Regaining consciousness with a broken cheekbone and in a pool of blood was Arianna Huffington’s wake up call. In 2007, the media mogul collapsed at work due to exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Since then, Huffington has made it her life purpose to advocate the importance of sleep and highlight work-life balance. So much so, that in 2016 she launched Thrive Global—a company that aims to enhance people’s well-being and health. Recently, she posted a tweet urging Elon Musk to slow down and make sleep a priority. The number of celebrities, athletes, and social media influencers encouraging people to focus on meditation and health are growing. Similarly, businesses now focus on the benefits of mindfulness and the importance of rest. There is increasing recognition that a mindful employee is more productive and engaged, and can, therefore, contribute more to the success of the company.
The Quest for a Lifestyle Supportive of Meditation and Health
Within the context of our complex and fast-paced lifestyle, meditation and health have become an afterthought. We start our day creating a mental note of the things we need to accomplish for the day. People move about hunched over mobile devices checking emails or scrolling through newsfeeds and social media posts. Meals are hurried or taken at work desks. Schedules are packed with tasks after tasks. Downtimes and time outs are far and few.
In a recent study, more than 30 percent of the respondents said they visited a doctor about something stress-related. Similarly, 57 percent of the participants expressed the debilitating and paralyzing effects of stress on their overall well-being.
Fortunately, a movement is beginning to swell. In the U.S., the American meditation market is experiencing a bullish growth. With 9.3 million Americans meditating, the $1 billion dollar industry is helping meditation studios, books, online courses, websites, and apps flourish and succeed in the space.
Meditation and Health: Businesses Responding to People’s Need for Mental Clarity
With the movement towards mindfulness and growing clamor for a clutter-free mental space, a number of companies have stepped up to help in the search for mental clarity.
- Calm – This company recently received its series B financing to the tune of $88 million with valuation totaling to $1 billion. Calm’s app is on its way to becoming the leading meditation and health app with over 40 million downloads all over the world. Its suite of mindfulness tools includes guided meditation sessions, mindful movements and stretches and sleep stories.
- Headspace was founded in 2010 by Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson, and has over 42 million users in 190 countries. Headspace has partnered with world-renowned brands such as Google, Apple, Airbnb and Spotify in providing meditation and health benefits to employees. They’ve thus far raised $75 M, putting valuation at $320M.
- Insight Timer has the biggest app you’ve never heard of—this is according to Insight Timer CEO Christopher Plowman. He further adds, “Every 24 hours in 130 countries our community meditates for ten collective years. On the very same day we stream 250,000 guided meditations, log 150,000 Timer sessions, and welcome 8,000 new meditators to our growing community of five million.”
- Stop, Breathe & Think (SBT) made a meditation app with two separate meditations to cater to adults and teens. In three rounds of funding, they’ve amassed $3M.
- 10% Happier made a meditation app based on a bestselling book “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” by Dan Harris. The app offers a series of meditation courses ranging from mindful eating, to how to be more compassionate, to how meditation benefits the brain.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
We stay physically active and we watch what we eat. Therefore, we must take steps to take care of our psychological well-being. Clearly, mental health deserves the same care that we provide to our physical well-being. With meditation and health, we get to keep our mental space clutter-free. We also develop skills in managing stress, maintain our sense of awe and wonder, learn how to focus and be in the moment. Now that’s what we call true mindfulness.