Woman doing yoga on a roof

Top 10 Meditation Apps (& Videos) for Your Mental Health During the Pandemic

The Ultimate Resource Guide to Meditation and its Benefits

Woman doing yoga on a roof

Life is fast-paced and, all too often, we barely have the time to catch our breath.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many non-essential workers have stayed indoors, uncertain of the future and the state of the world. Nearly everyone has experienced some level of fear and anxiety.

For this reason, we developed the ultimate meditation guide for beginners.

It may sound daunting to set aside the time to meditate, but it could be more crucial to your health than you may realize. Not only can it help you live in the moment, but it can cultivate peace and positivity in your everyday life.

Here are some additional benefits that you can reap from meditation:

Meditation Benefit #1: Lessens Stress

Stress reduction is one of the greatest benefits of meditation. Extra stress can potentially disrupt your sleep, increase depression or anxiety, raise your blood pressure, and fuel fatigue. A few minutes of daily meditation may help you combat these issues and more.

According to an article by Healthline, “research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and fibromyalgia.”

Meditation Benefit #2: Reduces Anxiety

In a similar vein, the reduction of stress can lead to less anxiety. Not only can mindful meditation help reduce general anxiety, but it can lessen various anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and panic attacks.

For instance, one meditation study followed up with its volunteers several years later. Most of these individuals had “continued practicing regular meditation and maintained lower anxiety levels over the long term.” Another study found that regular meditation significantly reduced anxiety in a number of nurses.

Meditation Benefit #3: Strengthens the Attention Span

Think about it: You lift weights to train your muscles. It’s a similar concept for focused-attention meditation. If you practice this, it will help increase the strength of your attention span. This could aid you in both your professional and personal life.

One study even concluded that meditation could possibly “reverse patterns in the brain that contribute to mind-wandering, worrying, and poor attention.”

Meditation Benefit #4: Improves Sleep, Pain, and Blood Pressure

If you struggle with insomnia, pain issues, or high blood pressure, then you might want to give meditation a shot. Because insomnia is often caused by racing or “runaway” thoughts, the focus of meditation and regulated breathing has the potential to reduce your sleep issues.

The same could be said for pain or high blood pressure. Why, you may ask? According to Healthline, “Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions.”

Meditation has been shown to strengthen physical health and reduce strain on your heart.

In fact, one study looked at the effects of habitual meditation in 3,500 participants. It found that “meditation was associated with decreased complaints of chronic or intermittent pain. An additional study of meditation in patients with terminal diseases found meditation may help mitigate chronic pain at the end of life.”

Meditation Benefit #5: Potentially Lessens Age-Related Memory Loss

As if all these other benefits weren’t enough, there has been some evidence to suggest that heightened attention and clarity of thinking may help your mind stay young. One review of 12 studies found that “multiple meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers.”

In addition, “Meditation can at least partially improve memory in patients with dementia. It can also help control stress and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia.”

Learn How to Meditate

Woman stretching on a mat

Whether you’re a beginner or an old hat at meditation, here are five simple steps to reintroduce you to the practice of meditation.

  1. Settle into a comfortable position. For some, this means sitting; others prefer to lie down. You could even invest in a meditation chair, cushion, or mat.
  2. Close your eyes. If you have them, use cooling eye masks or restorative eye pillows.
  3. Do not try to control your breath—just breathe as you normally would.
  4. Notice how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Focus on your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Again, don’t try to control the pace or intensity of your breath. While it’s okay if your mind wanders, try to return your focus back to your breath.
  5. At first, try to maintain this meditation practice for about two to three minutes. With each session, try to last for longer periods of time.

Tips for Meditation

Towels and lit candles

A website called Headspace offers some great tips for each stage of the meditation process.

What to Do Before Meditation

  • Start early. Not only is meditation a great way to start the day, but a morning session will also ensure it actually gets done.
  • Same time, same place. Try to commit to meditating at the same time and in the same place every day. This is key to developing lasting habits.
  • Make sure you’re comfortable. If sitting cross-legged isn’t comfortable, then try a different position. What’s most important is to find a position that’s comfortable and won’t distract you.

What to Do During Meditation

  • Breathe normally. While meditation necessitates that you focus on your breath, it’s important that you try not to think about the breath or alter it at all.
  • Become okay with a little discomfort. You may experience negative emotions like anxiety, restlessness, or irritation while practicing meditation. As Headspace says: “Rather than trying to resist these emotions, give them your full attention and allow them to come and go.” Over time, this will get easier and easier.
  • Take mindfulness with you everywhere. No matter what your next activity might be, try to carry the mindfulness you cultivated into the next task and throughout the day.

