The Calm App is worth the annual subscription because it includes dozens of guided meditations, sleep stories, music, soundscapes, and functions that will make your life easier and better.
The 7 Days of Calm is Free
To begin with, let me say that this is an unbiased review because the app does not even have an affiliate program. So, I’m not getting paid to write this review. I just want to share my thoughts on this app and possibly get you excited about it.
I began my journey with the Calm app by downloading it from the Apple app store and completing the 7 Days of Calm. This is a sequence of guided meditations that culminates in you being charged for the annual subscription.
You can get 7 Days of Calm just by subscribing for a free 7-day trial and then canceling within the first 7 days. You will also retain access to some of the other free features, including some of the sleep stories.
So, you can definitely cancel the subscription within 7 days to avoid being charged. But that’s not what I did. I’ve been a paid subscriber for at least 5 years, according to the tracking within the app – my favorite feature.
As you can see on this screenshot of my Calm app, as of this writing, I’ve completed a total of 3,347 sessions, almost a thousand and a half hours of meditation, and my longest streak (meaning no days skipped) is 1,137 days, which is more than three years.
The Tracking (Stats) Feature of the Calm App
This is my favorite feature of the app that alone is worth the price of the subscription for me. Why? Because by keeping track of my meditation days, it is easy for me not to skip a day and have meditation and inner work as a daily ritual.
I don’t only meditate with the use of the Calm app. In addition to meditation, I use it to do my inner work – the set of exercises that allow me to receive answers from my subconscious mind and to manifest reality.
This is my daily routine, I’ve kept it since 2015, and I did skip a day or two here and there. But for the most part, the app has kept me on track.
When I open the stats on my app, I can see all of my history, including the last day I used the app. If I didn’t use the app today, I’ll see that, and I’ll make sure to get my meditation in. An immensely valuable feature.
21 Days of Calm
This 21-day series of guided meditations, ranging from 12 to about 18 minutes, is where you should start once you have a paid subscription. I’ve gone through this series several times, and each time I picked up a new insight or had some kind of a shift.
The meditations deal with such topics as:
- Cultivating non-reactivity
- Dealing with mental noise
- Having a beginner’s mind
- Letting go
- Many others…
Just by going through this 21-day series, you’ll get into the rhythm of doing daily work. An added benefit is learning how to meditate and incorporate the practice into your everyday life.
My Favorite Meditations
The really great thing about the Calm app is the wide variety of different types of guided meditations. Now, to be sure, the app contains a nice selection of music and ambient sounds if you want to meditate without any guidance.
In fact, the guidance-free meditations are the ones I use most of the time. So, let me start this list with one of these.
This one is free of guidance and does not have a time limit. I use this one most of the time because I prefer to use the timer on my iPhone or iPad to measure out my meditation and inner work segments.
I do this because this is easier when you have multiple different segments in one session, such as a meditation, a visualization, and affirmations.
Within this open-ended meditation, you can use one of a number of different ambient sounds or types of music that will help you relax, meditate, or do your inner work.
Open-Ended Meditation with Bells
This is really cool because it has all the features described above, only with a marvelous addition – the sound of the bell. A Tibetan-type bell will sound at a repetitive sequence which you can set.
You can choose 1, 3, 5, 10 minutes, and other, longer intervals. This feature is awesome when you’re just trying to meditate and find it difficult to calm the monkey mind, to use a Buddhist term.
You can also lower or increase the background volume to either highlight or submerge the sound of the bell. And that is another great way you have control over your experience.
Returning to Now
The rest of the meditations I list here are timed, which means you set each one for a limited amount of time, such as 10, 15, 20, or 30 minutes. This is because these are guided meditations.
Returning to Now is an amazing meditation and definitely near the top of my list. In it, Tamara Levitt, the voice behind most of the guidance in the app, guides you through a session in which your task is to stay in the present moment.
