Stay strong throughout the pandemic by looking after your mind with the best mindfulness and meditation apps for this year.

The past year has seen many of us strung out in ways we’ve never experienced before. Stuck inside, whether alone or with others, we all worried about something, sometimes to the point of overwhelm: our own health; our family and loved ones’ health; the NHS being unable to meet demand; loneliness of elderly relatives; having too much work to fit around home school; not having enough work full stop; the education and mental health of our children; and whether or not we cut it as stand-in teachers. And that’s just the start of it.

Never, then, have we felt more in need of the skills of mindfulness and meditation. Who couldn’t use a moment in the day to consciously pay attention to our own thoughts, even as we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The sensation of our breath as it goes in and out; the sounds that surround us, all so important to our mental wellbeing.

Guided meditation apps, meditation apps for kids and meditation apps for beginners abound, but it is important to know that you’re looking at only the very best ones that the web has to offer. We’ve mindfully done the research for you and now present these, the best meditation websites we know, all ready for you to discover and unwind with.

Best Guided Meditation Website: InsightTimer




There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. Insights Timer is free and offers short, guided meditations to focus your mind and reassure you through these days of discombobulation. The website also has a section for yoga and sleep; both are great. But right now, we’re here for the meditation, which comes in bursts of roughly ten to twenty minutes, some of which is courtesy of some very famous folk. It is the number one app for sleep, anxiety and stress; it’s easy to see why. Do you fancy Elizabeth Gilbert calmly talking you through facing fear with compassion? Listen here. Want to ‘harness the power of your brain to bring more focus, awareness, and calm to each day’? Allow Goldie Hawn to guide you through it here. There are also featured events – which range from subjects such as ‘what colour is your joy’ and soulful meditations – as well as an essential listening section, which covers the big important things, such as ‘being friends with your own mind’ and ‘re-centering in times of uncertainty.’ There are some 80,000 videos to explore in order to feel at one with yourself. Access them either via the website, or why not download the app here?

Best Mindfulness App: Headspace




Headspace is the brainchild of Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson and it is, we believe, one of the very best there is. The story starts with Puddicombe, who cut short his Sports Science degree to become a Buddhist monk, as you do; he undertook his meditation training over ten years and in locations ranging from Nepal, India and Burma to Thailand, Australia and Russia. When he returned, he began, via consultancy work, imparting the skills that he had learned to stressed out business leaders, sportspeople and politicians. When he chanced to meet advertising hot shot Rich, they soon began to talk about how they might share his knowledge with a wider audience, and thus Headspace was born. Its HQ is in Santa Monica, with offices in San Francisco and London, too. It seems that learning the basic of meditation was exactly what legions of people were looking for. Join them by signing up for a free trial, and take courses that range from meditation for work, for kids, on sleep, stress or anxiety. An app tailor made for the age we’re living through.


Great For Mindfulness and Affirmation: Mindful.org




‘We all have an innate ability to be present, composed, and thoughtful as we face the challenges of our busy lives. That’s the ground of mindfulness. With some guidance and training, mindfulness can develop into a way of living that brings greater focus and effectiveness as well as kindness and caring in everything we do.’ That’s the premise of Mindful.org, a Public Benefit Corporation ‘dedicated to sharing the gifts of mindfulness through content, training, courses, and directories—helping people enjoy better health, foster more caring relationships, and cultivate a more compassionate society.’ Under the meditation tab, there are daily practices, guided meditations, mindful lives, online courses and a community for mindfulness educators. We love the articles on the homepage, which cover topics such as ‘how mindfulness shifts our perception of time’ to ‘how to strengthen loving relationships with mindfulness’ and ‘Brené Brown on what it really means to trust.’

Best App for Happiness: Happify




‘Overcome negative thoughts, stress and life’s challenges’ invites Happify – and who could resist that? The tenets, based in positive psychology, are that the brain we are born with can be changed; that the brain is a muscle which, with the right training, can overcome pervasive negative thoughts that hold us back; and that to do so takes just a few regular mental diversions. At its core is the idea that there is a science to happiness – a claim made here by the scientists and experts who devised the programme to kit you out with the right mental tools to make the necessary changes. Access Happify’s games and activities on-the-go, wherever you are, via your phone, tablet or computer. The good news is that 86 per cent of its millions of users report feeling happier within just two months. That thought alone is enough to raise a smile. Tap the orange button, take the quick questionnaire and get started here. Want to feel part of a community? Get both inspired and connected by Happify’s wide network of happiness seekers.

Best Free Mindfulness Website: freemindfulness.org




Freemindfulness does exactly what it says on the tin: it offers users a repository of free-to-download meditation exercises to dip in and out of. There is a blog, a discussion forum and poetry in addition to all the free resources. Founded in 2012 by Peter Morgan, a clinical psychologist and mindfulness teacher who works primarily in the NHS, do not be put off by the slightly old-fashioned website; the content is all great, useful stuff, particularly when it comes to meditation and mindfulness for beginners.

Best For Managing Your Mind And Emotive State: Calm




‘Sleep more. Stress less. Live better.’ Sound good? Doesn’t it just. Click to get started and be ready to answer a quick questionnaire to ascertain what brings you to Calm; do you want better sleep? To increase your happiness? Reduce stress? Develop gratitude? All of the above? Then enter the world of this ‘mental fitness app… designed to help you build the strength to face life’s ups and downs.’ There are then more questions, after which you can save your preferences and create a free account, or choose to opt for premium membership which gives you unlimited access to content, which includes guided meditations, soothing sleep stories, calming nature sounds, and new content every week. There are meditations for children; those to aid sleep; those to feel mindful at work and many, many more.

Best for Yoga To Improve Mind, Body And Soul: Glo




Do want to do hone your yoga or Pilates skills (or, indeed, start from scratch) while also developing your mindfulness? If you’re thinking about it, why not sample Glo’s offering free of charge for fifteen days (after which it costs $18 per month). You can personalise your practice, with 4,000 classes on demand; download your favourite classes so that they’re always available to you; or take part in live classes to simulate the shared experience of a class IRL. They say, ‘At Glo we create tools and experiences that challenge you to invest in yourself; to become strong in body; to be engaged in heart and mind.’

By Nancy Alsop
Updated May 2021

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Nancy Alsop

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Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

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