New York Times, June 2020

Before you download one of these apps, however, be aware of what these meditation apps can — and can’t — do.

If you want to steal a few minutes of Zen and achieve something like contentment in the face of chaos and uncertainty, you might be tempted to download a meditation app.

Studies show that meditation can decrease stress and reduce symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, pain and insomnia.

Meditation isn’t designed for you to “bliss out and escape,”

Amishi Jha

Increased attention allows us to “notice our own mind wandering when we’re getting into these bad ruminative loops,” she said. Two Harvard researchers conducted a study in 2010 that found that people reported that they were thinking about something other than what they are doing 47 percent of the time: things that happened in the past and things that may or may not happen in the future. This mind-wandering typically makes people unhappier. By interrupting that cycle, which mindfulness meditation aims to do, we can reap the emotional benefits of focusing only on the here and now.

People don’t understand is that it’s really easy to do it incorrectly,

Sara Lazar

However, experts agreed that the right meditation app can be a terrific supplement to a real-life teacher you’re also working with, even remotely.

The vast majority of meditation apps are relatively affordable and convenient. But it can be overwhelming to know where to start, especially if your goal is to find one that will meet your individual needs.

  • Identify your goal
  • Make sure the app is transparent with its privacy settings
  • Look for access to a live coach, if possible
  • Seek out a diversity of offerings
  • Look for an off-ramp
  • Try a few out

Some suggestions: Headspace, Calm, Simple Habit, Insight Timer, The Mindfullness App, …