How technology is helping us to perfect the art of mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness have been practiced by many for thousands of years but recently the practice has seen a surge in popularity, particularly amongst millennials. For those that are unfamiliar, mindfulness is a calming mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment. It has been proven to help with mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress.
In January, it was announced that over eight million people had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder of some description and that 75% of mental health problems occur by the age of 24. According to a recent survey by the Royal Society for Public Health, 1,500 teens and young adults said that technology and social media had a huge contribution to their mental health issues.
As a result of this troubling rise in stress and anxiety amongst young people, we have seen a plethora of mindfulness products become available on the market. These products are a range of everything from tea to colouring books, all of which are designed to help us take some time out of our busy schedules and relax.
However, the most successful is the meditation app. The apps work by the user taking a few minutes out of their day to sit through a guided meditation or listen to relaxation music. Before, we had to go to classes to practice mindfulness but apps like Headspace, Calm and 10% Happier have enabled us to practice meditation in the comfort of our own home.
These apps are so popular that many people are incorporating them into their daily routine. Headspace, which was the app that arguably started the trend, is currently worth around $250 million and is estimated to make approximately $50 million a year. It’s also been reported that they now have 45 million users worldwide and compared their user engagement to that of well-known consumer apps like Spotify.
Since its conception in 2010, Headspace’s method of guided meditation has been proven to be very effective, so much so that the company is now working with the University of Southampton to introduce meditation into the classroom. A similar program was used in American schools and many have seen the benefits. Schools have started using meditation sessions at the start of a school day or just before exams. Some schools have even introduced meditation as an alternative to detention to curb problem behavior.
However, it’s not just schools that meditation is helping - meditation has also been introduced as a program in workplaces, with many organisations across the UK holding meditation classes for their employees or giving them free subscriptions to meditation apps as part of their employment package.
The wellness industry is also continuing to be huge business; in 2018, the wellness sector was worth around £2.8 trillion worldwide, with technology playing a key role in its success.
The rise of popularity in meditation apps is very encouraging. Not only is it part of a very profitable industry, it’s also promoting a healthier way to use our smart phones. The possibilities with technology today are endless and it’s good that we’re finally using it for something positive.