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April 27, 2020

Best Meditation Apps for Stress Relief

We've rounded up the best meditation apps that transform your thoughts from negative to positive.

By Emma

In these moments of chaos, we are ridden with negative thinking and filled with fear, uncertainty and anxiety. Taking time for yourself to breathe and quiet your thoughts is imperative now more than ever, and these stress-relieving apps make it incredibly easy to do so. Whether you are embarking on a meditation journey or simply want some relaxing music to lull you to sleep, we’ve rounded up the best meditation apps that transform your thoughts from negative to positive and welcome some serenity into your everyday routine.


One of the most popular meditation and sleeping apps, Calm has hundreds of exclusive Sleep Stories for both adults and children, as well as guided meditations, sound bath experiences, and calming music to put you into a deep sleep. It’s not just a small app: The company has a billion-dollar valuation and has even recruited A-list celebrities, like Matthew McConaughey, Laura Dern, Stephen Fry and tennis pro John McEnroe to read stories. At any point of the day, pop in some headphones and listen to the soothing sound of ocean waves, or do a quick meditation on your lunch break.


Headspace also specializes in meditation and sleep, and the app’s founders are clear on leading with science. According to Headspace’s website, “Headspace is one of the only apps committed to advancing the field of mindfulness meditation through clinically validated research on our product.” The company has more than 35 research institutions and 65 research studies that help shape the way Headspace operates. According to the company, Headspace can reduce stress, improve focus and increase happiness. In these stressful times, anything that can better our health and happiness is worth trying. 

Insight Timer

With more than 40,000 free guided meditations, Insight Timer makes it incredibly easy to access positive, feel-good content. The app prompts you to choose meditations from Scientific, Secular or Spiritual categories, offering a truly diverse array of meditations for those of all backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. What’s unique about Insight Timer is that there are more than 5,531 teachers and musicians from countries around the world who curate a profile of playlists or music (based on their specialty). Users can follow their favorite teachers and engage with each of their posts, including rate them and leave reviews. Choose everything from enhancing sleep, listening to calming music or deep dive into a 10-day guided meditation course from your favorite local (or far-flung!) instructor.


For those who are anxious, checking in with Aura might be a great idea. Upon opening the app, Aura asks you how you are feeling, and clicking on answers such as, “Okay,” “Anxious,” “Can’t Sleep,” “Stressed,” “Sad” or “Great,” which will help shape Aura’s recommendations. The app offers empowering stories, nature sounds, music, meditations, sleep guides, mindfulness, a gratitude journal and even life coaching from top coaches and therapists. You can create a daily ritual with tracks ranging from three minutes to an hour, so no matter how busy or committed you are, you can find something that works for you.


Photo credit: Iris Listen Well

Iris aims to create a “live” audio experience through its innovative Iris Headphones and App. Its website states: “This unique balance between technology and biology makes sound feel live and you more alive.” You simply play your music via the app and the headphones do their magic, making each song sound like it’s being played live in whichever room you’re in. But even if you don’t have the headphones, Iris offers a Wellness sound experience in partnership with renowned Ibiza-based sound healer, Jeremie Quidu. You can either listen from the website or with the headphones in the app. The sound healing session helps to relieve stress and anxiety using Quidu’s frequencies and vibrations. You’ll be amazed at how engaged your mind and body are during this peaceful meditation.

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Photo credit: Audible

Those who love Audible for listening to books can now enjoy more than 100 meditations, sleep playlists and workouts. The meditations are so great if you already have an account, and can be tailored to reduce anxiety, increase creativity and change your mindset. There are even programs, like 21 Days of Guided Meditations, led by experts in their field. Recently, Audible took a page from Calm’s book and recruited a celebrity to lead a guided meditation; you can listen to Diddy’s recording, which is surprisingly calming. 

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