Meditation For Entrepreneurs: Top Meditation App Review
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you sign up for an app through an affiliate link, I get additional premium features on the app at no cost to you.
Ever feel like your thoughts are moving so fast that you can’t control them? Like your to-do list is so deeply ingrained in your brain that you can’t ever escape?
Hey, I’ve totally been there my friend. Not only is it stressful, but it’s so mentally exhausting to have your brain going all the time.
Nowadays, our society seems to value productivity over fulfillment. We focus on ticking things off the to-do list. But we don’t spend nearly as much time experiencing the actual impact of these checked boxes on our happiness and fulfillment.
Thanks to our usual fast paced, high stress operation, we see tons of people flocking to mindfulness. We crave a way to stop overthinking the past and worrying about the future. We want a way of life that isn’t about goal setting, but pure and honest appreciation of a given moment.
Wow, I’m already feeling relaxed just writing this out.
I’ve only barely begun to practice meditation myself (the challenge consists of different beginners exercises I’ve picked up over the years). But there’s a plethora of free meditation resources available to bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newbies.
So, I downloaded 4 of the top rated meditation apps to sample their starter series. The starter series is the initial welcome to app. I hoped to learn more about meditation and hopefully discover a technological aid to take into the future. All apps are free to download with paid upgrades available.
For the purposes of this review, I tried to sample only the starter series to get a little taste of the app. And while I initially wanted to do one meditation a day for 28 days straight, it took me much longer than expected (because hey, learning a new habit is hard!). So don’t give yourself a hard time if it takes you a while to pick it up as part of your routine. That’s totally normal and human of us.
In the order that I tried them, these are four of the top meditation apps for beginners. They're available for free download (with paid versions available). I try to provide a full written review of each application’s features and specialties along with my personal impression and experience. There's also pinnable review summaries if you select to pin on the left-hand share bar!
Note: This post is NOT sponsored by any of the following apps (although I would only ever give you my honest review anyway). But just in case you wanted to know for sure :)
Summary: Simple Habit is all about bringing meditation to even the busiest of people. Designed by Harvard scientists and meditation experts, it’s specialty is helping you meditate in mere 5 minute increments.
First Impression: I was instantly blown away by all the areas that Simple Habit can bring meditation to your life. They have a wide library of guided meditations to bring mindfulness to virtually every minute of your day. From morning meditations, to work performance, to helping you sleep, there’s a guided meditation to help you with all areas of your life.
Additionally, the app can sync with your phone’s calendar to send you reminder notifications to practice. I don’t use my calendar too much, but I found it a little annoying when I would look at it to see Simple Habit every single day. So if I had any recommendation for the app, I would be to create a built-in notification from the app itself and not from my calendar. But that’s a pretty minor ask.
Available Meditations: There are many meditations available with the free download. The top ranking ones being Drift to Sleep, 31 Day Fresh Start, Deep Sleep, and Find Happiness. Most meditations are on the paid plan, but they are extremely generous with offering trial period of the paid plan so you can truly decide if it’s worth the investment for you.
Starter Series: This was the first app that I tried in my meditation app endeavor. And I found the starter series to be delightfully refreshing. As a meditation newbie, the 5 minute increments are completely doable. I feel like I learned a few techniques and truly enjoyed the soothing voice of the teacher. She moved through the meditation at just the right pace for me and was talking nearly the entire time.
Personally, I found the lack of pauses to be helpful for first starting out. Any empty space would be a little too empty for my meditation skill at the time. There was no additional background music for the starter series, only the sound of the instructor’s voice (which was quite soothing, in case you’re wondering). It’s a great sample platter to experiment with and find your favorite styles.
Additional Notes: I do wonder if it’s an app that you might “out-grow” with experience. Though, I’m totally down to find out. It’s extremely easy and fun to use so I’m interested in exploring further.
Simple Habit is also available on desktop, which I totally love. You can access all their meditations, read their blog, or even listen to their (beta) focus player. The focus player is a background soundtrack that’s supposed to increase focus during work. You can set the soundtrack to either 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or infinite. I’m listening to it as I write this very review!
Bottom Line: Simple Habit is a great app for beginners and totally takes away the initial meditation intimidation factor. Get two weeks free from me when you sign up here!
Not only will you learn the basics of meditation in their starter series, but you also learn specific techniques to practice in the future. I totally recommend giving it a try!
Summary: Similar to Simple Habit, Headspace is all about bring you calm via meditation in just minutes a day. Headspace also uses guided meditation as its method of teaching as well as educational videos.
First Impression: Headspace lives how it teaches and approaches design with a minimalist look. Each page has limited functionality so you don’t get overwhelmed or distracted with #alltheprettythings.
The design incorporates cartoon characters and imagery which makes meditation seem that much more approachable. It doesn’t feel like something that’s highly luxurious or you have to be a certain type of person to practice.
I totally admit that I found the app a bit underwhelming at first. Especially after my time with Simple Habit’s gorgeous library. But after using the app, I certainly appreciated the functionality of a minimalistic design.
Available Meditations: Headspace has a variety of meditation subjects to try. From meditation basics, to happiness, and even sports, Headspace covers a variety of personal and professional goals. Most series are in the paid subscription, but you can try part 1 of almost every series for free.
Starter Series: The first few meditations in the starter series are just 3 minutes long. So, they’re completely do-able for beginners. As you work your way through the starter series, the meditations get longer. Which I enjoyed because it gave you room to grow throughout the process.
