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Science says regular meditation leads to a happier, more productive, and more focused life. These guides and apps prove how easy it can be to start a habit of meditating regularly anywhere you want.
Meditation is much easier than you might think. Meditation is a mental exercise that you can do at any point, and for any purpose. It can help calm anxiety, refresh your brain, change your mood, along with many other uses.
These are some of the simplest guides and tools to you practice meditation. We’ve also included a couple of recommended apps, along with a repository of meditation apps for different purposes.
Meditation training app FitMind isn’t free, but it offers a fantastic free guide for beginners to the art. The 10-page ebook requires you to hand over your email, but it’s well worth the price of some spam that you can filter.
The guide explains in simple terms what meditation is, and more importantly, what it isn’t. It has insights and clarifications you won’t find in most writings.
For example, an entire section talks about attitude and posture, two of the most important elements of successful meditation. It breaks myths about yogic poses or rigorous mental practices for meditation, making it more accessible to any ordinary person.
Similarly, you will find further clarifications on focus, breathing, and metacognition. The guide gives you a simple path to becoming mentally healthier through meditation so that you can figure out how you should approach it.
The Buddhist Centre released multiple free meditation diaries or workbooks for beginners to understand, track, and adopt the practice. All the techniques focus on mindfulness meditation, taking you through a body scan, breathing, and metta bhavana.
Don’t be alarmed, “metta bhavana” simply means “loving-kindness” and is the same as having a calm, relaxed, and benevolent outlook.
Start with the four-week course, which has a new focus each week: breath and body, breath and breadth, positive emotion, and mature effort. Each meditation program is neatly described in detail, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The workbook or diary then asks you to note down how you felt through the exercise, as well as answer a few questions in the journal.
Go through the four week course and see how you feel. If you like the process and want to go deeper, there’s a 6-week workbook for advanced meditation practices.
Finally, also check out the Living Practice Workbook, which tells you how to record what you feel throughout a meditative session. It’s a much deeper dive into mindfulness, and is best adopted after you’ve done the four-week or six-week course.
3. UCLA Mindful (Android, iOS): Free Guided Meditations and Podcast
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has a dedicated team of scientists studying mindfulness at the Mindful Awareness Research Center. This team has developed the UCLA Mindful app and conducts a weekly podcast on the topic.
The UCLA Mindful app is great for beginners to mindful meditation. The Getting Started section has short video explanations of mindfulness and meditation, how to choose a meditation, and how to select posture.
Based on that, you can choose one of the 14 guided audio meditations as per your current need. By keeping it basic, UCLA Mindful is a fantastic app for beginners till you get used to regular practice.
Every week, the team holds a free 30-minute guided meditation at the UCLA Hammer Museum. They also record these sessions, each of which has a new theme, and release it as a podcast. Once you’ve learned the basics on the Mindful app, the podcast is a wonderful way to keep the practice going with different meditations.
Download: UCLA Mindful for Android | iOS (Free)
4. Smiling Mind (Android, iOS): Free, Categorized, Downloadable Sessions
Australian psychologists developed the Smiling Mind app (a not-for-profit organization) to promote daily mindfulness and meditation. It’s one of the few meditation apps that is actually completely free, with no in-app purchases or other strings attached.
During setup, Smiling Mind asks about your experience with mindful meditation and what you seek from the app. Based on that, it recommends a few audio guides to add to your favorites.
The full list of programs is a massive library of neatly categorized audio guides for every possible need. There are programs for adults, youth, children, classrooms, families, workplace, and so much more. Each program lists how many modules and sessions it has, and you can slowly go through it as recommended by psychologists.
Additionally, you can download any guide or session for free, and store it for as long as you want. Very few apps offer such a rich catalog of features without asking you to pay anything.
Smiling Mind suggests you need only 10 minutes of meditation every day on their app to start. It’s just 10 minutes, what are you waiting for?
Download: Smiling Mind for Android | iOS (Free)
5. Meditation Apps (Web): Repository of Meditation and Mindfulness Apps
UCLA Mindful and Smiling Mind aren’t the only meditation apps around. But these apps can have different purposes. For example, we’ve already rounded up the best meditation apps for relaxing and sleeping
. MeditationApps.com lists as many of these apps as possible and categorizes them according to your needs.
Broad categories include apps with support for anxiety, balance, creativity, focus, motivation, performance, pregnancy, relationships, and sleep. And there’s a special section for meditation apps for kids.
One of the best parts about MeditationApps.com is that it clearly shows the actual price of the app. A lot of meditation apps are free to download, but quickly ask for a subscription to unlock all their guided audio clips. But on this website, you’ll see this potential price upfront, saving you from wasting your time on an app.
Try Mindful Web Surfing
Mindfulness meditation is the first step towards a calmer, happier mental state. The more you practice it, the better you will feel. In fact, once you practice meditation long enough, you can apply mindfulness in several other spheres of your life.
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