By: Emma Smith
You open up your app store and see the categories labeled Health & Fitness or Productivity. Inside these categories, you will find hundreds of different apps promising to make you more productive, less forgetful, sleep better, and help reduce your anxiety. Are these apps as effective as they claim to be?
As mentioned before, there are hundreds of apps to look at but the most popular right now are Headspace, ToDoist, and Calm. These three apps are downloaded onto about 20 million devices, but just because there is an app on one’s phone does not mean it is being used. Calm and Headspace promise to help you relax from the comfort of your home through meditation and mindfulness-based therapy. These apps are a great opportunity to try to improve your life without spending hundreds of dollars on meditation classes or therapy.
Since launching in 2012, Headspace quickly became one of the most popular mindfulness apps. The voice that walks you through the meditation is the founder of the app and former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe. The practices taught from this app is simple breathing techniques and body scan awareness. I personally have the Headspace app downloaded on my phone and have had it for a little over a year.
Throughout the year of having Headspace on my phone, I have probably used the app a total of 15 times. During the times that I have used the app, I have felt more relaxed and directed but not exactly as fulfilled as I feel I was promised. The other issue is that within those 15 times of use, I completed the beginner course that is free, and my only choice now is to either repeat this course again or to pay the $12.99 per month, or $94.99 per year. Now I want to learn helpful tools to help me relax especially during college, but not for $94.99 a year. I do not think that I should have to pay to become relaxed, especially when money is one of the most popular reasons for someone to worry. That seems like a double-edged sword to me.
Overall, I feel that mindful apps can be very helpful. Each person should take the time to find one that works for them, there a hundred of different ones and it is about finding what will work for you. I just have an issue with app companies using a service as important as helping people gain peace of mind, to make money. It seems unethical to me but that’s the way a lot of America works these days, but that’s another discussion.