30+ Years of Professional Tax & Accounting Services

8 Meditation Apps for Better Mental Health

Discover the physical and mental well-being benefits of using meditation apps. 

By Marni Henderson

Work life balance requires us to take care of our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing before, during and after our professional responsibilities.  Why not use your phone to enhance your health goals process and keep on the right track?  Numerous studies have shown the positive effects that meditation apps can have on various aspects of physical and mental health. One study used an app designed for mindfulness training which “includes a variety of contemplative practices aimed at promoting intentional awareness of experience, coupled with attitudes of non-judgment and curiosity” (Walsh et al., 2019). After just three weeks of practice, participants noticed a multitude of benefits.

Benefits of mindfulness app training:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Improvements in attentional control
  • Deeper sleep
  • Greater self-acceptance (Walsh et al., 2019)

Meditation, and meditation apps in particular, have been shown to have many physical and mental benefits for our overall wellbeing – and beginning a meditation practice could be as easy as pushing the download button on your phone. However, this brings up a problem—which app out of the thousands available should you choose? This article will highlight apps that are catered to what you want to achieve, such as reducing anxiety, finding better focus or getting better sleep. There are also meditation apps designed to be used through pregnancy or for journaling. Keep reading to find the meditation app that best fits your health goals.


You have likely seen or heard advertisements for some of the more popular meditation apps including Calm and Headspace. While these apps may be the most popular, they won’t necessarily be the “best” app for everyone. Both of these apps have free trial periods but do require payment to access most of the content after that period is up. Calm and Headspace currently cost 12.99 USD per month or 69.99 USD per year.

Both apps have been scientifically studied for efficacy, though Headspace has been more thoroughly investigated. A review of studies found that out of 14 studies on the efficacy of Headspace, it did help improve symptoms of depression though results were mixed for outcomes related to mindfulness, well-being, stress, and anxiety. There has only been one study for Calm and therefore there is not as much evidence on how well it works to alleviate symptoms of psychological distress (O’Daffer et al., 2022).


Getting adequate amounts of sleep is an essential piece to your overall well-being. Getting 7-8 hours of restful sleep per night has many beneficial functions for your body including enhancing learning and memory, strengthening physical health, and clearing inflammatory neurochemicals that lead to cognitive decline (Z Assefa et al., 2015). Meditation Nest is an app that has a dedicated section for sleep resources. These resources include meditation sessions, bedtime stories, and nature sounds to help you drift off to sleep.

Pzizz is an app customized with three themes: sleep, nap, and focus. The nap setting is helpful because it provides spoken instructions along with sounds and music to help you get some rest. The focus mode plays music designed to boost productivity. The app learns what your preferences are over time and can personalize playlists accordingly.


Sometimes easing feelings of anxiety can start with trying to actively relax your mind and body. Smiling Mind is a completely free app that has dedicated programs for a variety of goals such as mindful eating, getting more sleep, or reducing stress. This is also a useful resource if you are a parent as the app has dedicated mindfulness and meditation programs for adults as well as children.

Mental Health

Healthy Minds Program is a great app for people who aren’t sure where to get started and want a well-rounded app focused on well-being. Filled with tools, education, guided programs and plenty of meditation, this great app blends neuroscience with easy-to-use practical applications.

The Healthy Minds Program is a free app that, with consistent use, has been shown to have benefits such as reduced distress and increased social connectedness (Goldberg et al., 2020). The program was developed by a neuroscientist in conjunction with the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Apps for Beginners

Buddhify is another app that is helpful for beginners and Buzzfeed named it the “best meditation app to ease anxiety”. The meditation sessions on this app are as short as 3 minutes and are designed to fit into a busy day. There are themed meditations on a variety of topics to help you face your life more mindfully. For example, one meditation session on how to face stressful situations is a practical way to incorporate more mindfulness into your everyday life.

My personal favorite it Insight Timer which labels itself as the #1 free app for sleep, anxiety and stress.  The bedtime stories feature always helps me get extra z’s.  It is easy to use and navigate the wide range of topics. 

Which App Is Best for Me?

The only way to know which meditation app is best for you is to give a few different options a try. There are so many different and effective types of mental health and personal wellbeing practices. Different people will prefer different types of practices. If you find that you just don’t like the first app you try, give another one a shot. With time and patience, you will find the app that works best for your lifestyle and goals.

In Sum

Meditation apps have been shown to have many benefits including improved mood, reduced stress, improvements in attentional control, and greater self-acceptance (Walsh et al., 2019). There are a variety of apps targeted toward different needs such as reducing anxiety, helping with sleep, or guiding women through their pregnancies. With time and patience, you can find an app that helps propel you toward your goals. With regular practice, you could experience many of the benefits meditation apps offer.    

Learn more about Online Accounting here.                   


  • Goldberg, S. B., Imhoff-Smith, T., Bolt, D. M., Wilson-Mendenhall, C. D., Dahl, C. J., Davidson, R. J., & Rosenkranz, M. A. (2020). Testing the efficacy of a multicomponent, self-guided, smartphone-based meditation app: Three-armed randomized controlled trial. JMIR Mental Health, 7(11). https://doi.org/10.2196/23825
  • O’Daffer, A., Colt, S. F., Wasil, A. R., & Lau, N. (2022). Efficacy and conflicts of interest in randomized controlled trials evaluating headspace and calm apps: Systematic review. JMIR Mental Health, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.2196/40924
  • Walsh, K. M., Saab, B. J., & Farb, N. A. S. (2019). Effects of a mindfulness meditation app on subjective well-being: Active randomized controlled trial and experience sampling study. JMIR Mental Health, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.2196/10844 
  • Z Assefa, S., Diaz-Abad, M., M Wickwire, E., & M Scharf, S. (2015). The Functions of Sleep. AIMS Neuroscience, 2(3), 155–171. ​