Additionally, the starter series includes informational videos before a few of the practices. These videos provided the best new information I’ve acquired on meditation by far. If there’s any reason to download this app, it’s to go through the starter series and learn Headspace’s approach to meditation. They make meditation easy to understand and contextualize. Plus, you can put everything they teach immediately into practice with a short guided meditation afterwards.
Aside from the videos, the starter series includes guided meditation with a narrator and no background noise. I found this narrator’s voice to feel less grounded and stable than other guided meditations. It didn’t center my mind like I usually like. I felt a bit wispy and all over the place, but that’s certainly not a bad thing for some people who want more freedom in their mind.
Additional Notes: Headspace does have a desktop app. The desktop app is also minimalist in design. But I love the availability of the app on my computer or my phone. Additionally, Headspace follows up with you via email based on your activity in the app (i.e. where you are in the app or if you missed a meditation). Depending on what you like, this could be highly beneficial. But if you find it annoying, you can alway unsubscribe.
Bottom Line: The educational videos provided in Headspace’s starter series make it completely worth downloading and trying. Not only will you learn what meditation is, but how to practicing it in a way that works for real people, real lives, and real brains. Beyond that, the app is perfect for those who enjoy minimalistic designs and a straight-forward, yet totally friendly and approachable persona.
* Update: I am now OBSESSED with Omvana's 6-Phase Meditation in the morning!
Summary: Omvana is an audio library full of guided meditations, hypnosis, and other soothing soundtracks. Of all the apps that I’ve tried, Omvana was the most scientifically based in its approach to meditation.
First Impression: At first glance, the app felt overwhelming and cluttered. Basically, the opposite of Headspace. There were so many tracks and different buttons. They weren’t as organized as Simple Habit.
Fortunately, they have an introductory track that tells you exactly how to use Omvana. They have guided meditations and hypnosis sessions. But they also give you the option of overlaying the tracks with different sounds. So, you could have a nature track or water sounds in the background of your instructor’s session. It’s a great way to personalize your experience to exactly what you need from it.
Available Meditations: Omvana is the only app of the ones I tried with hypnosis sessions. While I was a bit skeptical at first (mostly because I have no experience with hypnosis), I found the experience to be rejuvenating and certainly worth repeating. They have a variety of free and paid tracks from some of the top meditation gurus from around the world.
Starter Series: The starter series I chose was Beginners Meditation. It’s a guided meditation practice that involves a mixture of meditation and hypnosis. This meditation was a truly rejuvenating experience. And I truly loved the steps we took. But my biggest problem with the track was that the instructor went way too fast. This grew frustrating because I didn’t have enough time to actually enjoy the benefits I was getting from the exercise. I even did a practice with Jeramia and he felt the same way. Sadly, this demotivated me to not finish the sequence. But they’re 20 minute 6 Phase Meditation is on my list. I figure it will be better paced with a full 20 minutes? We’ll find out I guess!
Additional Notes: Omvana wants to be an app that it isn’t quite...yet. It wants to provide all sorts of user functionalities between free and paid tracks, background sound tracks to mix with guided lessons, and a massive library of mental exercises from experts around the world. While this all sounds great in theory, the designers haven’t quite put this completely into practice (again, yet). I would try to mix soundtracks and the guided soundtrack would keep restarting. I went to their website and most of the links didn’t work on their nav bar. Yikes. Just looking at the library is cluttered and overwhelming.
Bottom Line: Omvana provides fabulous content. I love the scientifically based focus for their tracks and all the features they dream of becoming and providing. The developers just haven’t reached the implementation level they want. But I know it could be a phenomenal app once they effectively implement the features they dream of.
Summary: Calm is one of the most popular meditation apps out there. If you’ve got one downloaded on your phone, chances are it’s Calm! Calm is all about reducing anxiety, lowering your stress level, improving your sleep, and increasing happiness. Um, yes please? Don’t you want some of that?
First Impression: Calm opens up to a mountain scene with rippling water. It’s instantly soothing and you can certainly feel their name in practice. You can hear soothing nature sounds (water flowing and birds chirping) to get the full effect. Interestingly enough, this is the apps “normal” state. So until you choose to actively go into a section, you’ve got this soothing environment to hang out in. You can also change your environment by swiping. There’s a crackling fire, rain pouring, or silent view of the earth rotating.
Available Meditations: Calm’s meditation series are all about furthering your personal development. So instead of being focused on a part of your life (like many of the other apps), the tracks are focused on areas of you. For example, reducing anxiety, practicing self care, managing your emotions, and boosting your performance. I appreciate that the meditations in Calm are focused on bringing all of the qualities of meditation to you instead of just pumping the benefits out of you. So, in other words, helping you bring inner peace to yourself instead of making you a mindful eater. It’s a small nuance, but I definitely appreciate it.
Starter Series: The starter series was instructional as well as educational. The instructor would give you a bit of background on meditation and mindfulness while also guiding you through the meditation and teaching you different techniques. You could hear the calming nature sounds in the background as well.
I especially liked that the instructor would pause for moments to allow you to practice yourself. While I felt the need for a heavy instructor presence when I was just starting (with Simple Habit), my meditation skill increased by the time I started using Calm. I enjoyed the moments of practicing “on my own.” And right as I was tempted to peek at how much longer I had, the instructor returned with her soothing voice.
Additional Notes: Calm also has sleep stories. Basically, soothing stories that you can listen to that will help you fall asleep. They’re supposed to be a transition time between mental stimulation and mental calming. I haven’t tried these yet myself, but they look like an interesting way to sooth your mind before bed.
Bottom Line: Calm is a great meditation staple. If you’re looking to calm your mind and slow your racing thoughts, Calm is a great place to start. Especially as a meditation newbie.