While we could all reap the benefits of a relaxing getaway in the mountains, it isnt the only way to dial back on all the stress and anxiety of living in a pandemic. Enter meditation apps that aim to help you prioritise self-care and mindfulness. But, do they work?According to a 2014 study by the University of Southern Denmark, using the meditation app Headspace improved the focus of the users by14 per cent and decreased mind-wandering significantly. Another 2017 study by the Northeastern University (USA) reported that using the app for three weeks boosted compassion by 23 per cent, and reduced aggression by a whopping 57 per cent.Still not convinced if these apps work? Just breathe in, hold your breath, breathe out, and scroll for some more insights on how meditation meets technologyWhat is meditation really?Not going to lie, the practice of meditation can seem a little intimidating sometimes: How do I sit still for so long? Am I doing it right? Is it working?If these are the questions that plague your mind, dont fret. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. In fact, meditation means to simply be. No judging, no dwelling. Just allowing your thoughts to flow through your mind without pondering on them. Make sure you keep your spine erect, slow down your awareness and focus on your breathing. Other than that, you can try anything you like. You can opt for guided visualisation or mindful meditation or just focus on the movement of your body, explains Shraddha Iyer, senior yoga trainer at SARVA, a wellness company.What are its benefits?Meditation is known to help manage stress, improve sleep and emotional health as well as decrease blood pressure. It can also boost self-awareness and your problem-solving skills.How do meditation apps work?Meditation has never been so accessible and diverse in nature, because these apps can cater to every individuals varied moods at different times, explains Iyer. Depending on the app youve picked, usually you have a series of free sessions or a trial at your disposal.The aforementioned app, Headspace, has audio sessions where the co-founders guide you through each session. Another popular app called Calm has a series of soothing exercises, helpful breathing techniques, and sleep stories, some even narrated by celebrities like Matthew McConaughey. Aparrna Gupta, content consultant and Calm app user says that the customisation features are a definite winner for her. I can choose the sounds of nature that I like and even set goals to boost productivity, relaxation, or improve focus, she explains.Can these apps replace in-person courses?According to Advait Halve, senior consultant at a Singapore-based firm and an avid app user for over a year, yes, they can. For me, the only drawback would be the lack of a precise regimen being in place, which can definitely be implemented if you have a teacher guiding you, he reasons. Gupta, who is well versed with meditation techniques, believes that these apps might work better for people who have already been to classes or are exposed to alternate forms of healing. When youre dealing with trauma or a crisis, reaching out to a meditation expert might be more beneficial since youre looking for direction. Apps are better when it comes to maintaining a routine, adds Gupta.Here are some pros and cons of meditation apps we discovered for your convenience:Pros-Great for beginners-Access to a variety of different sessions, all in one day.-Classes are accessible whenever and wherever you are.-Not everyone can afford a one on one session with an expert. This comes as close to that as possible.Cons-Your practice solely depends on your dedication.-Too many features can be overwhelming and distracting.-Do not address the source of stress, just incidents of anxiety and stress-Applying these meditative skills to your daily life and stressors can be challenging for some.The conclusionYou can have all the apps but if you lack the motivation to practice daily or get distracted easily, these meditation apps will do little to help you, explains Gupta. Fighting, processing, accepting your thought at the end of the day (or beginning) can be overwhelming for some so start slow. Begin by meditating for three to five minutes a day and build your routine from there.