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Headspace App Review

by | Feb 12, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Headspace is a user-friendly mindfulness and meditation app compatible with iOS and Android devices.
  • It’s a well-rounded app offering hundreds of videos on guided meditations, breathing exercises, soundscapes, sleep casts, and more.
  • Headspace is ideal for beginners who want a structured way to practice meditation and mindfulness.

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Headspace AppReview

4.9 Star Rating with 70M Downloads across all platforms

  • Hundreds of meditation videos, breathing exercises, and podcasts
  • Daily routines & schedules are accessible on the app or website.
  • Diverse Content for Every Mood
  • Engaging and User-Friendly Interface

I’ve always been a worrier. I have what you call “catastrophic thinking.” According to Psychology Today, it is defined as “ruminating about irrational, worst-case outcomes.”

And yep, that’s me to a fault. I always think of the worst, and yes, it’s a given that I have extreme anxiety. But I’ve never been one to pop a pill for being extra nervous.

Some of the simple things I’ve done to reduce my anxiety are drinking tea before meeting a client or stretching before appearing in front of a crowd.

A few years ago, though, I discovered the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. They can help reduce stress and anxiety, while also improving the immune system.

However, as someone who suffers from catastrophic thinking, quieting my mind was nearly impossible. I’d do a lotus pose, close my eyes, and breathe deeply. But seconds later, my mind would wander, thinking about my job, my kids, and what I plan to cook for breakfast. I couldn’t do it. And so began my research into guided meditation.

The very first meditation app I came across was Headspace. Without reading much about it, I downloaded the app and thus began my mindfulness journey.

I wanted to create this Headspace app review to help readers like you decide whether or not the app is worth it. Though my experience is very personal to my situation, what I have to say can help you determine whether the app is what you’re looking for.

But first, I want to explain the app and what to expect, and then I’ll discuss why it may or may not be for you.

Let’s begin.

What is Headspace?

Headspace App Review

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Headspace is a meditation app with the slogan “Be kind to your mind.” Immediately, you’ll understand that it’s a mission to improve people’s overall mental health.

It’s an app you can download for free on any iOS or Android device, and it also has a desktop version you can access on your PC or laptop. It’s accessible, convenient, and comprehensive.

The app has an extensive library of over 500 guided meditation videos, breathing exercises, low- to medium-impact physical exercises, soundscapes, sleepscapes, and more.

If you want help with your meditation practice, whether you’ve never had any experience before or are an advanced practitioner, you’ll benefit from using Headspace.

About Headspace

About Headspace

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Headspace was founded in 2010 by Richard Pierson and Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. The two met when Pierson took a meditation clinic run by Puddicombe in London.

Puddicombe’s story is quite interesting. He experienced trauma and tragedy early in life, which included the death of friends and family through road accidents. Because of this trauma, he started studying and practicing as a monk, where he spent years in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, and many other places.

He then returned to London, where he worked in a meditation clinic and met Pierson. They realized long meditations didn’t work for the modern population and soon offered short 30-minute sessions. They started offering workshops and conferences but found them too physically and mentally draining, but they wanted to see a way to reach as many people as possible.

To make meditation accessible, they created an app that focused on providing short, quick, and concise sessions as short as 2 minutes. They eventually moved to Venice, California, where they continued to expand the app, which is now one of the top meditation apps in the industry.

They’ve partnered with Virgin Atlantic, which includes Headspace features in in-flight entertainment. They’ve also collaborated with Google and LinkedIn, where their vision of improving mental health in the corporate world is achieved by giving employees access to the app.

The vision was to create a user-friendly, accessible, and science-backed meditation app that both beginners and advanced practitioners could use.

Russell Glass, the CEO of Headspace, states that the company’s ultimate goal is to put the app in the hands of every individual. Glass also emphasizes that the app is heavily dependent on scientific research to ensure it can provide the best and most compelling content possible.

What is the Cost?

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You can download Headspace for free, but there is no free content. You must subscribe to a monthly or annual plan to access videos, articles, and exercises. However, you’ll be given a free trial before being charged for the subscription.

If you get the monthly Plan, you gain a 7-day free trial; if you get the annual Plan, you’ll earn a 14-day free trial. If you don’t like the app before your trial is up, you can cancel the Plan and not get charged. But if you want to continue, you’ll be charged for the cost of the Plan.

Here are the costs:

  • Monthly Plan – $155.88 or $12.99/month
  • Annual Plan – $69.99 or $5.83/month

If you choose the monthly Plan, you’ll be charged $12.99 each month, but if you prefer the annual Plan, you’ll be charged a one-time fee of $69.99, equivalent to $5.83/month.

The monthly Plan is great for anyone who wants to get started but is still determining if you’re willing to use the app for the long term. However, if you’re dead set on practicing mindfulness for an entire year, then the annual Plan is the smarter choice.

