand Listening to the Same Voice Over and Over: Meditation Studio
This one has it all: 27 experts, more than 200 guided meditations, and unlimited access for only $3.99. You can choose from curated collections pertaining to the area of your life you need the most help with, whether that's relationships, stress, anxiety, or even public speaking. An in-app calendar keeps you on track, and you can listen to experts and authors discussing their philosophies and answering subscriber questions on a free podcast.
Available at itunes.com, $3.99.
If You Need a Legitimate Distraction to Get Zen: Simply Being
Simply Being uses the relaxing sounds of nature as therapy. “Calm Ocean Shore,” “Gentle Forest Brook,” and “Light Rain” are just a few of its options. Plus, the app offers written help (in addition to audio meditations), in case you learn better that way. It's the closest to zen you can get without actually booking the next available flight to Fiji.
Available at itunes.com, $1.99.
If You Want More Than Just Meditation: Pacifica
Mediation is just one way Pacifica helps you deal with stress and anxiety. You can track your health and mood; journal about your thoughts and feelings; work toward a goal; practice small challenges ("Make eye contact with a stranger," "Compliment someone"); and learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and, yes, meditation. It's the next best thing to seeing a therapist IRL.
Available at itunes.com, free. Premium subscription, $5.99 per month.
If You Love Games: Sattva
Want to be happier but also really just want to play games on your iPhone? Sattva turns your mental state into a game—but not in a messed-up Westworld way. You can monitor your heart rate, win trophies for meditating on the reg, and even chat with other meditation fans. It's the game where everyone wins.
Available at itunes.com, free. Individual meditations and chants, up to $1.99.
If You Can't Sit Still While Meditating: Pause
Pause puts the power in your hands—literally—through a clever interface that responds to your finger. Calm yourself down by slowly and continuously moving your fingertips across the screen. The app also has soothing audio to help bring you into the moment and focus your thoughts.
Available at itunes.com, $1.99.
If You're Pregnant or New at This Whole Mom Thing: Expectful
OK, this one isn't exactly an app, but you can use it on any device. Expectful offers videos, guided meditations, and even exercises that are trimester specific. Why? Because meditation can help make labor easier, boost your immune system, and improve sleep patterns. Bonus: Expectful has a whole community of women who are within weeks of your due date, so you can chat with other people who know exactly how you're feeling.
Available at expectful.com, $9 per month.