The online life is one filled with anxiety and stress. Research shows that taking even just a few minutes to clear your head can help reduce that, which is why mindfulness meditation is growing in a world full of digital distractions.
A number of apps teach you how to clear your head: we’ve talked about how mindful web surfing can help you focus, and pointed out apps that help you practice mindfulness. And there was Stop Breathe & Think, which is a great way to learn meditation.
Today we’re looking at five more apps that can help you focus for a while, so you can stop worrying about notifications and digital clutter. Clear your head.
Pixel Thoughts (Web): Put Your Problems into Context
Let’s start with something basic, that requires no previous experience with meditation to be effective. Pixel Thoughts is a site that lets you type whatever is bothering you right now – work, family, anything. The site tells you to breathe in and breathe out, before putting the problem into a universal context.
It’s a short exercise that anyone with a spare minute can quickly run, but it’s helpful because. Basically: the universe is incomprehensibly huge, and given enough time our problems won’t matter at all. Life will go on. Life always goes on. Or, to put it in the words of philosopher Ilya Bryzgalov:
It’s a nice realization, but maybe even more important is taking a minute to think about it.
Headspace (Web, Android, iOS): Virtual Meditation Planner
Pixel Thoughts is more of an introduction to meditation than an actual course in it, so if you want to dive in a little deeper check out Headspace. This site offers a crash course on clearing your mind, with a free 10-day program that teaches you the basics.
Once you get through Take 10 you’ll need to subscribe for more exercises; prices range from $13 a month to $420 for a lifetime subscription. Even if you don’t intend to subscribe, the free Take 10 process is worth checking out as an introduction to mindfulness meditation.
Satorio (Web, Free): Raise Money for Charity by Meditating
Once you know how to clear your mind, all you really need is a timer – this lets you focus on meditating instead of thinking about time. Satorio is a web app timer with a difference: every minute you meditate, means 10 grains of rice are donated to a starving person somewhere in the world.
It’s a small amount, sure, but if enough people use this site enough the total rice could add up to quite a bit. If all you want is a timer, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be this one.
Meditation Made Simple (iOS, Free): Tips for Focus on Your iPhone
If you prefer iPhone apps to web ones, Meditation Made Simple is worth looking into. Like Headspace, this app is tailored toward beginners: it looks to teach you the basics of clearing your mind. Meant as a supplement for a book by Russell Simmons, this free app is useful whether you’re read the title or not.
It’s not an incredibly in-depth app, but it’s another place to start if you’re interested in meditation.
Calm (Android, iOS, Web): Guided Meditations with Nature Sounds
Sometimes you just need a timer; sometimes you want a guided meditation. Calm is a simple web and phone app that offers both, along with relaxing nature sounds and videos. You can even change the background and music, if you like.
With meditations of 2, 5, 10, 15, and 20 minutes you can find a few minutes to focus every day. The free service is great, and comes with an introduction to meditation and a couple of standard lessons, but like some of the apps here, it is also attached to a subscription for advanced features: $10 a month or $40 a year.
What Did We Miss?
I’m sure there are other great tools out there, so I’m looking for readers to help fill me in. What great meditation timers and tools have we overlooked? Let’s chat in the comments below.
I’ll get us started. We’ve talked about tools that make it easy to get started with meditation, and other sources of free nature sounds to sleep or meditate to. We’ve also outlined calming apps that help you clear you mind. Let’s see what else we can come up with, okay?