Research suggests that meditation based on mindfulness improves cognition. It increases self-awareness, improves attention spans, and reduces rumination by decreasing preservative cognitive activity – all by strengthening your working memory.
As a result, there is a significant improvement in reasoning ability which can help to control your negative thoughts and emotions more effectively.
The Headspace App also follows a similar approach to meditation and mindfulness. The app is designed to help an individual improve concentration, modify sleep patterns for the better, and manage stress levels like a pro, with countless articles, resources, videos, and audio materials.
We tested out the app to see how it works. Let’s dive into the details, in case you or your family are planning to opt for Headspace.
Headspace, a subsidiary of Headspace Health, is an online guided meditation company established by Andy Puddicombe and Richard Pierson in May 2010.
Originally founded in London, England, and headquartered in Santa Monica, USA, the company also has operational offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California.
The core of the business is the app and the company website, where customers can sign up for paid meditation guidance to improve their sleep, be more mindful, and alleviate their stress levels.
The co-founder, Andy Puddicombe, was a former Buddhist monk in the Himalayas for a decade. He applied his meditation and mindfulness expertise and eventually became the co-founder of the Headspace app.
The final setup was successfully accomplished by teaming up with Richard Pierson, a marketing/advertising professional back then and also one of Andy’s clients struggling with social anxiety.
The company started its venture by conducting multiple mindfulness sessions across London. Later they applied the idea of mindfulness sessions to develop a full-fledged mindfulness mobile app in 2012.
In 2018, Headspace further expanded to provide FDA-compliant meditation tools/resources specifically to heal a wide range of chronic conditions.
Headspace App Review
Here is the complete review of the Headspace app to help you understand how it works, its features, and its advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading.
1. How Does it Work?
The Headspace App provides meditation packages for mindfulness, better sleeping and waking-up routines, greater focus at the workplace, and overall stress alleviation.
You can get started by either going for the free trial or by opening an individual account on the app/platform.
The annual subscription offers a 14-day free trial, whereas the monthly membership allows for a free trial of 7 days.
The Headspace app, post-installation, allows you to sign in via your Google account, Facebook account, Apple ID, email, or SSO.
You can easily start your path toward mindfulness with the guidance of any one of the many meditation experts on the platform. The app also offers additional thoughtful material that is accessible and useful.
As soon as you log in, you are greeted with a question asking, “What is on your mind” to understand your current state of mind. Based on the information provided, your customized meditation practice is created that you can listen to anytime, anywhere.
In the initial stages of exploration, there is an automated guided tour with a narrative and a set of instructions involving breathing techniques that help you relax and relieve anxiety.
What Does the Featured Collection in the Headspace App Offer?
Your featured collection helps you:
- Get started with your day on the right note
- Perform a 2-minute activity in the afternoon as the day progresses to stay rooted in the present moment
- 110-minute sleeping guide to help you get a restful sleep at night
The Headspace app provides meditation for the following:
- To cope with difficult times
- To easily get started with a meditation using the right techniques in case you are a beginner
- To manage and navigate injustice
- To improve sleep patterns and to guide your mind to sleep better
- To ensure mindful waking up
- To promote mindful eating and spending
- To ensure you are mindful at work
- To better manage your stress, anger, bouts of sadness, and growth
- To ensure better relaxation of your mind
There are different ways to mindfulness meditation in the app, such as:
The Shine collection – It is a network of competent mindfulness teachers and video guides dedicated to supporting marginalized communities.
The Parents and Kids collection – It teaches mindful parenting and helps your family inculcate healthy habits physically as well as emotionally to foster empathy, compassion, and support.
Star Wars Find Your Force – The app has gamified meditation to make it more interesting and relatable. You can relax your mind with your favorite Star Wars characters. For example, you can learn efficient breathing techniques with the “ Breathe with Yoda” video guide.
Unlocking Creativity – This helps artists unleash their creativity during meditation or provides resources to help creators meditate better.
Power of Mind with Raheem – This consists of a series of seven sessions made by England footballer, Raheem Sterling in collaboration with Headspace meditation expert, Dora. The sessions focus on mental resilience.
The National Park Collection – This is a new approach to meditation that follows the technique of appreciating the natural beauty of national parks and wonders. The program is developed in collaboration with the National Park Foundation with the primary aim of helping clients connect with nature.
Sustainability is not an issue as these meditations are designed to help you in the long run, making it easier for you to stick to the routines.
There is a wide range of meditation plans available for individuals, kids, teenagers, working professionals, enterprise groups, as well as families.