What to Do After Meditation

  • Check in with yourself. After each session, take a moment to see how you feel on a physical, emotional, and mental level.
  • Remember the benefits of meditation. Check out the ones we outlined at the start of this blog post!
  • Record any excuses. If you decide not to meditate one day, note why you skipped it. Seeing the excuse on paper can help you minimize it.
  • Try it with a friend. A friend can act as an accountability partner. That way, you’ll be less likely to make excuses and form a lasting habit.
  • Don’t judge. Try to resist the urge to analyze your progress in terms of “good” or “bad.” Instead, try Headspace’s suggestion:

“The next time you meditate, take a minute at the end to notice if you feel any different from when you sat down—perhaps you’re a little less tense or a little more aware of how you feel. Meditation isn’t something we ever expect to master or excel at; rather, it’s a life-long skill we are constantly working on day by day.”

Now that you’re ready to start this journey, keep reading to learn about our favorite apps and tutorials for the beginning meditator!

1. Omvana App

Stacked rocks on a shore

What Is Omvana?

Omvana is considered to be the number one meditation app in 30+ countries. They offer a massive collection of meditation sessions, allowing you to choose from a number of guided sessions by authors and teachers.

So, how does it work? You’ll be given a mix board that allows you to record your own sessions, mix two sessions into one, etc. A great benefit of the app is its selection of narrated lessons by renowned leaders and public speakers.

What Supplies Do You Need?

Nothing, just the app! It’s important to note that, while some lessons/tracks are available at no cost, others may require a fee.

Who Might Like Omvana?

You might like this app if:

  • You want to customize or tailor your meditation sessions for individual needs
  • You would like access to a large library of lessons
  • You need some music-only options

How Do You Access Omvana?

Omvana app

Android App: Click here to download the Omvana app on Google Play.

iPhone/iPad Users: Click here to download the Omvana app on the App Store.


2. Brain.FM App


What Is Brain.FM?

According to an article by Yogi Approved, this app is “designed to declutter your mind with various sounds. Its main features are audio brainwave training, personalized brainwave training, and meditation sessions.”

Brain.FM tracks your progress and provides data on productivity, focus, hindsight, and more. With this app, you can play 30-minute clips of brainwave-altering sounds. They help you focus on things like work, sleep, or meditation.

After you sign up, you can choose from these categories: focus, relax, or sleep. Then, you pick a variety of themes, and hit play!

What Supplies Do You Need?

Like Omvana, Brain.FM does not require any supplies. A subscription costs a monthly fee, though.

Who Might Like Brain.FM?

You might like this app if:

  • You need a way to quiet outside chatter
  • You’re looking to improve your focus and productivity
  • You like to wear headphones and tune the world out

How Do You Access Brain.FM?

Brain.FM appAndroid App: Click here to download the Brain.FM app on Google Play.

iPhone/iPad Users: Click here to download the Brain.FM app on the App Store.


3. Joyable App

Two women with a megaphone

What Is Joyable?

The Joyable app uses mindfulness to tackle mental health issues. They offer mindful tactics to assist you with social anxiety, boost your confidence, and more. The app will assign you a coach, which starts with a 30-minute phone call to discuss your social anxiety.

You will then be able to set goals, touch base on a weekly basis, and complete online activities. All of these components are designed to help you cope with your anxiety.

What Supplies Do You Need?

Joyable is not free, so be sure to check out the cost as well as other FAQs here.

Who Might Like Joyable?

You might like this app if:

  • You do best with personalized, guided assistance.
  • You would like to tackle mental health as well as meditation.
  • You have social anxiety and would like to increase your confidence.

How Do You Access Joyable?

Joyable appAndroid App: Click here to download the Joyable app on Google Play.

iPhone/iPad Users: Click here to download the Joyable app on the App Store.


4. Happify App

Smiling woman with balloon

What Is Happify?

The Happify app is all about overcoming negative thoughts, stressors, and life’s challenges! Like Joyable, it focuses on the mental-health side of mindfulness. Yogi Approved has summed up this app nicely:

“Happify is designed to make you happier by funneling the ‘science of happiness’ through technology. Its main features are activities and games based on scientific research that suggests there are five essential skills for happiness: savoring, thanking, aspiring, giving, and empathizing.”

With Happify, you will complete tasks that strive to keep your attention on coping mechanisms. Some techniques include writing down what you are most grateful for, how you manage stress, and playing mental games. Ultimately, Happify utilizes brain-training mechanics to help you reduce stress.

