What is it?

Headspace is a meditation app that promises “a healthier, happier and more restful life.” Created by a student in sports sciences who decided to give everything up to become a Buddhist monk, this virtual guide is one of the most expensive on the market (around 13 euros per month). As the pandemic unfolded, however, Headspace teams decided to offer a few meditation sessions for free, to help people endure weeks of lockdown and “weather the storm” with a bit more serenity.

Just another meditation app…

Yes…but no. A quick look at the various types of sessions offered reveals why companies like LinkedIn and Google provide this service to their employees.  “Meditation SOS Overloaded”, “Focus”, “Set Priorities”: the app is loaded with around 600 hours of programs and seems to be ready to deal with all kinds of situations, with sessions that are sometimes only three minutes long. The app’s suggestion for lockdown, for example, is to meditate while walking around your home (with your eyes open, of course…) to combat that trapped feeling.

So, does it work?

Like all such services, Headspace encourages its users to meditate daily to improve their quality of life — and to keep their subscriptions up-to-date. Full disclosure: this isn’t the first time that the editorial team has tried to get more mindful through meditating. Petit Bambou, Melomind, “full awareness” training sessions… Nothing really sticks. There’s always that moment when we “forget” to meditate… often after only a few days! It’s hard to evaluate a method when you haven’t even been able to practice it for the required three minutes per day. Only three minutes? OK, that might seem like nothing, but just try it…

Who’s it for?

For those who would like to become fully aware of their complete inability to turn their minds off. Seriously, the interface is fantastic, accessible to anyone, and the app can easily be used sporadically, unlike most other meditation apps. Insomniacs can fall asleep listening to the sounds of a crackling campfire or a burbling stream of melting snow.  Those who are totally overextended can meditate while cooking, or even while eating (yes, with their eyes open). So many experiments to try… So no, we’re not going to delete the app from our smartphones just yet. At least not until we’ve checked out the next session being offered: “Train your inner metaphorical monkey in order to keep meditating.” That one alone has got to be worth its weight in … bananas.

Flavia Sanches

A member of the HEC Stories editorial team, Flavia Sanches tested Headspace in an effort to stay zen throughout the lockdown.

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