A week or so ago, I read Cathryn Lavery’s article on morning routines and discovered the Headspace app for meditation. While I had been meditating each day for the past month, I had trouble focusing and hoped the app would help me. Over the past 5 days, I’ve been using the Headspace app to meditate for 10 minutes each day. Here’s how those first 5 days have been.
Once I downloaded the app, I could use either my email or Facebook to sign up. On the sign up screen there is an animation video that introduces the user to Headspace and gives an overview of how the app works etc. This was the first time I saw a video being shown on the sign up / log in screen and it gave even more motivation to sign up for the app. It’s a pretty neat way to draw the user into the system and get them past the barrier of signing up.
Inside the app, you’re taken to a timeline with increasing numbers. The idea is simple and easy to grasp: 1 level and 10 minutes each day. All that you need to do is to just play the content at each level and Andy walks you through the steps in the meditation level. At times, the audio is preceded by a quick animation clip that explains a new concept of meditation. All the animation videos, including the one on the sign up screen have the same visual theme and design and it helps unify the app.
From the timeline, there are two actions that you can take to get more information: one from the menu button at the top-left that gives access to app settings and access to content about Headspace and the science of meditation. The other action is to swipe left from the timeline to see your statistics and to invite friends to the app. Having these two sets of actions seemed a little awkward and redundant. I’m used to having statistics show up on the left hand menu in many other apps and I kept accessing the menu on the left to check my stats. I would have better appreciated the app if there was a single swipe to access the settings, stats etc. particularly given that there weren’t too many options that would have to go into the menu.
Meditating better and its effects on me
Over the past 5 days, the app has definitely helped me become better at meditation. In each of the levels, Andy takes you through a series of steps to cut out the noise, to cut out the physical senses and to focus on your breathing and on the mind. In this process, rather than forcing someone to focus on the mind, the idea is to let the mind wander, to let the mind pay attention to any sounds etc. and only gently pull it back to focus.
Following each mediation session, I definitely felt relaxed and calm and felt my day went much better. As I progressed, I even felt that I could better control my thoughts and get my mind to focus easily.
Will I pay for continued service?
The app gives access to 10 levels for free and any further content needs to be subscribed to. The most popular subscription plans is $7.99/month for a 12 month subscription. For purchasing decisions, human beings make comparisons, weigh options and rarely make purchasing decisions on absolute terms. If I compare the $7.99 a month to two coffees a month as the app seems to suggest, it doesn’t seem all that bad. But instead, if I compare the $7.99 a month to Netflix, all of a sudden the service seems to be overpriced.
I’ve had a good experience with the app so far, though the service in relative terms seems to be a little pricey. The unlimited subscription claims to give access to focused sessions on health, performance etc., but the 5 day series so far has not given me any preview of what all of that will look like. It would be great if the 10 day preview includes some limited access to these area specific sessions. Furthermore, there are a few reviews on the app store that seem to suggest that the paid options don’t work as great as advertised. I’ll probably see how the next 5 days go and make a call on purchasing the subscription.
(Credits to all the above images go to Headspace and I do not claim to own any ownership/rights to these images.)