The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic has presented an unprecedented global situation that has uprooted many staples of modern life. Because the global circumstances are uncertain and uniquely challenging, many individuals have found it difficult to cope with the “new normal.” In an effort to combat the rising stress and ongoing unease associated with the pandemic, some people have found meditation apps to be a blessing as they seek serenity, peace, and stability.
Since the middle of March, downloads of the Headspace app have doubled, stemming from the increased demand for relaxation, stress relief, and community. Over the course of the pandemic, the meditation app Headspace has sought to serve those who have been affected most. From free memberships to frontline workers and unemployed individuals to the production of free content for those in New York City, having partnered with Governor Cuomo, the Headspace team continues to make its platform accessible and applicable to individuals during and beyond the pandemic.
One feature of the app, live meditation, has witnessed a rise in use, with the feature being utilized around 70 percent more now than before the pandemic. With this feature, users can meditate with others regardless of geographical location, providing a bridge to those who are quarantining, in lockdown, or are otherwise limited in their socialization.
Like Headspace, Calm is another prominent meditation app that has grown in popularity over the course of the pandemic. Early on, Calm provided free resources for managing COVID-related stress, and they also prioritized partnerships to expand free memberships to a wider range of users. One non-profit health system, Kaiser Permanente, provided free Calm subscriptions to its members, for example.
Some of the features available on the Calm app include guided meditations, audio stories designed to promote sleep, and journal prompts for mindfulness.
Designed primarily for business, Chill Anywhere is a meditation and mindfulness app with a focus on providing businesses and their employees more accessibility to mental healthcare resources. Unlike Headspace and Calm, Chill Anywhere allows business leaders to assess their employees’ health and engagement; this information can then allow those leaders to adjust their methods and activities to provide a better environment for their employees. Chill Anywhere presents a unique opportunity to keep businesses and their employees connected, engaged, and mentally well.
Technology has made it so that, even during the pandemic, people have access to valuable resources to help embrace productive activities and stay connected with each other. Through meditation apps like those described above, some individuals can find peace, practice mindfulness, engage in communities, and reduce stress each day. While meditation may not come easily or appeal to everyone, tools like these can provide guidance and structure for all in an otherwise uncertain time.