Our hectic lifestyles no longer affords us the luxury of just taking a time out. Picture: Flickr.com

In search of inner peace? Try these free apps, writes Marchelle Abrahams.

Your smartphone is your connection to the world and beyond. It keeps you abreast of the latest news, trends and gossip. It’s also one of the main contributors to your stress and anxiety levels; a case of digital overload.

Meditation apps are now becoming a sort of Zen for people who want to become more mindful and less stressed.

Headspace chief executive Rich Pierson recently argued that meditation is the new jogging. During a Too Embarrassed To Ask podcast, Pierson said the rise of meditation is partly fuelled by faddish celebrities endorsing it, but that clinical trials have shown it does work.

The question is: Do meditation apps work as effectively as the real thing? Pierson agrees, saying that he believes it’s important to bring guided meditation to the phone because “that’s where people spend their time, that’s where their stress is". If you’re thinking of decreasing your overexposure to the modern world, why not consider downloading one of these apps?

Calm

If you struggle to concentrate and need help sleeping, Calm is the app for you. The 7-day free trial allows users access to certain programs, including the 7 Days of Sleep exercise. Like Headspace, it’s a guided meditation app that works with scenes which are free to download.

Once you’ve selected your screen and background, there are two options to choose from: meditate and profile. The profile screen shows you how many times you’ve meditated in a calendar month, while the meditate option gives you a selection of meditations to choose from.

Download it: www.calm.com.

Calm is a guided meditation app that works with scenes which are free to download. Picture: www.calm.com

Mindfulness

If you're serious about meditation, the Mindfulness App is a definite contender. It’s jam-packed with features, including a five-day guided meditation practise, meditation reminders and personalised offers.

The one thing that sets it apart from the rest is the health app integration capability - because everyone knows that mind, body and soul go hand in hand.

Download it: themindfulnessapp.com/

The Mindfulness App is packed with features, including a 5-day guided meditation practise. Picture: YouTube.com

Headspace

Probably one of the most popular meditation apps, Headspace has been downloaded more than 16 million times. The app is a guided meditation tool for novices and those who are pros.

Once you’re signed up, choose a topic you want to focus on and the app suggests a few exercises for you to try.

If you’re subscribed, you’ll have access to hundreds of guided meditations from the Headspace library like mini meditations, exercises on mindfulness for everyday tasks and much more.

You can listen to Headspace while on the go and download sessions to use offline.

Download it: www.headspace.com

Headspace has been downloaded more than 16 million times. Picture: Flickr.com

Buddhify

Buddhify was named by Buzzfeed as the best meditation app to ease anxiety. There is one downside - you have to pay for it (iOS $4.99 (R70); Android $2.99). But once you download it, it’s yours for life.

The meditation tracks have been custom made to integrate all parts of daily life, and is full of more than 80 short, guided audio exercises which help you develop mindfulness, calm and compassion.

There are meditations for work, going to sleep, when stressed, travelling and walking. The new interface also allows users to engage with their team of experts, and allows solo time for when you want to meditate without guidance.

Download it: buddhify.com

Buddhify has meditations for work, going to sleep, when stressed, travelling and walking. Picture: Supplied