Mindfulness Apps

The free Plum Village App has been lovingly created with many volunteered hours of work to allow us all to take Plum Village with us wherever we go.

There are also a range of other meditation apps which can support our mindfulness practice and we list them here.

Often when we are on our computers or smartphones, we become completely lost in our work and completely disconnected from our body in the here and now. You may like to program a bell of mindfulness on your computer or smartphone and every quarter of an hour (or as often as you like), the bell sounds so you have a chance to stop, breathe and relax.

Listen to a sound of the bell 0:28

Breathing in and out three times is enough to release the tension in the body and smile, and then continue your work. If we’re in the middle of a conversation, hearing the bell of mindfulness can be a helpful reminder to practice mindful, compassionate speech.

There are also virtual Sanghas, guided meditation apps, and other mindfulness apps and tools available online. You may like to check out Plumline if you’d like to find a virtual sangha in the Plum Village Tradition (and don’t forget you can find a local group that meets up near you by checking out our international sangha directory).

Here are some mobile and desktop apps we hope you’ll find helpful in supporting your energy of mindfulness throughout the day.

The Plum Village App (free)

Official Plum Village mobile app

Operating System: Android | iOS

Plum Village is a new meditation app that can support us to cultivate mindfulness, compassion and joy through guided meditations, deep relaxations, practice poems, bells of mindfulness and many other features.

Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower.

In the last decade, countless scientific studies confirmed that a sustained mindfulness practice promotes relaxation, reduced stress levels, better sleep, reduced anxiety, and increased concentration. In general the benefits of meditation have been proven to improve mental health and the overall well-being of practitioners.

The Plum Village app is one of the few mindfulness apps that offer completely free content, including high quality, rare guided meditations offered by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as many other monastic teachers in this Buddhist tradition. It’s a great way to support your daily meditations.

The app features resources treasured by thousands of Plum Village practitioners, like guidance on practicing with the inner child, the famous pebble meditation, the four mantras, the five contemplations before eating, guided deep relaxations (body scan), music tracks with practice songs and chants offered by nuns, monks, and lay practitioners, and even nature sounds recorded in the Plum Village Monastery in France, and other practice centers around the world.

This app can be used by experienced practitioners and is at the same time a great fit for new meditators, offering detailed guidance on how to get started, answers offered by Thich Nhat Hanh to frequently asked questions, and podcasts with more than 300 Dharma Talks..

The Plum Village app works on all iPhone and Android devices.

Download from the iTunes App Store (Apple)

Download from Google Play

Visit the website

Support the app with a donation

Other Mindfulness Apps

Insight Timer (in-app purchases | Android | iOS)

Originally a meditation timer, Insight Timer is now a fun, connected way to support your meditation practice, as well as a marketplace for mindfulness exercises, courses, masterclasses, and mindfulness meditation sessions. It includes free guided mediations from Thich Nhat Hanh and other leading meditation teachers. For those new to meditation, there are introductory guided meditations and a supportive community to help you get started. Insight Timer works on all iPhone and Android devices.

Download Insight Timer from Google Play (Android)
Download Insight Timer from the App Store (Apple)

MindBell (free | Android)

MindBell rings periodically during the day, to give you the opportunity to stop, breathe and smile. Stopping with the sound of the bell is an essential practice developed by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community, and is at the foundation of cultivating mindfulness, calm awareness, presence, and self-compassion throughout the day.

Additionally, MindBell can be used as a timer for you meditation sessions.

Download MindBell from Google Play

Headspace (in-app purchases | Android | iOS)

The Headspace app is considered one of the best meditation apps for beginners. Its goal is to help us cultivate the life-changing skills of mindfulness in order to reap the benefits of meditation.

Headspace is a paid app: it offers a free version with 10 lessons, but if you become a monthly subscriber, you can access to hundreds of guided meditations for your daily practice, on a large variety of topics, ranging from stress and anxiety to sleep and focus, and even bedtime stories.

There are seven-day check in sessions and daily meditations recorded by ex-Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, aimed at helping us build healthier and happier relationships with the people we love, and Headspace SOS sessions to help us breathe and find a place of calm and relaxation during meltdown moments. The key methods the app offers are breathing exercises and body scans.

Download Headspace from Google Play (Android)
Download Headspace from iTunes (Apple)

Meditation Apps for Desktop

Bell of Mindfulness (free browser extension)

This is a simple bell that reminds us to take a short pause from whatever we’re doing on the computer, and come back to our breathing. As Thich Nhat Hanh has taught, returning to our breathing reconnects us with our body and mind in the here and now. We have a chance to take care of any tension we find there – we can stretch, smile, relax for a short moment. Apart from using various mindfulness apps, installing a bell on our computer is one of the surest ways to stay mindful of whatever we are doing.

Add Bell of Mindfulness to your Chrome browser

Time Out (in-app purchases | Mac)

Time Out offers easy break reminders, with flexible customization. We can set the whole screen to blur or change colour to encourage us to take a rest from time to time.

Similarly with some mindfulness apps, you can configure how long each kind of break lasts, and how long between breaks, and the breaks can be set to count backwards when you take a natural break, e.g. when you go away from your computer.
Download Time Out from iTunes

Mindfulness bell menu bar (Mac)

Mindfulness Bell Menu Bar

Mindfulness Bell Menu Bar is a menubar application to aid you in your mindfulness practice. Simply choose an interval and a small or large bell will sound at the prescribed time to invite you to take a moment to observe the breath.

Download Mindfulness Menu Bar for Mac

Stay Focused (free browser extension)

Thich Nhat Hanh has said that we need an intentional strategy to manage our media consumption in a mindful, awakened way. StayFocusd is a free app which empowers you to stick to your intention by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. For example, you could set a “healthy” time limit on news sites, of, say 5 or 10 minutes per day. There is also a new, paid version for phones and tablets.

Install browser extension for Chrome | Firefox

uBlock Origin (free browser extension)

uBlock Origin

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that “appropriate attention” is essential to being mindful. We need to be aware of the right things, not the wrong things.

If we want to cultivate a high quality of presence and concentration, we don’t want our attention being taken from us by unwanted advertisements. Ads are usually trying to sell us things we neither want nor need to be happy – or that are even toxic for body and mind. We can limit ourselves to visiting sites that don’t display distracting or unwholesome advertisement and by supporting good content creators by paying for subscriptions that allow us to view their content without advertisement. For advertisements that we can’t get around uBlock Origin is a free app can block out any kind of content including advertisements. It can be turned off on a per website basis so please consider turning it off on websites of independent web content providers for whom advertisement might be their only, and often minimal, source of income.

Download uBlock Origin for Chrome, Firefox or Safari

Even more meditation apps: 10% Happier, the Calm app sleep stories, Buddhify, Aura, My Life (used to be called Stop, Breathe & Think), Waking Up with Sam Harris, Simple Habit, Smiling Mind. Want to see more reviews and comparisons? Check out this extensive directory created by a Plum Village practitioner.

Regardless of the app we’re using, it’s most likely to be successful in our practice if we join or build a community, even just with a few friends, so we could share our journey, our difficulties and successes with them, get inspired, and learn from others.

There are also virtual Sanghas, guided meditation apps, and other mindfulness apps and tools available online. You may like to check out Plumline if you’d like to find a virtual sangha in the Plum Village Tradition (and don’t forget you can find a local group that meets up near you by checking out our international sangha directory).

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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