There’s no doubt that we’re living in a digital-first world and spend a lot of time (perhaps too much) on our phones. There’s also no doubt that there’s a significant shift happening toward digital minimalism and taking digital detoxes — especially during vacations and time off. One of the biggest reasons I like to remove myself from digital distraction is self-care, self-reflection, and mental wellness.
I started to wonder if there could be a happy medium between my iPhone and my wellness practices. The thought came up when one of my apps issued me my daily mindfulness quote. That’s when it dawned on me that there are so many resources we could be using. Forget Instagram and your regular news cycle; there are tons of enlightenment apps out there to help you re-center and come back to the self by effectively using digital as the tool instead of the distraction.
There are enlightenment apps that span from meditation, to sleep music, to horoscopes, to community support. When I say enlightenment, I don’t mean meeting yourself on a deeply profound spiritual quest. What I mean by enlightenment apps is a container that helps you get to know yourself better, step away from the hustle of daily life, and introduce a sense of insight into who you are at your core.
Of course, if you’d like to start a deeply profound spiritual quest, more power to you! If you’re more like me and simply could use a few enlightenment apps to bring more meaning to your experience with digital, then the below list from a handful of experts will do just the trick.
“It's an extremely useful app for people in all stages of life, even beginners who are just starting their enlightenment journey. The app provides short, guided meditations that are easy-to-follow, useful sleep tips, and general recommendations for healthy eating and positive living."
"The entire goal of the app is not to overwhelm users with overly scientific data or complex meditations but rather simple, practical tips and advice to make you just 10% happier in your life. This can have a significant impact on your health and overall well-being. The app is also extremely easy to use and navigate, which, combined with the short and simple guided meditations and straightforward articles, make it appealing for long-term use.” - Lynell Ross founder of Zivadream
This is the app I mentioned at the beginning of the article. Thanks to Chill, I get to schedule simple reminders throughout the day like “release the tension in your shoulders” and “breathe into one part of the body.” I often get really annoyed by reminders, but these are the ones that I look forward to and actually listen to. I also love it because it’s completely customizable in terms of how often you hear from the app and how it appears on your phone. Chill makes mindfulness accessible wherever and whenever.
“Enlightenment starts with mindfulness, and ConZentrate uses ancient meditation techniques to help you focus and calm your mind. The technique, known as Trataka, encourages you to focus on a moving ball to achieve a breathing pattern and become internally present. Beyond enlightenment apps, this form of meditation can also help to improve your concentration and memory.” - Adina Mahalli, certified mental health professional
“Headspace is a great app for learning how to control your thoughts and practice mindfulness. The narrator’s voice is really relaxing and friendly; there are also little animations to watch that will bring a smile to your face. The app will send daily reminders and positive messages to you throughout the day, and also remind you to take a minute to get some headspace. The free version is incredibly useful, but it’s worth the purchase.” - Rhea Cassimire
“Out of all the enlightenment apps out there, my favorite, and the one that I recommend the most is Insight Timer. The first reason why is because it's free, which makes meditation, mindfulness, stress and anxiety relief, and other enlightenment topics accessible to anyone who has a smartphone phone. Not only that, but this platform also allows teachers to post their meditations and gain the exposure they may not otherwise receive.”
“The second reason closely relates to the first, and that is because it is free, it gives someone an opportunity to try different styles of meditation (guided, self-guided, music, nature sounds, chimes/bells, etc.), learn about meditation and mindfulness through talks, discover specific teachers they enjoy or find out they just like listening to a bedtime story before bed. Without having access to such a wide variety, an individual may try one style of meditation and decide they don't like meditation at all. When in reality, the type just wasn't a good fit for them.” - Laura Durenberger, blogger
"The daily lessons, the meditations, and the tools included in this app are what I have personally used to get my mind to go quiet and connect with the eternal bliss available in the enlightened state. Enlightenment is not a place or a destination, it's just a way of relating to the world that creates peace of mind. The free tools in this app help me relate to the world in that way." - Matthew Ferry, author of Quiet Mind Epic Life
“It is a very simple app that provides a quote of the day from a stoic philosopher. The app can also send you a daily notification of a stoicism quote if you select this. Stoicism has been a huge factor in helping me get in touch with and understand my emotions and identify when I am reacting from a place of fear. This, in turn, has allowed me to clear space, listen to my intuition, and not be distracted by emotion. Once I was able to identify pure emotion versus intuition, I was able to make major changes and design a life of my dreams. I currently am self-employed, travel every month, and am in touch with myself now more than I ever have been.” - Lauren Vacula, founder of We Are Bones
“The app offers about 100 kindness challenges that you can do every day. The features include a list of services and deeds of kindness you can perform every day, audio exercises to help you build empathy, and the ability to track and revisit your progress, start a kindness challenge, and suggest your kindnesses for others as well. It is free to use for both Apple and Android users.” - Tim Fox, co-founder of Outdoor Media
“This app is packed full of tools, exercises, and games to help you focus, visualize, feel good, and raise your vibration, any time day or night. It has helped me move toward the life I deserve. This app can help people feel at peace inside.” - Nooria Khan
“One of the enlightenment apps I recommend The Miracle Morning app because it has changed my life. Before starting this app, I felt as if I was wasting a lot of time and didn’t have much direction for my day. Starting my day with this app gave my day the direction it needed. It caused me to focus on my goals, reminded me to exercise, and read before starting my day. Once I began using this app, I began to get more things accomplished each day.” - Jaquetta T Ragland, owner of Young and Finance
“The Pattern provides users with personalized astrological readings based on their natal chart. The app analyzes users’ “personal patterns” to help them gain insight into their personality traits, emotions, and life paths. This app provides you an overview of what you're going through at this moment in time. These cycles are personal to only you. Understanding these dynamics can help you to navigate the difficult times and take advantage of the positive opportunities that you might otherwise miss.” - Nooria Khan
“The Smiling Mind is a nonprofit Australia based app (accessible to anyone in the world). It was developed by psychologists and educators to help people to find balance within their lives. There are ‘check-in’ options, as well as meditation options. It suggests 10 minutes a day to really change your life for the positive — and it's completely free.” - Morgan Taylor, CMO for LetMeBank
From this list of enlightenment apps, this one is unique (and my personal favorite). What I love about Saged is that it also offers a space to build community. Here you’ll find everything from self-care tips to book clubs and beauty regimens to relationship advice. This is the tool for spiritually-minded individuals who want to meet like-minded people. My suggestion? Whatever benefits you find in this app, see how you can translate them into real life.
“I use the Pacifica app (Sanvello: Stress & Anxiety) to improve focus and presence of mind. It is created by psychologists that use clinically validated techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) — a type of psychotherapy that is especially effective for stress, anxiety, and depression.” - Nooria Khan
“This app offers you a daily affirmation to start your morning right. You can set reminders to view it throughout the day and help to bring your back into focus. Affirmations are a powerful tool to create positive habits and guide you through your day. If you’re looking to improve your day-to-day mindfulness, Spirit Junkie is the app to help you get started.” - Adina Mahalli, certified mental health professional
Whichever of these enlightenment apps you choose, I hope this article will inspire you to become more mindful about how you bring digital into your life. Test this out by always asking yourself, “what is the purpose of this?” whenever you pick up your phone. Be honest when you do, and permit yourself to put the phone back down it the answer doesn’t serve you.