According to data from the app analytics platform, Sensor Tower, the top 10 grossing self-care apps gained $27 million in worldwide revenue, in the first quarter of 2018. Also significant, is the fact that the top performing apps were developed to assist with mindfulness and meditation. This is encouraging news, and it makes perfect sense that health and wellness apps mean big business.
The growing demand for mindfulness and self-care focused apps is three-fold: (1) There is an across-the-board acceptance that self-care is, in fact, a priority and a necessity. (2) The benefits of mindfulness meditation have infiltrated mainstream media with solid, evidenced-based research making it a more widely accepted practice. (3) In general, people are strapped for time. Self-care apps help bridge the gap and fulfill the need to nurture the four universal needs or dimensions of life (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual).
The physical body requires movement to thrive -- while the mind is best served through introspection and meditation. Here is a short list of apps that will help you work toward a balance of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of good health -- along with an additional dose of emotional resilience:
1. Stop, Breath & Think
This meditation app will help you integrate more mindfulness practices into your day. When you first open Stop, Breath & Think it simply asks, "How are you?" You are then prompted to answer a series of short questions to determine what type of meditation matches your current state of mind. Most of the guided meditations are short -- only a small investment of time is required to help restore a sense of calm. What I love most about this company is their steadfast mission to introduce mindfulness and wellbeing exercises suitable for all ages -- whether it's children, teens or adults. They feature a special version of the app just for kids and an impressive suite of free mindfulness tools for educators.
2. Down Dog
As the name implies, Down Dog is an app that will help you get your yoga fix in -- at home or on-the-go. Down Dog masterfully delivers an in-studio yoga experience and is ultra simple to navigate. There are plenty of options to customize the vinyasa or "flow" class of your choice, including the length and style of class, level of intensity, as well as the type of music and instruction.
3. Insight Timer
Meditation comes in all forms and sizes, and this app aims to serve them all. This company asserts that they are one of the top free meditation apps available today, and the home to over five million meditators. Without a doubt, Insight Timer has helped countless subscribers across the globe discover the transformational magic of meditation. If you are curious about how to start a meditation practice or have years of experience, one of your first downloads should be Insight Timer. You will be hooked.
Strava is considered the gold standard for anyone who has a penchant for cycling or running. The GPS feature tracks your runs and rides and shares your stats and routes with friends and followers. It can get quite competitive, and virtual awards are up for grabs for top performers. Competition aside, Strava is a data-lovers dream. You can gain a great deal of insight on your progress, and track and analyze every aspect of your run or ride. There is also a social aspect to the app -- friends post rides or runs from interesting places around the world and add images as well.
Calm is another popular app to boost your mindfulness meditation practice. Their free "7 Days of Calm" series comes highly recommended, particularly if you are new to meditation. Calm offers some beautiful meditations to help you get a handle on everyday challenges such as enjoying restful sleep, improving relationships, and coping with anxiety and stress.
This company is doing some wonderful science-based work educating the world about the importance of quieting the mind and body. Headspace is the perfect place to start if you want to begin a mindfulness meditation practice -- and it is customized for all-ages, including young children. The options within the app are incredibly diverse. For example, there are guided meditations to help you keep calm during your commute. Corporations such as LinkedIn, Spotify, Delta, and Airbnb have leveraged the app to promote health and contentment in the workplace.
7. Asana Rebel
If you need to stop, drop, and take a heart-pumping yoga break, Asana Rebel fits the bill. The company's tagline is, "Yoga inspired fitness" and that is precisely what they deliver. You can track your workouts and fine-tune your class to suit your time constraints and level of practice.
Can't get to the gym? Aaptiv is multi-purpose fitness app with impressive options to customize your workout down to every last detail -- including music. Many people are drawn to this app, as it is audio only -- no videos to watch. The instructors are encouraging and knowledgeable and the app offers audio inspiration to enhance multiple fitness regimes such as running, yoga, Pilates, Tabata, strength training, treadmill, and indoor cycling. You can drill down to the precise workout you want with the guidance of a trained expert. You will never be bored with your workout again.
The concept behind this app is brilliant. ThinkUp allows you to record and listen to positive affirmations in your own voice. In order to develop a positive mindset, repetition is an essential part of the process -- assisting you in "reprogramming" negative thinking. The app helps you to reflect on more healthy, intentional thoughts and acts as a catalyst for constructive self-talk. ThinkUp has a large section of recommended positive affirmations for myriad life situations, such as managing anger, improving self-confidence, reaching career goals, including statements as simple as, "I am grateful for the good in my life." If you choose to record your own, there is also the option to add music from your personal library.