Over the years, the mindfulness movement has increased in popularity amongst the public. The movement even found its way to the National University of Singapore, where students can take up a Mindful Psychology module as part of their course.
Whether your goal is to manage stress or anxiety, breathe or relax, mindfulness apps have also come at the right time to improve our mental wellbeing in today’s hectic world.
Many of the apps come for free, but you may want to consider upgrading packs or extras - whether they are ocean waves to keep you relaxed or bedtime stories to put you to sleep - there are many features that are designed to suit your needs.
As a user of Headspace and Cove, I find that using these apps help distract my mind from being cluttered and to refocus my attention. If you find that one app is not enough for you, try mixing with other apps to experiment with.
If you’re curious about trying any of these mindfulness apps, we have curated a list that you can start trying today.
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We all know that mental health is important, but the lack of tangible steps can make working on it difficult at times. Motivated by his own experience with anxiety and the stigma that can exist around it, Singaporean Theodoric Chew came up with Intellect to give people an accessible and easy way to begin their personal mental wellness journey.
The app takes a simple approach to mental wellness, encouraging you to make small behavioural changes in order to manage your emotions better and be more in tune with yourself. Based on cognitive behavioural therapy, the app has 4–6 week programmes that simulate how you’d work with a therapist, breaking down common issues around procrastination, decision-making, and other topics, helping you understand yourself better and make changes to the way you think through easy exercises.
With so much happening around us in a single week or even a day, Singapore-made app Journey allows you to step back from your surroundings and highlight your experiences and their impact on you. With Journey, you can look back on a specific moment or day and remember your feelings or the forgotten details. A beautiful blank canvas for you to unleash your thoughts, Journey also has a Journal coach, various Photography challenges, inspirational quotes as well as a “Hello, Blank Page” daily prompt to help you get started with your new journaling habit.
The app allows you to check your old posts chronologically like a blog, in a calendar view or even on a map, with a nifty function to tag your entries with location data. Or for the more audio-visually inclined, you can add a photo or a voice recording for some extra insights into that day for your future self too.
To incorporate ritual meditation into your lifestyle, we would suggest using Insight Timer, an impressive app with a huge library of content. Spanning over 100,000 free guided meditation lessons and access to over 11,000 teachers, Insight Timer aims to help you ease anxiety and better your sleep.
As one of the best-known mindfulness apps to explode into the market, Headspace introduces the basics of meditation and breathing exercises in a free ten-part course, coupled with cute animations. I find that as a newcomer to meditation, the narration by co-founder Andy Puddicombe (who travelled to Asia and became a Buddhist monk) to be soothing, and the exercises are easy-to-follow.
If you like journaling, Cove works like a mood journal - where you use music instead of words - to express or process your emotions. After selecting from among six moods - calm, struggling, longing, playful, clouded and gentle - add your desired musical tones to ‘layer’ your journal. I find that, by looking back at my ‘music’ journal, I was able to process bereavement and be consciously aware of what I’m feeling at those moments.
Buddhify is one of the many mindfulness apps that the company I work for, Verizon Media, has recommended to download (some of the other apps listed in our company's intranet include Superbetter, Omvana, Happify). Buddhify collates guided meditations for Walking, Stress & Difficult Emotion, Work Break, Going to Sleep, Waking Up and many other different categories for you to use. Written and voiced by a range of hand-picked teachers, the sessions last from four minutes all the way through to 30 minutes.
More than just a music player, Omvana is a digital library that brings us a vast collection of personal growth audio clips in one app. Categories include Sleep, Hypnosis, Productivity, Inspirational Speeches, Guided Meditations, Binaural Beats, and many more.
Designed as a game, the Superbetter App is created by an award-winning game designer Jane McGonigal, and powered by the Live Gamefully method; a framework that activates the psychological strengths of game play to build resilience and be stronger for life. The game encourages users to be open in trying different strategies by collaborating with allies and building resilience to tackle tough challenges.
The creators of Happify have designed a platform to engage users in writing activities and games that are designed to make us happier. Users first complete an onboarding quiz, followed by a list of activities. The activities include a host of guided meditations to writing assignments and games; and the best part is, you don’t have to complete all of them to move on to the next section.
Find a comfortable seat, relax and take a moment. A science-based mental wellness coach, MindFi is designed to help you build sustainable habits while improving and monitoring your wellbeing anytime, anywhere. Founded by Bjorn Lee, the idea stemmed from his own journey with meditation which he began to practise as a means of managing high stress.
With hundreds of meditations available depending on your mood or time of day, MindFi can bring a bit of calm and wellness into each day. With animated breathing exercises, guided meditations and even curated videos by coaches and experts sharing their best tips and tricks, there’s almost certainly a course in MindFi for you. Be it to improve your mental focus or just relax, this is your call to be mindful and live in the moment.
Wakeout! Move and smile
Studies have shown that physical activity releases endorphins in your body, triggering a positive feeling in the body. Founders Andres Canella and Pedro Wunderlich want to make the world a happier place through movement, trying out exercises with pretty much anything they can find at home, from plant pots to watermelons. Wakeout features lots of amusing, easy-to-follow physical activities, letting users get a kick out of the app’s inventive ways to get your body moving throughout the day.
For example, all you need is a cup of coffee to do the “Coffee Inhales” exercise. Simply grab your coffee as if it was the most precious object you’ve ever seen, bring it to your nose and inhale the delicious coffee aromas, allowing you to pause and enjoy this blissful morning ritual.