5 best meditation apps to relieve work stress

The workday is stressful enough without a global pandemic breaking out. Here are some tools to ease anxiety.

Work has significant impacts on employees' mental health. The stress of completing tasks, balancing responsibilities, managing time, and keeping superiors happy can be exhausting. More than half (55%) of US employees experience burnout at work, with the majority of those (86%) directly connecting their burnout to job satisfaction, a University of Phoenix report found. 

One way to avoid burnout is through better self-management, reported TechRepublic contributor Mary Shacklett, which can be achieved through meditation. A common self-care practice, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and is more modernly used to help reduce stress. 

Research from the Mayo Clinic found that meditation can reduce negative emotions, help manage stress, increase self-awareness, and more. However, meditating independently can be difficult for beginners, or even experienced meditators. 

The following five apps can help lead the way. Download these to your smartphone for guidance in finding your zen. 

1. Headspace

One of the most recognizable apps on the market, Headspace has hundreds of guided meditations to help keep restless minds at peace. With two new features—The Wake Up and Move Mode—the app can also guide you through quick exercises to relieve stress. Headspace even has short SOS meditations for quick moments of mindfulness throughout the day. 

Headspace is available on the App Store and Google Play store at $12.99/month or $69.99/year.

Check out Headspace

2. Insight Timer

Winner of TIME magazine and Women's Health Apps of the Year award, Insight Timer offers thousands of guided meditation from neuroscientists, mindfulness experts, psychologists, and professors. Users can select sessions from a variety of topics including how to sleep deeply, dealing with anxiety and reducing stress, focus and concentration, leadership, and more. 

Insight Timer is free on the App Store and Google Play store

Check out Insight Timer

3. Calm

Another well-known app, Calm offers guided meditations, breathing programs, stretching exercises, sleep stories, and soothing music for users. The guided meditations are featured in lengths of three, five, 10, 15, 20, or 25 minutes, depending on your schedule. Sleep stories are bedtime stories that help anxious minds settle. Users can track their mindfulness progress by seeing daily streaks and their amount of mindful minutes. 

Calm is available on the App Store and Google Play store for $14.99/month or $69.99/year.

Check out Calm

4. Stop, Breathe & Think

Stop, Breathe & Think has more than 55 personalized guided meditations, as well as yoga and acupressure videos. The app provides a daily check-in so users can record how that day's meditation went, as well as their moods. Users can track daily streaks, weekly settledness, their top emotions, and total time meditated. 

Stop, Breathe & Think is available on both the App Store and Google Play store. The foundational meditations are free, but the rest of the features are available for a $9.99/month or $58.99/year subscription. 

Check out Stop, Breathe & Think

5. Aura

Aura offers three-, seven-, or 10-minute meditations to help reduce stress and boost positivity. The meditations are personalized for the user and can be saved to listen to again. It also features an unguided meditation with sounds of nature for a more free flowing session. Users can track their mood to learn about their mood pattern, integrate Aura with Apple Health, and set up daily mindful breathing reminders. 

Aura is available on the App Store and Google Play store for $11.99/month, $59.99/year, or a one-time payment of $399.

Check out Aura