Mindfulness for all: A lesson in compassion by Headspace

headspace

Back in 1992., my mom started practising yoga and meditation. She was what we would call today an early adopter, and there were people who laughed at her. Others thought she’d gone mad. Myself included. I was a true nihilist when it came to spirituality.

Back in 2010., I had a rough period in my life and the unfiltered stress came around every night disguised as insomnia. I couldn’t sleep for about two months. After trying almost anything legal and illegal on the market, I called my mom. I told her I was going crazy and I didn’t know what to do anymore. She told me to try mindfulness. After recommending a course that was way to pricey for my poor student ass, she offered to pay for it. And it was the best gift she could have ever given to me.

Fast forward to 2020. During this worldwide crisis, I’m thankful my mother helped me discover mindfulness. It turned out to be an essential instrument to help me overcome any fear, anxiety, or depression in any challenging situation. 

Why I’m telling you this story?

Yesterday, Rich Pierson, Co-Founder and CEO of Headspace, announced how they unlocked their premium feature, available for one year, to all the unemployed people in America. 

Now, if you’re not familiar with Headspace, shame on you. Really, you should know about these guys. Headspace was launched back in 2010 as a meditation consultation organization led by Andy Puddicombe and Richard Pierson. (Fun fact: Andy is that serene voice of all guided meditations in the app). After completing his monastic commitment, Andy decided to create a world where meditation and mindfulness will be accessible to everyone. Not an easy task, but thanks to technology, creativity, and a dedicated team, his dream came true. 

A little disclaimer before I continue…

Two years ago I decided to try Headspace. I instantly loved it. The guided meditations are incredibly effortless and designed for any level of experience. There is a bunch of specialized programs, and you can also join a daily group meditation. Maybe I’m biased, but nevertheless, I hope you will get the point of what I’m trying to say here.

And the point is how much value this initiative will bring to people who are struggling to cope with the effects of the coronavirus crisis. Losing someone you love, losing your job, your freedom to move, and experiencing anxiety, insomnia, and depression are triggers that poke holes in our mind where darkness likes to reside. When all things come crashing down, it’s easy to collapse with it. In these moments, your mental health is as or even more important as your physical health. Practice your brain muscle, tame the monkey voice, shut off the background noise, and find your peace of mind. Like any muscle, you need to build it until it’s strong enough to endure feelings of desperation, loneliness, or helplessness.

Taking up (head) space

Offering free premium access to everyone who lost their job due to the coronavirus crisis is just a part of the deal. Already in March, just at the beginning of the crisis, Headspace made its premium features free for U.S. healthcare providers and educators, teachers, and caregivers. Additionally, they also created a free “Weathering the storm” collection of mediations.

And they didn’t stop there. 

On Instagram, they launched a series of live conversations with medical staff all around the U.S., giving them space to express how they’re managing to stay sane when the circumstances are nothing but. 

Understanding early on how giving mental support and showing compassion must be the priority during this crisis, the Headspace team did what they needed to do: put the people first. 

My only remark is they should apply these initiatives worldwide, not just in the U.S. Their global community would be grateful to have access to the same help resources as their peers in America.

From the marketing and business perspective, they build a fantastic brand awareness campaign that will generate many new users and app downloads. Yet, I couldn’t care less about their piece of the pie, as long as their actions make a difference. What truly matters is bringing mindfulness to people today for the better world of tomorrow.