There are a lot of apps out there for mental health; mindfulness and meditation apps are also currently popular. Smiling Mind is my favorite app in both categories.
Smiling Mind is a meditation app that comes from a non-profit organization out of Australia. Mindfulness and meditation has been on trend lately, and with good reason: Research is finding it has numerous benefits, including improving mood, managing pain, and boosting memory and attention. This app is geared towards mindfulness/meditation novices, with recorded guided meditations and short, written resources. Features of the app include:
Price: FREEEE. I’ve seen other meditation apps that offer limited access for free, but the majority of their content behind a pay wall. Not Smiling Mind. You can access all their high-quality content by just downloading the app. No subscriptions, no payments.
Age-specific content. The app includes rich mindfulness programs for adults as well as young people of different age groups. I noticed on their website Smiling Mind has a goal “to reach 5M young people by 2021,” and their content reflects that. They are currently featuring three sessions guided by Emmet and Lucy, characters from The Lego Movie. The app’s not just for kids, though–their content for adults is also awesome, and extensive.
LOTS of content. I tried to count up how many different guided meditations they have available, but it was hard to do–they do repeat some specific sessions across their different programs and playlists. The number is definitely in the hundreds, though.
Situation-specific content: Their content includes programs like beginning mindfulness, commuting, sleep (my favorite!), playing sports, and for back-to-school.
A user-friendly interface. The app tracts your time meditating, keeps a record of which guided meditations you listened to, and lets you mark your favorites. It’s bright and happy, and easy to navigate.
I use this app most often to help me fall asleep. I’ve done a few posts about sleep lately, since it can be an issue for lots of people with mental health concerns. (I’m also running a survey on the topic: take it here!) When I’m struggling, I’ve found guided meditation to be a fantastic tool for getting to sleep. My favorite sessions for this on the Smiling Mind app are “Body Scan” and “Starry Night.” The guided meditations tend to be around ten minutes or less, which I find to be a good length, and they are high-quality recordings. The narrator’s Australian accent also doesn’t hurt.