What’s the Science Behind Headspace?

Science Behind Headspace

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I wanted to highlight the studies conducted to show the benefits of using Headspace since the company takes pride in having the largest body of peer-reviewed research in the digital mental health industry.

The company boasts over 65 research collaborations and more than 50 peer-reviewed studies. One of these studies was conducted at Northeastern University. The results revealed that users reported a 23% improvement in compassion and a 57% decrease in aggression after using the app.

In a 2022 review, it was revealed that Headspace users reported improved symptoms of depression by 75%, and 40% of studies reported improvements in stress, anxiety, well-being, and mindfulness.

If you visit the app’s website, you’ll discover the following numbers as reported by Headspace users:

  • 32% less stress in 32 days
  • 59% experienced improvements in anxiety symptoms
  • 70% experienced a decrease in depression symptoms

Dr. Joanne Frederick, a licensed mental health counselor and author of the book, “Copeology,” stated in a CNN article that apps like Headspace can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels, boost self-esteem, improve concentration, and self-awareness.

Additionally, research from Lancaster University showed that out of 280 top meditation apps, only Headspace was experientially studied and proven to provide actual benefits. This doesn’t mean, however, that other apps don’t offer similar results. It shows that only Headspace has conducted these studies and that positive results were achieved.

The Four Major Features of Headspace

All of the content in Headspace is divided into these four primary categories, which are:

  • Meditate
  • Sleep
  • Move
  • Focus

Let’s discuss each one:

1. Meditate

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The Meditate category includes guided meditations divided into two subcategories: courses and single programs. The courses are guided meditations divided into 20 subcategories depending on your needs and interests. Some of these include boosting confidence, finding focus, and so on.

The single programs are shorter meditations designed to be quick and for specific purposes, such as conquering pre-flight anxiety or quick meditations for anxiety. Most videos are short and don’t exceed 30 minutes, so they’re easy to digest.

2. Sleep

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The sleep category is designed to help users fall asleep faster and better. It offers sounds, sleep meditations, and a sleep radio that contains soundscapes such as waves, rain, and other music sounds.

There are also 20 different categories for sleep music, which includes breathing exercises and guided sleep meditation.

3. Move

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The move category features low to medium-impact workouts that last between 10 to 30 minutes. These exercises are focused on the mind-body connection and are coached by Olympians Kim Glass and Leon Taylor. They coach through the workout sessions, helping you with breathwork and motivation.

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4. Focus

The Focus category is also the music category, featuring curated music and meditation playlists. They are designed to help you focus and concentrate on your tasks. The category comprises ambient music, white noise, soundscapes, and lo-fi beats.

Headspace offers curated playlists by celebrities such as John Legend, who created a jazz playlist for the app.

Another category on the app is a Kids category for children as young as four. This category features simple breathing exercises, short lessons, and relaxing mindful activities. The app has also collaborated with Sesame Street for this category.

The app also has articles about meditation and mindfulness, covering topics such as coping with tragedy and tragic events, straightforward ways to make meditation a daily habit, breathing exercises to reduce stress, etc.

What to Expect When Downloading Headspace

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Here’s what happened when I downloaded the app:

I have an Android device, so I went to Google Play and installed Headspace. I loved the colorful illustrations and animations. I noticed the app uses a dominant yellow color, which was clever because yellow is the brightest color during the day. In color psychology, yellow is known to stimulate creativity and optimism.

Once you open the app, you’ll be prompted to make an account. I used my Google account to register, and once I confirmed, a screen prompted me to answer a question: “What’s on your mind?”

You could choose between “sleeping better,” “feeling calm and relaxed,” “reducing stress,” “managing anxiety,” “being present and mindful,” etc. I chose “relieve stress” and “feel calm and comfortable.”

The next step was the app making a customized program for me based on my answers. After that, it asked me to choose which Plan I wanted to get: the monthly or the annual Plan. It also offered a free trial once I made a choice.

I didn’t avail of the paid plans immediately because I wanted to see if I could do something on the app without committing to payment terms.

The app still allowed me to explore the interface, which showed the four primary categories: my profile and the homepage, but I couldn’t use anything since all of the content was locked. If I wanted to utilize any of the videos and exercises, I had to input my credit card details to access any of the content, which was a tad disappointing since I wanted to check first if I liked the overall style and design of the app.

So, I chose the monthly Plan, for which I’d be charged $12.99 once my 7-day free trial was up.
I accessed the app’s basics, including a customized program. I received a breathing exercise and a short video for morning meditations, a workout exercise for afternoon activities, and an evening meditation content.

I could also access the blogs and articles, which helped me understand some of my issues. I practiced some breathing exercises, but my favorite part is the Sleep category.

Some soundscapes last for 8 hours, which is perfect for sleeping. I used it to help me and my baby sleep for entire nights, and I love the sleep-guided meditations that helped me relax as I drifted away to sleep.

