As we are trying to raise awareness and funds for the Movember Foundation (Please refer to photos and if you want to donate please follow the link – https://mobro.co/thomaseckardt64?mc=1 ) we thought it would be worth assessing one of the growing trends in mental wellness, Mindfulness Apps. We downloaded 5 apps that are said to promote mindfulness and reviewed them.
Price: $59.99 per year
Pros: The download and set up of Aura is easy and quick. The design is smart, simple and easy to navigate. The original download is free, with subscription needed to enable most features. The short bursts of meditation session are also really easy to fit in with a busy day.
Cons: We didn’t like the ‘voice’ and there is no option to change this. We also were unsure about entering feelings into an app (this is probably paranoia with all the recent data breaches… I don’t want to be served up advertising based on what im feeling that day)
Outcome: Personally we feel that there are better things to listen to for free or a better cost than this app.
Price: $149.99 per year
Pros: This is clearly a very well build app. It uses simple animations and techniques to guide you through mindfulness. Again, the short sessions are good to fit into a busy schedule. It has a very well built drop-down menu and colourful icons to differentiate between the categories. We also liked the broad range of kids options.
Cons: It is fairly hard to figure out how to track progress and save favourite courses. There is also again no option to change voice if wanted (everyone has a personal preference on this).
Outcome: It’s a great app if you are looking to start learning about mindfulness. However, it is fairly expensive compared to other options.
Stop, Breathe & Think
Price: $85.99 yearly; $ 13.99 monthly).
Pros: The check in feature seems to give a more analytical approach to mindfulness at the start of an exercise. It directs you to something that is most appropriate for you on any given day. We also liked the 8-minute long body scan which encourages you to ‘check in’ with your whole body. The main advantage was that there are options to listen in multiple voices and languages which the other all lack.
Cons: The app felt like it was designed for a younger audience with a more youthful feel (we might be showing our age here!). However, it seems to be aimed at the under 20 audience. We also felt that the overall design was a bit ‘messy’ and fairly confusing navigation.
Outcome: We liked a lot of the features on this app. If you can get past the youthfulness it does have a lot to recommend it.
Price: $52.99 per year
Pros: Calm gets you going instantly. As soon as you open the app you are welcomes to the sound of the ocean. Again, it is a beautiful app that is great to work through. You have a choice of sounds and images to relax you direct on the home screen. In particular we liked the Sleep function (Stories).
Cons: Although the instant playing of background noise is good, we had trouble shutting this off. Going into a meeting with raid noises coming from your pocket might not be the impression you were hoping to give.
Outcome: We liked it. Its not expensive, there are options for sleep and noise relaxation as well as voice led meditation.
Price: $179 per year
Pros: Ok, technically this isn’t a mindfulness specific app. It is an app for full cognitive testing. However, it has got a well developed Mindfulness section. We actually liked the other games included in this app and that does justify the higher price tag. The mindfulness section is new and still being populated but there are several courses already that are easy to follow, short and well structured. Again, we liked the sleep options.
Cons: Technically this isn’t designed as a mindfulness app. As such the mindfulness section is more of an add-on than a core criteria.
Outcome: We liked it, but we liked it because of the games section as opposed to mindfulness. If you are looking for something that is designed to improve mental ability then this is for you, if you want a dedicated mindfulness app then keep looking.