Five Mobile Apps for Mindfulness


Recommend these apps for patients interested in incorporating mindfulness into their care plan.

Fam Pract Manag. 2018 May-June;25(3):21-24.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.

Mindfulness interventions have demonstrated numerous benefits for patients with many medical conditions. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis cites strong evidence to support mindfulness in the treatment of depression, chronic pain, tobacco use disorder, and other addiction disorders.1,2 During pregnancy, mindfulness has been shown to improve anxiety, depression, and perceived stress.3 Mindfulness has also been shown to improve obesity-related eating behaviors and help overweight and obese individuals lose weight.4

Mobile apps enable patients to practice mindfulness anywhere. They also can help beginners to learn meditation and other mindfulness practices without investing significantly in time or transportation. To help you guide patients to the best apps, this article focuses on five that earned top ratings when reviewed using FPM's “SPPACES” criteria.


S — Source or developer of app

P — Platforms available

P — Pertinence to primary care practice

A — Authoritativeness/accuracy/currency of information

C — Cost

E — Ease of use

S — Sponsor(s)


Stop, Breathe & Think chooses the best meditation for the user based on his or her current, self-reported mood.

Source: Stop, Breathe & Think, PBC.

Platforms available: Android (http://bit.ly/1sL9ksA); iOS 10.1 or later for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (https://apple.co/L3Hp39).

Pertinence to primary care practice: The app explains how to begin meditating, the benefits of mindfulness, and even some of the pathophysiology behind meditation and mindfulness. Thirty free guided meditations help with stress, anxiety, depression, focus, compassion, and sleep. The app also includes free videos on yoga and acupressure for stress. Users can set customized timers for meditations and breathing and choose soundscapes or chimes to play during these exercises. To encourage continued use, the app tracks daily streaks of activity, total time meditated, and users' reported moods pre- and post-meditation.

Authoritativeness/accuracy/currency of information: Stop, Breathe & Think was developed by a nonprofit organization that teaches meditation concepts to children, but it is unclear who developed the app's content. Numerous television shows, magazines, and websites have featured the app, and it won the 2017 Webby People's Voice Award for Best Health App. It was last updated in April 2018 (Android and iOS).

Cost: The basic meditation content is free. Subscriptions of $9.99 per month or $59.99 per month unlock more than 60 additional meditations, eight yoga and acupressure videos, and six additional soundscapes and chimes for the meditation timer.

Ease of use: Upon opening the app, the user is asked to quickly rate his or her mood and is then directed to the most beneficial meditations.

Sponsor: Tools for Peace.


Stop, Breathe & Think is a great app for patients who are beginners and want to give meditation a try.


Happify improves mindfulness through


Dr. Rebedew is a family physician at Monroe Clinic in Albany, Wis., and a faculty member for the University of Illinois Rockford Family Medicine Residency.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial affiliations disclosed.


show all references

1. Majeed MH, Ali AA, Sudak DM. Mindfulness-based interventions for chronic pain: evidence and applications. Asian J Psychiatr. 2018;32:79–83....

2. Goldberg SB, Tucker RP, Greene PA, et al. Mindfulness-based interventions for psychiatric disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Psychol Rev. 2018;59:52–60.

3. Dhillon A, Sparkes E, Duarte RV. Mindfulness-based interventions during pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Mindfulness (NY). 2017;8(6):1421–1437.

4. Carrière K, Khoury B, Günak MM, Knäuper B. Mindfulness-based interventions for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018;19(2):164–177.

5. Howells A, Ivtzan I, Eiroá-Orosa FJ. Putting the ‘app’ in happiness: a randomised controlled trial of a smart-phone-based mindfulness intervention to enhance well-being. J Happiness Stud. 2016;17(1):163–185.

6. Reb J, Narayanan N, Ho ZW. Mindfulness at work: antecedents and consequences of employee awareness and absent-mindfulness. Mindfulness. 2015;6(1):111–122.

7. Aikens KA, Astin J, Pelletier KR, et al. Mindfulness goes to work: impact of an online workplace intervention. J Occup Environ Med. 2014;56(7):721–731.


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