Headspace also offers stress reduction techniques for businesses to improve the productivity and efficiency of teams and promote a mindful culture at workplaces.
You need to take the 7-day or 14-day free trial to unlock the Headspace library.
Headspace offers two subscriptions – Annual, Monthly
The individual annual subscription costs USD 69.99 per year or USD 12.99 per month, billed annually.
The are multiple plans for you to choose from depending on your requirements. Here are the available options:
- Annual, monthly, and family subscriptions
- Student plan
- Plans for referrals or gifting purposes
- Plans for teens
- Plans for educators
The family membership offers to open six accounts for $99.99 USD per year (74.99 GBP/EUR, $137.99 AUD, $134.99 CAD, ₹2149 INR, $1,319 MXN). In this case, only the primary account holder has access to invite, remove or trade out family members. You are allowed to add up to 5 members in a single group.
Eligibility Criteria for Joining the Headspace Family Plan
- If you are an individual owner of your Headspace subscription bought from the website, you can join the family plan
- You can also switch to the family plan if you have a third-party annual or monthly subscription such as via the Apple App Store, Google play store, and more
- You are not eligible for the Headspace family plan if you are a lifetime subscriber
- Customers having enterprise subscription plans are also not eligible for the family plan
Headspace also provides a hefty discount of 85% for students currently enrolled in university and post-secondary programs aged 18 years or older. The annual subscription costs $9.99 USD per year ($0.83 USD per month).
The student plan is however only available for students in the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, India, Spain, the United States, and Portugal. Headspace has partnered with SheerID to verify student IDs in order to evaluate their eligibility for this plan.
Once verified, students can get access to a library of more than 1000 meditations and insightful mindfulness resources to take the stress out of their hectic schedules and stressful classes.
You are free to cancel your subscription anytime, anywhere. All in all, Headspace plans are affordable and offer a good amount of flexibility. So, meditation plan adjustments according to your needs are quite possible.
3. Insurance Coverage
All meditation plans are not covered by insurance. However, you can opt for the Headspace Plus account via a program called Wellvolution. This is only applicable to you if you are a resident of the state of California and have Blue Shield coverage.
Other than this, there are no special insurance plans accepted by Headspace.
However, Headspace mentions that the partners of the platform might sometimes have access to your personal information such as name, email address, date of registration, and last use date through corporate and other community sharing.
Also, the platform is 100% GDPR compliant.
5. Headspace App Versus its Competitors
The Calm app is one of the top competitors of Headspace. There are a lot of similarities when it comes to meditations offered, mindfulness activities, calming music, etc., to help you unwind and get a good night’s rest.
The membership costs are also more or less the same. However, none of the materials available on the Headspace app are free, unlike Calm.
Calm also has a relatively larger library of relaxing music and a wide range of works by established artists. Moreover, it also has a separate tab for instrumental music or music by a specific genre. And there is a dedicated section for nature soundscapes.
Calm also has a separate section of meditations catering to the kids. However, many have reported that there are user-interface issues and glitches in the app.
Healthy Minds is another competitor that offers fully free meditation. The app is simpler, way less cluttered, and more organized as compared to both Calm and Headspace.
You can opt for this platform if you are a beginner and cannot afford to spend too much on online meditation courses.
6. Pros and Cons of Headspace
- Affordable meditation targeted to resolve specific issues
- Student discounts available
- Multiple plans offered
- 7-day or 14-day free trial available before purchase
- Gamification techniques used in the app to make meditation courses more engaging
- The app is easy to use and navigate
- The app seamlessly works on all Android and iOS devices
- Limited insurance coverage
- Limited guidance for free
- Not suitable for advanced meditation
- No free meditation courses are available
- Both the app and the website are overloaded with too much content, so it can be overwhelming to process high volumes of information.
Several clinical experiments that studied the effects of meditation and relaxation made use of the Headspace App.
The UCL researchers, supported by the British Heart Foundation, conducted a trial on the effects of being mindful and meditating at two large MNCs. The Headspace App was tested, and it was observed that the people felt much more relaxed.
An improvement in better mental health, including visibly decreased depression as well as diastolic blood pressure, was the primary observation reported. Employees also mentioned that they felt happier due to improved sleep and a better sense of control over their work.
Therefore, Headspace App is a great choice for you if you want to get started on your mindfulness and meditation journey.
She is an experienced Clinical Psychologist and Mental Health Writer with a decade of expertise in psychology. Skilled in assessment, therapy, and patient care. Committed to helping individuals through clinical practice and mental health writing at Therapyjourney.co. Passionate about promoting mental well-being and awareness. Open to aligned opportunities.