COLUMN: The best meditation app for back to school


Dan Hahn

Dan Hahn is a graduate student studying English and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Dan Hahn , Columnist

The Back to School season is a season of new beginnings. In the spirit of new beginnings, I’m a new EIU graduate student in English and this is my first fall back to school as a student in over 10 years.

I’m also a new opinion writer on the DEN staff and am excited to find my niche here among my fellow columnists.

I want to dedicate my first column to emphasize how essential it is for everyone to have strategy for managing their mental health going into the new academic year, and make a recommendation to check out a mindfulness or meditation app if you have not tried one yet.

I’ve been using meditation apps since 2015 and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the popular Headspace app has a student plan for ten dollars for an entire year. Note, you need to send a copy of your registration from PAWS to qualify for the offer.

Besides Headspace, I have used the Insight Timer app for the past several years because it’s free to use. But, when I was first starting to get into meditation, I used Headspace and found it extremely helpful in establishing meditation as a daily habit.

It also has short and fun animations to help explain fundamental concepts. There are special meditations targeted for sleep, stress, anxiety, and burnout. These are issues common for many students, and I urge people to try a meditation app if they struggle with any of these.

I also subscribe to a third meditation app called Waking Up because I find the “Theory” and “Life” sections of the app valuable for the conversations on different mindfulness topics which provide guidance on how to apply the principles in real life.

The great thing about Waking Up is that if you can’t afford the membership cost you can send an email to the developers to request a free membership for one year, no questions asked.

Especially relevant now with the monetization of our attention via social media, it’s become essential for people take care of their minds. This is where I recommend to anyone, especially students given the steep discount, a meditation app like Headspace, Waking Up, or Insight Timer.

I also acknowledge there are many other apps out there for mindfulness, and there are also many ways to take care of your mind besides meditation. People should be encouraged to talk about mental health and have a strategy that suits them for when life gets hectic.

For me and my relationships, a daily mindfulness practice has proven life changing.

Thanks to these apps, when it comes to meditation, the bar for entry is low and the benefits are many.

So, what’s the best meditation app of the three that I use? Of course, it is the one that you’ll use and return to regularly.

Dan Hahn is an English Composition and Rhetoric gradute student. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 217-581- 2812