Launched in 2012, Headspace has surged in popularity, employing gamification to provide guided meditation courses, and improve mindfulness and wellbeing.
Stress, work pressure, and chaotic lifestyles are increasingly being documented as major public health concerns in today’s fast-paced world. More individuals are in search of ways to minimise these issues in their daily lives but are often unable to spare time and commitment needed to pursue activities to resolve them.
Enter Headspace, an online and app-based offering that gives users a chance to disconnect from their frenetic lives and literally “catch a breath” through guided meditation.
Headspace was founded in May 2010 by entrepreneur Richard Pierson and former Tibetan Buddhist monk, writer, public speaker, and health advocate Andy Puddicombe.
In an interview in March 2014 with InspiredM, Andy recounted the story of how he met Richard at a meditation clinic in London and got the idea for Headspace, “We both thought, how could we present meditation in a way that our friends would genuinely give it a try? Rich had all these creative skills, and I had the experience as a monk. I think that was the light bulb moment with Headspace, the coming together of those two backgrounds.”
Starting as an event company, Headspace evolved into a mobile application in 2012 and has grown steadily since. The platform provides a variety of guided meditation courses online and on the app. Users get limited access free-of-cost for 10 days, after which they can choose to take a monthly or an annual subscription or continue with the free trial material.
Split across various 10-day Series as well as many Singles sessions, Headspace combines elements of calming and insight meditation, encouraging users to take a minute (or 10) to find a moment of calm and peace.
So how does the app function?
Launching the app for the first time takes users to a login screen, where new users can set up a fresh account, or choose to log in via social media. The first time you use the app, Headspace lets you customise the kind of experience you’re looking for, including deciding how long you want your meditation sessions to last – three minutes, five minutes, or 10 minutes, and these options can be changed later.
Users can also choose from a variety of reasons to tell the app why they’re using it, from improving sleep to managing anxiety to just checking it out. The user experience is customised based on their preference.
The app’s home screen shows users their current active Packs/Series and Singles, as well as super-brief exercises called Minis for that moment when you need to calm yourself in a particularly bad moment.
Users can also choose from a variety of categories to find exercises most suited to their requirements, such as those focused on Stress and Anxiety, Personal Growth, Physical Health, and more. There are also specialised exercises tailored specifically for Students and Kids.
Launching a session gives users the option to set their preferred duration for it, followed by the guided meditation exercise.
There is also a library where users can see all the available content on the app, and choose from it. It is worth noting that a lot of the content is locked for paying users only.
As mentioned earlier, users can opt for monthly or annual subscriptions, which give them full access to the platform’s various exercises and courses.
Of particular note is a section called Obstacles, which lists certain brief (and free) exercises to resolve the most common user problems across three categories – Common Obstacles for Beginners, Physical Obstacles, and Obstacles of the Mind.
Does Headspace really help?
Headspace has received a lot of media attention since its launch, being covered on various platforms in the US and UK, as well as endorsements from celebrities like Martha Stewart.
The app has also been used in several clinical trials investigating its effectiveness and has been found to contribute significantly to improved wellbeing and reduction in stress, anxiety, etc. Through our own usage of the app, we did find it to be extremely useful to calm frayed nerves and reduce mental stress in the middle of hectic workdays.
So the next time stress gives you sleepless nights and you find yourself unable to cope with the mental demands of your life, fire up Headspace to take 3-10 minutes for yourself and rediscover your inner peace. Your mind – and body – will thank you for it.