5 Essential Meditation Apps to Help Unwind In and Out of Your Practice

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Research has shown that meditation reduces stress and anxiety.
Research has shown that meditation reduces stress and anxiety.

Feeling physically and emotionally exhausted? You're not alone. In a survey conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 44.7% of US oncologists indicated some degree of burnout.1 To stay fresh and grounded, some oncologists turn to meditation. Research has shown that meditation reduces stress, anxiety, and depression2-4; improves sleep5; and lowers blood pressure.6 Not sure where to begin? Pull out your smartphone and download these 5 essential meditation apps:

1. Headspace

Founded by a Buddhist monk, Headspace was created to teach mindfulness to the masses. This app features hundreds of guided meditations on a range of subjects including focus, sleep, and exercise. It offers 2- to 3-minute “mini meditations” as well as “SOS” sessions for moments of stress, panic, and anxiety. It also sends “mindful moment” notifications throughout the day to keep you present.

Google Play: 4.6 stars7

App Store: 4.9 stars8

2. Insight Timer

Offering thousands of guided meditations from mindfulness experts, meditation teachers, psychologists, and neuroscientists, Insight Timer has earned a spot among the best meditation apps. This app enables you to follow your favorite teachers and browse topics ranging from sleep quality to practicing compassion. It also offers thousands of soothing ambient sounds and music tracks.

Google Play: 4.6 stars9

App Store: 4.9 stars10

3. Calm

Calm offers guided meditation sessions ranging from 3 to 25 minutes in length. These sessions zero in on topics such as calming anxiety, focus, deep sleep, forgiveness, stress management, and mindfulness at work. Calm allows you to track how many days in a row you meditate and how much time you spend meditating.

Google Play: 4.6 stars11

App Store: 4.8 stars12

4. Aura

Aura, which provides 3- to 10-minute meditations, is a solid option for time-crunched oncology professionals. Created by meditation teachers and therapists, this app uses machine learning to customize meditation sessions. Aura allows you to track your mood patterns over time and make entries in a gratitude journal. It also sends daily reminders to meditate.

Google Play: 4.4 stars13

App Store: 4.8 stars14

5. Buddhify

Buddhify offers guided meditations for mindfulness in different everyday scenarios. These meditations encourage listeners to be mindful of what they are experiencing. For example, eating meditations instruct listeners to carefully pay attention to how their food tastes.

Google Play: 4.2 stars15

App Store: 4.4 stars16

Final Note

These 5 apps are among the best available for oncology professionals high on stress and low on time. Try out these apps and take steps to achieve a work-life balance to improve your health and well-being.


  1. Shanafelt TD, Gradishar WJ, Kosty M, et al. Burnout and career satisfaction among US oncologists. J Clin Oncol. 2014;32(7):678-686.
  2. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, et al. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):357-68.
  3. Miller JJ, Fletcher K, Kabat-Zinn J. Three-year follow-up and clinical implications of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1995;17(3):192-200.
  4. Kasala ER, Bodduluru LN, Maneti Y, Thipparaboina R. Effect of meditation on neurophysiological changes in stress mediated depression. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014;20(1):74-80.
  5. Martires J, Zeidler M. The value of mindfulness meditation in the treatment of insomnia. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2015;21(6):547-52.
  6. Koike MK, Cardoso R. Meditation can produce beneficial effects to prevent cardiovascular disease. Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2014;18(3):137-43.
  7. Headspace: meditation & mindfulness. Google Play. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  8. Headspace: meditation. App Store. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  9. Insight timer – free meditation app. Google Play. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  10. Insight timer – meditation app. App Store. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  11. Calm – meditate, sleep, relax. Google Play. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  12. Calm. App Store. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  13. Aura: mindfulness & happiness. Google Play. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  14. Aura: calm anxiety & sleep. App Store. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  15. buddhify – mindfulness mediation on the go. Google Play. Accessed July 31, 2018.
  16. buddhify: meditation on the go. App Store. Accessed July 31, 2018.

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