During the first semester of my third-year, my anxiety got to the point where I would sit in front of my notes and hyperventilate. Enter my therapist, who taught me how to meditate. My anxiety still stalks me, waiting for the perfect concoction of assignments, midterms and work to strike, but it’s become more manageable as I meditate with the Insight Timer app my therapist introduced.
The app is mostly free, but you can pay for a “Member Plus” subscription which allows you access to 10-day meditation courses and the ability to download meditations for offline use. However, this meditation app still beats similar apps such as Headspace, as there are thousands of free and good quality meditations added by community teachers.
One of my favourite features of the app is the ability to filter the meditations. You need to meditate to alleviate your anxiety? Just search up the word anxiety and a waterfall of sessions flood your screen. Do you only have five minutes before class? No problem, just filter all the anxiety meditations by time. Insight Timer also contains both guided mediation— someone verbally coaching your meditation— and music tracks.
Also, this app allows users to subscribe to their favourite teachers so they never miss a meditation session. All in all, this app emphasizes giving users the agency to define their meditation practice to best suit their needs.
Alongside a plethora of meditations, there is a very tangible sense of community on the app, though the degree of engagement is completely up to individual choice. When you open the app, one of the first things you see is a little world map that shows you through continents where other people are currently meditating. It also allows you to connect with other meditators through community groups and private friendships.
I’m currently part of a mindfulness group called “Be Here Now,” where people post their favourite quotes and meditations, talk about their self-reflection, or pose questions like “what are you grateful for today?” Not only are these posts wholesome, but reading about someone else’s battle with anxiety can provide the comfort or support you might need during your own journey with mental health.
This is a great app for those looking to begin meditating, whether you seek solidarity in an online community or simply want five minutes of the day to yourself, a chance to slow down, breathe, and reconnect with your sense of self. This app helped get me through my most anxious moments and as we start to approach exam season, I hope it can do the same for you.