App of the Day: Headspace


Alyson Burton / Illustrator

Edward Ruano

With midterm season in full swing for most Matadors, maintaining a clear mental focus is critical. Whether you’re studying for a math test, finishing a big mid-semester project or working on a term paper, our ability to learn and study effectively relies on our ability to focus. But what happens when this intense mental cramming inevitably leads to stress and burnout? Fortunately, the Headspace app provides a simple solution to distraction-prone students who can’t seem to find peace of mind.

Headspace is a meditation app that provides simple and short guided meditation courses and mindfulness training. The app is accessible, intended for beginners, and designed to work on-the-go—ideal for busy students. It features a clean and friendly user interface, which includes a buddy system that helps users connect with friends and accountability partners.

Since the program works in increments and the sessions gradually escalate in length, it is very approachable to those new to these types of exercises. The first few sessions are only 10 minutes long, before adding an additional 5 minutes every 10 days. After completing the initial 30-day training period, the user unlocks the rest of the Headspace collection, which includes hundreds of hours of content on everything from anxiety and relationships to stress and creativity.

The app also comes with a few short animated videos on how the mind works, and how meditation is scientifically proven to help with stress and building the mental clarity necessary to focus. According to research for the Nature journal, mindfulness meditation has shown many positive effects on cognitive performance and stress. Another report, which reviewed 23 different research studies, linked meditation to boosts in attention, focus, memory and other measures of cognition—all of which are particularly beneficial to students.

Headspace is available on the App Store, the Google Play Store and the Amazon Appstore. The app is free to try, but requires a monthly subscription ($7.99 per month) after 10 days.