This is easier said than done, but with guidance, you’ll see yourself making progress. First, a really nice, solid bell sounds about every 3 minutes or so. Tamara’s voice follows it and returns you to the now, no matter where you may be finding yourself in the present moment.
I often use this meditation to begin my daily practice, and then I switch to an open-ended one for the rest of my inner work exercises.
The Loving-Kindness is an amazing meditation for those times when you feel angry at yourself, someone in particular, or at the whole world at large. Hey – this happens.
This guided meditation is also available in various lengths. In it, the guide (Tamara) helps you relax and settle into the present moment. Then, she gently guides you through a series of affirmations that really help you dissolve anger and replace it with love and other warm and fuzzy feelings.
And it works! I have used it with some of my loved ones (because sometimes they are the ones who tend to get under our skin the most), and it has either dissolved or diminished the negative emotion every single time.
If you feel a need to forgive – either yourself or someone else – this meditation will help. Guilt is a nasty emotion that can ruin your day or even a long period of your life.
The key to using this meditation is not just doing it once but using it every day for at least a week. Then, you’ll feel real results. But again – it works.
I have used this one quite a few times, and I’ve noticed a subtle effect. Being an adult with ADD, I find it hard to concentrate sometimes, and of course this meditation is no substitute for medication (which I don’t take).
But it does help. It may help you develop your focus and concentration even better if you don’t have ADD. Just experiment and see for yourself.
This is a meditation that I tried recently to experiment with doing inner work while walking instead of sitting. Sometimes you just don’t feel like sitting. And the option of combining light exercise with meditating is a great idea.
This guided walking meditation has worked really well for me because it has allowed me to also save time. I usually meditate and do my inner work during the day, ideally right after my mid-day nap. But this takes a good chunk of work time from my day.
So, I’ve experimented doing this work in the evening, when I’m done with work. And I found that it works.
The meditation works wonderfully. And the trick to the rest of the exercises is to include those that can be performed effectively while walking. For example, it is much easier to do affirmations while walking than to visualize.
Winnie the Pooh Series
Yes, believe it or not, the app includes a series of 10-minute meditations aimed at reducing worry, developing effortless work habits, and conquering pessimism, among other things. And they all are themed after the famous teddy bear and his friends.
I absolutely love this series because it is so well done and in such good, endearing taste. I won’t spoil any of the meditation content for you, so make sure to give the series a try.
Does the Calm App Work to Reduce Anxiety?
As an entrepreneur, I’ve had my share of business-related anxiety. And I must say that turning to the Calm app for help has worked for me, to one degree or another, whenever I tried it.
The app has an entire section titled “Anxiety.” And it includes guided meditations aimed at helping you deal with anxiety and related issues. Some of the specific meditations for anxiety include:
- Anxiety Release
- Calming Anxiety
- Panic SOS
Each of these offers you a choice of duration: 4, 5, 10 minutes, and longer options. So, you won’t be without a place to go when in the grip of anxiety or panic.
The app also includes features that are vastly underused and underappreciated for that reason. I know because I haven’t really used them yet, being so busy using the app for my main purposes.
But it’s good to know that you have the following:
This is a growing list of mini-courses by well-known authorities in each area. For example, you have a class titled “Radical Self-Compassion” by Tara Brach or “Stoic Wisdom” by Ryan Holiday.
Each masterclass is a series of lectures on a theme. I’m still to attend one, but I like knowing that they are available for me when I happen to need wisdom in a particular area of life.
These are single lectures also by people famous for their wisdom on a particular subject. For example, you have a lecture titled “Living with Intention” by Matthew McConaughey.
- Calm kids – aimed at introducing mindfulness to children
- Calm for work – content for having a better work day
- The reminder – helps make sure you don’t miss a day of Calm
- And more…
I hope this review has helped you in your quest for a perfect meditation app for you. I’ve only used this one, so can only attest to Calm’s features and benefits. But I hope you can see how it can help you get into meditating and stay meditative.
To your freedom,