Meditation apps can help you with mindfulness training. We have tested five apps and reveal how they work.
Take a short break, close your eyes, focus on your breathing – after just a few minutes, meditation has a positive effect on your body and mind. Nowadays, meditation apps take on the role of guide, offering sessions of longer or shorter durations. This allows you to incorporate meditation simply as part of your daily routine. The excuse of having no time is no longer valid.
Here, we present five popular meditation apps that may be able to help you in improving your mindfulness and allow you to take a deep breath every now and again in everyday life.
Headspace offers users various meditation packs or individual meditation sessions on a variety of themes, which in turn are aimed at specific situations:
A reminder function helps users make sure they do not forget their daily meditation or reminds them to take a brief moment to be mindful and attentive. Animated videos show in a playful manner how users can avoid problems and blocks during meditation.
On their own personal profile, users can find statistics on their meditation progress and have the opportunity to invite friends. Those users who connect with one another via the app can motivate each other.
The app’s playfully designed layout is striking. Users are met with bright illustrations throughout the entire app. A male voice guides them through the meditations. This is a very pleasant feature. However, the man’s speech is unclear at times and he mumbles a little, meaning that you need to concentrate in order to understand everything.
Upon opening the app for the first time, users are asked to specify their objectives for the current year (e.g. learn to meditate, reduce stress or sleep better). On the basis of this information, the user is provided with suggestions on various meditations. Those wishing to select a meditation themselves can sort the sessions in the overview according to topics or teachers. Meditations can also be selected that are appropriate for the user’s current situation or mood. There are various topics, which are in turn divided into sub-topics:
An alarm can be programmed for daily meditation sessions, reminding users to meditate at a certain time.
Users can view their daily progress report in their personal profile. There is also a community in which users can invite friends and contest challenges.
The layout is a little dark and less colourful than is the case with other meditation apps. The simple design gives off a classic, classy impression.
Upon opening the app, users are asked about their goals. Do they want to sleep better, reduce their stress or build their self-esteem? Depending on the user’s focus, the app then suggests various meditations.
Each user can set up the start screen themselves. A variety of scenes are available, including a mountain lake, a thunderstorm and a fireplace. Those not wanting to actively meditate, but rather simply relax a little, can listen to relaxation music directly in the app. As is the case with Headspace, both meditation packages and individual meditations are available. Depending on their situation or problem (focus, stress, anxiety), users can select what they want to do. There are also sleep stories that aim to help users with problems falling to sleep. Contents can be downloaded, meaning that they are available later offline.
Each user receives an analysis of how many minutes they have meditated for and how many sessions they have already completed. A statistic also shows how many days in a row the app has been used. To make sure this figure is as high as possible, users can activate a daily reminder function.
The app’s layout has a very simple design: no bright colours and no illustrations. The background noises have a calming effect. A woman guides you through the meditations. Her voice is quiet and understandable and therefore very pleasant.
At the start, the app asks users about their meditation experience. On the basis of these details, the app then compiles suggestions. Users can choose between various courses and meditations according to what best fits their situation and emotional state. The objective of the app is to ensure that the learned mindfulness skills can also be applied in other spheres of life after a certain time. Thanks to a chat function, users can contact experienced mediation experts. According to the app, questions are answered within a day.
Users’ personal progress is saved in their profile. They also have the option to programme a daily reminder.
The layout appears very simple, as there is not a great deal of colour. There are various experts who guide users through the meditation sessions. Those who have difficulties with the voice of a certain teacher can switch without difficulty.
Stop, Breathe & Think helps users in finding the perfect meditation for them. Three questions are asked at the start to determine the user's situation:
Users are then provided with suggestions for suitable meditations.
Those who already have some experience can of course also select their sessions themselves. There are also two different timers:
Thanks to a personalised feed, users receive regular suggestions tailored to their needs.
In this app, users can collect trophies and stickers. In the personal overview, users also find out which emotions they have felt most and how many days in succession they have meditated.
For many meditations, the user can select whether they want to be guided by a male or a female voice.
The main elements in the app are contained in the colours white, green, red and blue. The layout is thus very structured and not overly colourful. The layout is given an even more relaxing feel thanks to illustrations that aim to teach users meditation in a playful manner.
These five apps represent only a small portion of the options available that you can use for mobile mindfulness training. In the App Store and the Google Play Store, there are various other apps.
The test demonstrated that many apps have similar basic functions: there are meditations for everyday situations, the length of the meditation can be selected flexibly and users are provided with an overview of their personal progress in all apps. In order to make full use of the apps, the free version does not suffice. Users can either purchase individual meditations or conclude a monthly or annual subscription. The layouts are designed very differently in each case, meaning there is something for every taste.
All users need to find out for themselves what their needs are and how they want to be guided through the meditations. In order to find the optimal solution, it is beneficial to test and compare various apps.
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