Five mindfulness apps to reduce stress and improve mental health

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Life is full of distractions. New and old stresses pull us out of our present moment and send our minds elsewhere. That’s where mindfulness can help. 

Mindfulness is an important part of holistic mental health. It’s the ability to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings and focus on what’s important. 

Put simply, mindfulness is about being present. 

Mindfulness can be achieved through meditation. Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not about shutting off your mind or ignoring everything around you. It’s actually the opposite. 

Meditation helps us focus in on the world around us through our senses. The noises around us. The chair beneath us. Meditation also helps us understand our thoughts. When we focus through meditation, we can better pay attention to the coming and going of our thoughts. 

Meditation doesn’t always have to be peaceful, but it does often lead to more peace later. Training your brain to be more mindful can help reduce stress, get better sleep, and be present and undistracted during important moments in your life. 

Another great thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere. Here are five recommended apps for practicing meditation and embracing a more mindful lifestyle.

Headspace, a free app with guided meditations and emergency exercises for high-anxiety moments.

Insight Timer, a free app with thousands of guided meditations, calming music, and a customizable timer.

Simple Habit, a free app with short guided meditations.

Calm, a free app with guided meditations, breathing programs, calming music, and narrated bedtime stories. 

Meditation Studio, a paid app with guided meditations and courses taught by meditation experts.