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How Social Media is Driving the Accessibility of Meditation

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Here’s how HBO Max, Calm, Headspace, and Snapchat are driving accessibility of meditation and de-stigmatization of mental health.

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Having to practice social distancing can make people feel isolated and lonely, which can fuel spikes in stress and anxiety levels. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With easy and accessible ways to cope with stress, you, your loved ones, and your community can become stronger and prevail on the other side.

Social platforms continue to offer ways to practice mindfulness amidst the uncertainty — a welcomed digital respite for many. Here’s a look at some of the latest efforts building on this trend.

Snapchat’s ‘Headspace Minis’

Back in June, at its 2020 Partner Summit, Snapchat previewed ‘Snapchat Minis’, micro-versions of full apps built within Snapchat itself. This opportunity essentially allows developers to engage within the platform directly rather than prompt users externally to download their own apps.

The first Snapchat Mini to go live? The “Headspace Mini” featuring a mindfulness and meditation tool. In an interesting take on the practice of meditation, typically done solo, the app is looking to use this opportunity to encourage friends to engage in the activity together — stripping it of the fear and discomfort that can sometimes present itself when trying something new. As an added perk – you don’t have to separately install the Headspace app nor be a Headspace subscriber to take advantage.

To access the Mini, toggle to your chat and click on the rocket icon towards the bottom of your screen. This will trigger a Headspace session within the app that the person you’re chatting with can also access. Once they join, you can choose from up to six bite-size meditations ranging from three to four minutes in length to participate in including “Just Breathe,” “Get Out of a Funk,” “Kick the Panic,” “Be Nice to You,” “Pressure to Succeed,” and “Me Time.” All of the sessions are narrated by Hedspace’s co-founder Andy Puddicombe and emphasize the basics of being mindful: abstaining from passing judgment, staying in tune with how you’re feeling, and coming back to your breath.

The chat function is accessible throughout the sessions, but using it will temporarily pause the meditation. There is also a Bitmoji presence in which you will have a friendly avatar in the bottom corner reminding you in the process that you’re not alone.

Share your experiences

Also within the Minis, Snapchat is bringing visual communication to the forefront with fun and interactive “vice check?” and “Snaphow your feel” stickers. Aligned with the mission of a recent campaign by Holler and Ad Council, the goal is to reach a younger demographic and normalize these often complex and difficult conversations.

For meditations specifically, users have the option to share a meditation directly in a Snap via a clickable filter overlaying a selfie. Again, the mission is to facilitate a seamless and shareable experience that makes these practices and dialogues feel more natural. For people who may opt to do a meditation solo, they can simply search for Headspace Minis in the search bar or within the Here for You portal — Snapchat’s hub for mental health education and resources.

Calm x HBO Max: Guided Imageries

Headspace isn’t the only meditation in the game looking to forge meaningful partnerships with platforms or brands. HBO Max recently revealed its effort to build upon its collaboration with the Calm app and the creators of Nutopia in the form of a 10-part series called “A World of Calm” Each half-hour episode will be narrated by A-list stars – including Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, Cillian Murphy, and Keanu Reeves.

“We are delighted to bring the magic behind our audio Sleep Stories to the screen for the first time. These experiences are visual Valium and will help people relax and unwind during these stressful times,” shared Calm Co-Founder and Co-CEO Michael Acton Smith.

Building on Calm’s Sleep Stories, these guided imageries are targeted to enhance how you feel through tranquil music, soothing narratives, and stunning visuals provided by the producers of National Geographic’s One Strange Rock documentary series.

“..This series has been entirely created during quarantine using Nutopia’s worldwide network of award-winning cinematographers and filmmakers. We hope this series of serene stories will bring a sense of much needed calm to audiences,” added Nutopia’s CEO and Founder Jane Root.

As more platforms utilize their communities, partners, and technologies to prioritize mental health, we as marketers have a greater ability to play an integral role in de-stigmatizing mental health. In particular, by demonstrating that with a little bit of practice, we can all be more empathetic listeners even without face-to-face contact.

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