What Supplies Do You Need?

No supplies are necessary. Happify is also technically free, but you will need to pay a fee if you’d like to access more advanced options.

Who Might Like Happify?

You might like this app if:

  • You struggle with happiness and would like to change that.
  • You need a user-friendly app.
  • You like simple yet visually pleasing designs.

How Do You Access Happify?

Happify appAndroid App: Click here to download the Happify app on Google Play.

iPhone/iPad Users: Click here to download the Happify app on the App Store.


5. 5-Minute Meditation You Can Do Anywhere

What Is 5-Minute Meditation?

In just a few minutes, you can reset your day in a positive way. The video is led by the incredibly soothing voice of John Davisi. Numerous comments cite the video as a great help during the quarantine and COVID-19 pandemic.

What Supplies Do You Need?

Just yourself!

Who Might Like It?

You might like this video if:

  • You’re short on time or have a busy schedule.
  • You’re constantly on the go.
  • You’re new to meditation.


6. 10-Minute Meditation for Anxiety

What Is 10-Minute Meditation?

This video is particularly helpful for those who suffer from anxiety. Also led and written by John Davisi, you can benefit from the experience and guidance of a mindfulness life coach, teacher, and speaker. Goodful, the channel that hosts this video, specializes in healthy self-care needs, from food to fitness, and everything in between!

What Supplies Do You Need?

You won’t need any supplies for this video, either. That’s one of the great things about meditation—most of the time, you’ll only need to bring yourself.

Who Might Like It?

You might like this video if:

  • You struggle with anxiety.
  • You have 10 minutes to spare.
  • You’re looking for some guided assistance.


7. 15-Minute Meditation for Self Love

What Is 15-Minute Meditation?

Another great video from Goodful, this session will lead you closer to self-love. It’s ideal for those who are short on time but can spare around 15 minutes. You’ll be asked to close your eyes and, in the process, release all the negative thoughts you have been holding on to.

This particular video asks you to forgive yourself. It will guide you through meditation and various breathing exercises.

What Supplies Do You Need?

Again, no supplies needed—just one human!

Who Might Like It?

You might like this video if:

  • You struggle with self-love.
  • You carry guilt or would like to forgive yourself.
  • You have a little more time to spare.


8. Meditation for Inner Peace – Yoga With Adriene

What Is Meditation for Inner Peace?

Peace and positivity are some of the greatest benefits you can reap from meditation. In this tutorial, Adriene will help set you on the right path. In just under 12 minutes, you can stretch your body, connect with your mind, and access your inner calm.

What Supplies Do You Need?

Wear comfy clothes and grab a yoga mat.

Who Might Like It?

You might like this video if:

  • You’re looking for yoga and meditation.
  • You’d like a more personalized touch.
  • You want to see the person who’s guiding you.


9. Daily Calm | 10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation | Be Present

What Is Daily Calm?

If you’re looking for a dose of daily calm, then this could be the perfect video for you. In just 10 minutes, Tamara Levitt will guide you through mindful meditation that can help you restore and reconnect with the present. Some have said that the key to happiness lies in the now. This video can ground you in the present and give you the necessary tools.

What Supplies Do You Need?

A chair or cushion might help, but you’re all that’s truly needed.

Who Might Like It?

You might like this video if:

  • You want to learn more about mindfulness.
  • You’d like to start a lasting habit.
  • You’re looking not just for serenity but gratitude.


10. Mindfulness Meditation – Guided 10 Minutes

What Is Mindfulness Meditation?

This video has more than 10 million views, and it’s easy to see why! Give the video a shot and see if it’s the right one for you. An accented voice will guide you through mindful meditation.

You can stay indoors while achieving inner peace. Like most of the other videos on our list, you can also accomplish this in a very short span of time.

What Supplies Do You Need?

Nothing but yourself.

Who Might Like It?

You might like this video if:

  • You’d like to try mindful meditation.
  • You trust the number of views/likes a video has received.
  • You feel calmer while listening to accented voices.

Why You Should Pursue Meditation

Woman in meditation pose

Now more than ever, we could all stand to improve our mental and emotional health. You can do it anywhere, and you don’t need special equipment or memberships. It’s both accessible and widely available. You can even find meditation courses as well as support groups.

In these trying times, a meditation habit could make all the difference. Start today and improve your quality of life. Whether you have hours or minutes of time, a little bit each day is all you need.

Remember: Don’t knock it till you try it.

Good luck!