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Meditation apps offer users a series of guided and unguided meditations that help reduce stress while increasing focus and awareness. These apps generally offer both free and paid meditations as well as advice.
How Do Meditation Apps Work?
Meditation apps vary in technique and style. One meditation app might feature lots of guided meditations, while another app will simply offer guidance on unguided mediation techniques.
The common thread running through most meditation apps is advice on helping users get the most out of mediation practice and developing a consistent practice. Some apps recommend only a few minutes of meditation, while others recommend meditation sessions last longer — 15, 20, 30, 45, or 60 minutes.
Benefits of Meditation
Just some of the many benefits of meditation (guided or unguided, via an app or in-person) include:
- Less stress, depression, and anxiety
- Higher awareness
- Increased focus
- Fewer health problems
- Higher emotional intelligence
- Better sleep
- Reduction of depression and anxiety medications
Common Meditation App Styles
Most meditation apps offer some form of guided meditation. This type of guidance is similar to that in a mediation class or group meditation session. Guided meditation topics can revolve around a common theme or struggle — or they can simply offer quiet reflection—apps like Sam Harris’s Waking Up offer both guidance and instruction.
Some common meditation app styles include:
- Guided meditation (HeadSpace)
- Unguided meditation (Breethe)
- Loving-kindness meditation
- Emotional freedom technique
- Sleep Meditation (Calm)
- Walking meditation
- Guided breathwork
Guided Vs. Unguided Meditation
There are two styles of mediation offered in most apps: guided and unguided. Guided meditations offer prompts that help users relax, fall asleep, or deal with negative emotions. Most meditation apps offer this particular type of meditation and one or two unguided meditations.
Unguided meditations usually start with a prompt. The app narrator asks the users to sit quietly for a disclosed amount of time simply. Instruction might include asking the participant to chant a mantra or simply focus on the breath.
Most meditators recommend starting with guided meditation as unguided techniques can sometimes feel like jumping into the deep end of a pool before learning how to swim.