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Headspace: Do Meditation Apps Actually Work?


When you feel anxious or want to feel more in control, meditation is a great option. It’s good exercise for the brain. Your brain needs to be able to pause to grow stronger, just as your heart and blood pump need to pump, and your muscles must be engaged. Meditation can be a wonderful practice that helps you feel calmer and more focused. It can also help with your mood and energy.

It’s no surprise that meditation apps are so popular (ha! They are easy to use, quick and effective, and allow you to meditate anywhere, anytime. You can meditate on your commute or during your lunch break. Or, you can sit down on a mat or cushion in your own home. It doesn’t matter what app you use, and the important thing is to do it. Now the question is, which app should you choose?

Headspace: What You’ll Get

Headspace is an app that makes meditation and sleeping much easier, similar to Calm. It costs $70 per year after a free trial. The app’s motto is “A healthier, happier, and more well-rested lifestyle in just a few hours a day.” You will immediately appreciate its simplicity and straightforward nature.

The app opens in the morning, and you are greeted with “The Wake Up,” a short video designed to set the tone for your day. Scroll down to find “Today’s Mindful Moment,” a proverbial or mantra-like text. Further on, you’ll see a story written by someone from the Headspace community with an answer from Andy Puddicombe, Headspace’s cofounder. You can find all your meditations here once you have started. Although all this content can be quite interesting at the beginning, it can make the interface less intuitive for those who just want to meditate.

The bottom tabs of Headspace include “Meditate,” Sleep,” “Move,” “Focus,” and “Sleep.” Clicking “Meditate” will take you to guided meditations and featured courses. You’ll find meditations categorized by topics, such as accepting and coping with cravings. This is a quick and effective way to deal with certain types of anxiety. SOS meditations are for those who panic or lose their temper. You will also find meditation techniques and support. Timed meditations allow you to adapt your practice to your own schedule. The “Sleep” tab also includes sleep casts or sleep-focused storytelling, meditation wind-downs, and exercises for when you wake up randomly at night.

The “Move” tab of this app really makes it stand out. It has an entire movement and exercise section within its interface. For optimal performance, you can do quick workouts, mindful cardio, or other types of exercise. You can also access rest day meditations, as well as mental fitness solutions and even mental health solutions. The “Focus” tab offers ambient music that is perfect for homework and other tasks. It includes playlists by John Legend and focus exercises.


The 10-day Basics Course is a great place to start if you are new to meditation. This course teaches the basics of meditation in just minutes per day.

You can expand your practice by moving to other meditations. Logging in as a Headspace Pro user will bring up a list of suggested meditations based on your time of the day. You can save meditations to your favorites.

Here are some other things you will find:

  • Themed meditations. Headspace has hundreds of guided meditations. They cover topics like finding your focus and dealing with regrets and difficult conversations. These meditations can be accessed as either a single or group course.
  • The SOS section contains meditations that can help you deal with intense situations. You can choose between guided and unguided meditations depending on your time. Or, you can browse tips and techniques that will help you deepen your practice.
  • Timed meditations.
  • Group meditations. You can join a group meditation with other Headspace users at specific times of the day.
  • Support and techniques. They focus on intention, awareness, stress relief, and many other things.
  • Sleep section. You can also browse Sleepcasts (everyday stories in a variety of soothing voices), meditation, and breathing methods to help you wind down and prepare yourself for sleep. Or guided exercises if your alarms go off at night. You also have the option of listening to sleep music, soundscapes, and sleep radio, which is nonstop, 8-hour mixes that include sleep audio.
  • Movement. You can find classes for yoga, cardio, and guided audio in the “Move” section of the app.
  • Focus activities. You can choose from many focus and breathing exercises as well as soundscapes that will help you focus.

How Do You Get Started?

Headspace can be downloaded for free. You can download Headspace from the App Store. Once you are done, you can sign up with your personal data and go. To get the full app experience, you can either sign up for a trial or explore the limited version.

You can view all the content in the free version, but not the meditations.

You will need to sign up for the trial to get access to the content and to experience it for yourself. The free trial will convert automatically to the premium subscription within 7 to 14 days, depending on whether you have a monthly subscription or a yearly subscription.

Meditation Benefits

Meditation can help you feel calmer. But meditation has many other benefits.

Meditation can help you develop greater awareness and focus. It can also improve your mood, outlook, and sleep patterns. One 2011 study showed that meditation could even increase pain tolerance.

A 2014 review of clinical trials also found that meditation can reduce stress and symptoms related to stress-triggered medical conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Meditation has another benefit: meditation increases attention span, which is a quick process. After just four days of meditation, participants had an increase in their attention span.

Meditation is also a popular way to improve your quality of sleep. Meditation can help you relax so that it is easier to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer periods of time.

Mindfulness meditation could also be helpful in building resilience. A 2021 study of people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic found that mindfulness meditation and physical activity can help people build resilience. This will allow them to more effectively deal with adversity.

Does Headspace Actually Work?

I don’t know what to do, so I turn to my Headspace app for comfort. After an hour of meditation, my overactive brain finally calms down enough to allow me to fall asleep.

I have been trying to maintain a daily practice of meditation since that panicky night. Each morning I begin my day by doing a morning meditation. Then, I light a candle and get on my mat with a blanket and cushion on my back. To my dismay, I fall asleep to a relaxing soundscape, wind-down meditation, or storytelling ‘sleep cast’ at bedtime. My Lumie lamp simulates a sunset, which helps me to drift off to sleep.

These new rituals are now a part of my daily routine and have been a valuable addition to my life. Mindful meditation helps me to relax in anxiety and bring my attention back to the present moment. I can focus on the truth and the false and breathe deeply to be present.

When Andy Puddicombe (Headspace man) begins talking, my shoulders drop, and my face starts to relax. The fist around the center of my heart loosens its grip. I have come to regard his voice as a friend, and its soothing rhythms bring me back to calmness in these #unprecedentedtimes.

Is Headspace Really Worth The Cost?

Yes. Subscribers have access to a lot of content, including SOS sessions, mindfulness movements, music, and soundscapes. There are also courses that cover everything, from letting go of stress and transforming anger to relationships, acceptance, and productivity.

Headspace offers a free collection called ‘weathering The Storm’ that includes mindfulness content about topics such as navigating change, reframing anxiety, and at-home exercises, focus, and advice for difficult times.

It’s worth trying if your mind is unsure how to navigate this new normal.

Which Is Better: Headspace Or Calm?

It doesn’t matter if Calm or Headspace is better. It all depends on what you are looking for.

Headspace is a good choice for beginners or people who need to meditate quickly and are limited on time.

Calm is a more affordable option for advanced meditators or those who have some experience with meditation.

Conclusion: Good For Beginners With A Budget.

Headspace subscriptions are an affordable way to learn about meditation and develop a daily practice. You will reap the many benefits of this subscription that will enhance your life. If you’re a more advanced meditator or are looking for the best value for your money, then look elsewhere. Guided meditation is not limited to Headspace. I will be reviewing other apps over the next few weeks and months.

Headspace can be used to help you decide if it is right for you. The first 10 sessions are free, and you can also try a few guided meditations.


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