For now, I’m still on the monthly Plan because I’m not entirely sold on needing help to meditate every day. When I master quieting my mind, I won’t need all these prompts, guides, and features. Well, that’s my goal, anyway.

Pros and Cons of Headspace

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This review section lists the pros and cons based on my experience and other users’ app reviews.

Here are the major pros and cons of Headspace:

Pros of Headspace

  • Accessible on iOS, Android, and desktop
  • Quick and short meditation and breathing exercises for beginners
  • Ability to track progress
  • No video is longer than 30 minutes
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Dedicated category for kids
  • Extensive library of a variety of meditations

Headspace’s main draw is its bite-sized content, designed to offer accessible meditation practices despite busy schedules. It’s also made for beginners who’ve never practiced meditation before or want to start.

The kids category also allows entire families to meditate together, so it’s also an excellent app for teaching kids about relaxation and mindfulness. Most people fail to realize that kids also experience stress, and it can be hard for them to find the means to relax. So, if parents out there want their kids to get started on meditating, Headspace is the perfect app.

Andy Puddicombe says that Headspace is like a gym membership for the mind, and with this app’s accessibility, that has become a reality for the millions of users who use the app for their mindfulness practice.

Cons of Headspace

  • Some advanced practitioners find the videos to be too short
  • It doesn’t have a lot of content for older kids or teens
  • Lack of free content
  • Offerings can be overwhelming for beginners

Though Headspace is ideal for beginners, it’s a slight favorite of advanced mindfulness practitioners. They tend to look for longer content, which Headspace needs to include. Some content could be more varied, which advanced practitioners may find redundant.

The app also focuses on younger kids, and although teens can use the content for adults, some of their issues may not be targeted in this app.

And since it’s more geared towards new meditation practitioners, the extensive content library may be too overwhelming for anyone still beginning their journey.

I found this fine, but I’ve read some reviews that all the added features have made the app too cluttered compared to when they first downloaded it a few years ago.

The Verdict

Headspace is one of the top meditation apps in the industry. Their commitment to making meditation easy and accessible makes them stand out among the hundreds of similar apps today.

They didn’t just make the app out of an idea; its concept is based on the founders’ real-life experiences teaching everyday people how to meditate to improve their mental health and well-being.

Many people find meditation intimidating. Based on experience, it’s not the easiest thing to do. But everyone should know how to meditate because it’s the simplest and most accessible way to reduce stress.

And while there’s therapy, pills, and programs that help us reduce stress and anxiety, these methods can be expensive and inaccessible for many people.

Headspace has succeeded in making meditation accessible and easy to learn. Bite-sized guided meditations and breathing exercises take away the formality and mysticism of mindfulness. They’ve successfully helped integrate mindfulness into the workplace, in travel, and for people at home.

While it may not be the perfect meditation app for many people, it is ideal for beginners, families, and anyone who wants to develop the habit quickly, simply, and conveniently.

headspace logo

Headspace AppReview

4.9 Star Rating with 70M Downloads across all platforms

  • Hundreds of meditation videos, breathing exercises, and podcasts
  • Daily routines & schedules are accessible on the app or website.
  • Diverse Content for Every Mood
  • Engaging and User-Friendly Interface

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Headspace actually good?

Headspace is one of the top meditation apps, with over 70 million members and over 600,000 reviews, and it is available in more than 190 countries. Dubbed pop meditation, the app has made meditation accessible and easier to digest for millions of people, so yes, it’s a perfect app for learning and mastering meditation and mindfulness.

2. Which is better, Headspace or Calm?

Calm is a similar app and Headspace’s main competitor. Both apps offer identical content, such as hundreds of meditation videos, a kids category, soundscapes, and more. Calm, however, offers free content, while Headspace does not. In terms of cost, however, Calm is more expensive.

The answer to this question depends on your needs. If you want to try free content, then Calm is better. But if you like an app great for beginners, Headspace is better since Calm is more targeted to intermediate or advanced mindfulness practitioners.

3. Why is Headspace so expensive?

Headspace employs experts and conducts scientific research to ensure it creates content backed by science and proven to provide results. They also pay meditation coaches and teachers to develop consistently updated content.

It may be expensive or affordable, depending on who you ask. The price is right for me because it helped me establish a meditation habit I wouldn’t have developed without Headspace.

4. How good is the app for mindfulness beginners? Is it worth the membership price?

As I mentioned earlier in this review, I found meditation extremely hard. I’m a natural worrier, and my mind quickly wanders to different places when I’m not doing anything. But you know what? I could relax immediately the first day I used some of the sleep content. You must listen to the videos and music and make it a habit.

And yes, the subscription is worth it because the app helps you develop meditation habits without paying for a private in-person guide or expert.

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