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Feeling overwhelmed? Stressed? Can’t remember a time you didn’t feel like that? Luckily, there’s an ancient practice that might help you deal with the not-so good stuff life can throw at you: meditation.
Whether you’re looking for a guided meditation you can do right now or you’re ready to build a daily habit, you can find the right meditation online.
Benefits of meditation
It isn’t a cure-all, but there is evidence that meditation has loads of potential health benefits, including:
- Improvements in mental health. Research suggests that online meditation can help in the treatment of anxiety and depression symptoms during times of crisis.
- Neuroplasticity boost. Preliminary studies have linked meditation with changes in neural networks in the brain, suggesting that it may reduce brain degeneration.
- Dementia prevention. Some research suggests that meditation contributes to better sleep, reduced stress, and better emotional regulation and that these changes could help prevent dementia.
If you’re ready to dip your toes into meditation, you’ve come to the right place! Check out the best online meditation classes. They’re free, fab, and full of Zen.
Best for waking up: Guided morning meditation
This 10-minute guided morning meditation is perfect for setting the tone for your day by starting your morning with some serenity. Just follow Juliana’s voice and find your calm.
Best for during work: 5-minute meditation
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work and need a moment to re-center, this quick 5-minute meditation will help you unwind and strengthen your focus.
Best for walking: Walking joy meditation
Best for anxiety and stress: 10-minute mindfulness meditation
Best for deep relaxation: Blissful deep relaxation
The sound of waves crashing? Check. Calming voice? Check. This meditation, which has a casual 18M views, will help you ease into a peaceful state.
Best for newbies: Mindful breathing meditation
Best for sleep: Guided sleep meditation
Feeling tired but can’t fall asleep? Say hello to your new best friend. Through mantras and other mindful exercises, this 3-hour guided meditation is sure to lull you into sleep.
If you want to step up your meditation game, the right app can help you build a daily habit and enrich your practice. We’ve selected five great online services for anyone wanting to take meditation to the next level.
Best for beginners: Headspace
Price: Basic: Free; Plus: $12.99/month or $69.99/year
Services: Guided meditations
Headspace is great for newbies and pros alike, but its beginner courses make it a must-have. You can start with “Basics” and move on to “Basics 2” and “Basics 3” as you progress. You can choose the length of your guided meditation and the type of voice you’d prefer to listen to.
Start meditating with Headspace.
Best for sleep: Calm
Price: Basic: Free; Premium: $14.99/month or $69.99/year; Lifetime access: $399.99
Services: Guided meditations, stories, masterclasses, music tracks
Calm is one of the most complete meditation apps, featuring not only guided meditations but also breathing exercises, nature sounds, and even a Bedtime Stories section with some celebrity-read stories to help you doze off. Who wouldn’t like to fall asleep listening to Matthew McConaughey’s voice? Exactly.
Start meditating with Calm.
Best on the go: Buddhify
Price: iPhone: $4.99; Android: $2.99
Services: Guided meditations
Buddhify is an app that focuses on “mindfulness on-the-go.” In the app’s meditation library, you’ll find guided exercises you can do anywhere. Sessions range from 3 to 40 minutes, so it’s a versatile option whether you’re a meditation pro or you’re just starting out. Unlike our other top picks, Buddhify is available for a single upfront fee.
Start meditating with Buddhify.
Best for skeptics: Ten Percent Happier
Price: Free; Membership: $99/year
Services: Guided meditations, online coaching
Created by “skeptical newsman” Dan Harris, the app is marketed to those who are “skeptics” about the benefits of meditation. It’s dedicated to making the lives of its members 10 percent happier with expert-led meditations on a variety of topics, as well access to a meditation coach.
Start meditating with Ten Percent Happier.
Best for parents: Mindful Mamas
Price: $11.99/month or $79.99/year
Services: Guided meditations, mantras
Last but certainly not least, we have Mindful Mamas, an app created by a licensed psychologist with the goal of helping new parents and parents-to-be by providing a platform where they can unwind and re-center. The app includes guided meditations, mantras, and other mindfulness exercises for every stage of parenthood.
Start meditating with Mindful Mamas.
Only the crème de la crème made it onto our list of best meditation online services! While sorting through all the meditation resources out there, we considered many factors, including:
- availability on both Android and iOS devices
- glowing customer reviews
- suitability for all experience levels, including beginner
- broad variety of content and resources
- Start small: While meditating every day may be your ultimate goal, remember that it takes time to build a habit! Start with shorter meditations and increase as you progress, so you don’t get discouraged.
- Find your time: What’s the best time to meditate? Easy — whenever works best for you. Whether it’s in the morning or right before sleep, pick a time that feels right to you and try to stick to it.
- Get comfy: How are you supposed to relax if you feel super uncomfortable? If you have trouble sitting cross-legged, know that it’s perfectly OK to meditate while standing, while lying down, or even while walking.
- Be kind to yourself: There’s really no right or wrong way to meditate, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Some days your mind will be wandering off, and that’s completely normal. Just keep at it!
You definitely don’t need to break the bank to start meditating. From free online meditation practices to affordable apps, there are loads of resources available. Try one of the guided meditations on our list of top picks to find your calm.