Smiling Mind is a free app that aims to make mindfulness meditation accessible to all. Co-developed by psychologists and health professionals and backed by research, Smiling Mind provides various mindfulness programs tailored to almost every age group and experience level. Through their website, parents and caregivers can also access a companion guide to introducing mindfulness at home.

Pros:

When you sign up for Smiling Mind, you answer questions about your experience, age, and goals. The app provides three suggestions for mindfulness programs based on your responses. I liked that it considered my needs and didn’t overwhelm me with choices. Navigating the app is intuitive and the design is pleasing.

All programs provide a brief explanation of the goal, with all the modules in a simple list. You can listen to any meditation as many times as you’d like and download to listen offline. The exercises themselves provide clear, simple instructions. Before each one, the app asks you to rate how happy, content, and alert you are on a sliding scale. This immediate feedback was helpful and reinforced the benefits of the exercise. It also did a good job of encouraging the users to bring mindfulness into everyday life. Many programs had suggested activities, such as listening to your favorite song and identifying five new things about it, to help show that you can be mindful at any time.

You can create multiple profiles on one account, which is perfect for families. I also listened to a program for children between ages seven and nine, which included more playful exercises that seemed appropriate for the age group, as well as some others, including a "mindful hug" that parents and kids could do together. The guide for parents has helpful tips for how the family can work on mindfulness together.

Cons:

It would be nice if there were programs available for children younger than seven so that more families could use it. But it looks like this is something included in plans for the future. While Smiling Mind provides a lot of great options for beginners, perhaps options could be added for users who grow in their practice. The app has a useful dashboard to monitor progress, and it would be great if users could track unguided meditation sessions as well.

Our Takeaway:

Smiling Mind is an incredible free resource for anyone who is interested in mindfulness. I don’t know of any other free resource in this space that is this comprehensive. It is especially well suited to families looking to work together to develop healthier minds.

Image: via Smiling Mind