Meditation is wonderful but it can be daunting. An easy way to start is to use a recorded, guided meditation. For that I unabashedly and emphatically recommend the Insight Timer app. Bonus: it’s free!
According to Healthline, there are at least 12 science-backed benefits to meditation, from stress reduction to decreased blood pressure. By using the aforementioned app, I’ve made meditation a daily habit, which in turn has helped focus my mind and calm my body. Between me and that Healthline site, what more proof do you need that meditation will improve your entire existence?!
I’ve used the Insight Timer on my phone ever since a friend informed me that it included thousands of guided meditations. Prior to that conversation, I had been under the impression that the Insight Timer was just a timer, yes with a very pleasing meditation bowl chime as the alarm, but still just a timer. Well the app does way more than time your own self-guided and silent meditations, it also connects with you with other users all over the world. And it offers audio courses. And the option to save your favorite recordings. And a paid option to listen to your bookmarked favorites offline. And… you get the idea.
At this moment nearly half a million meditations have been practiced with the app just today. I know this because when I launch the app it tells me this info along with how many people are meditating near my specific location. It tells me what my friends on the app have been listening to, and it alerts me if anyone has attempted to connect with me via the platform. These may sound like silly features, but it’s actually really cool to feel part of a big global network of people all doing the same thing as me. When I complete a meditation, the app shows me who is meditating at the same exact time, and prompts me to say “thank you for meditating with me” which is lovely and simple and a great way to get in the habit of expressing gratitude.
The app is user friendly and intuitive; the icons at the bottom of the screen allow you to quickly jump from feature to feature. There’s a search function to find specific subjects and it recommends additional listening after you make a selection. You can also search by length, so if you have only five minutes to meditate, you can find plenty of specific five-minute meditations.
My current favorites are anything related to the law of attraction, but there are nearly 13,000 different meditations available on a wide variety of topics, everything from deep sleep to nature sounds. Users can rate the recordings which is handy; it can be overwhelming to search for a certain topic and recording length, and still be faced with hundreds of options. Another advantage of the social connection is being able to recommend meditations to your friends, an even better way to filter through the wealth of choices.
A new feature is the ability to donate to the creator of a meditation. For instance, I listen to Gale Minchew frequently, and after I finish listening to one of her meditations, a handy but unobtrusive button appears at the top, giving me the opportunity to contribute a small payment as a thank you. Anyone can record a meditation and upload it to the app, so it’s an easy way to make some extra money if your addition is well received.
I practice several forms of meditation, but I find guided meditations to be the easiest way to start a regular practice. Having a recording tell me exactly what to do helps me stop thinking and start relaxing. My routine of using the app as a meditation tool has helped me bring intention to my actions, fall asleep when my mind is racing, actively practice gratitude, visualize success and break cycles of negative thinking. There are so many other potential uses and benefits, why not give it a shot? Also, David Lynch and Jerry Seinfeld*** are both daily practitioners; if you meditate too, you can be like them!
***NOTE: They practice transcendental meditation but still, you can be kind of like them if you use this app…