Headspace’s revamped app helps busy people turn meditation into a habit

After years of struggling to make it part of my daily routine, I’ve started to suspect that if I were mindful enough to remember to meditate, then I probably wouldn’t need to meditate in the first place. To get the attention of people who, like me, spend more time thinking about meditating than they do actually meditating, Headspace has launched a new version of its app with more flexibility—including meditations that can be as short as just one minute.

Subscribers can now set their own time limits for meditations, so they can tailor them to the length of their commute or whenever else they have a few minutes to sit quietly. They can also now switch between packs, or guided meditations that have different themes like “anxiety” or “motivation” (in the previous version of Headspace, users had to finish one pack before beginning another).

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Even very short meditations can be relaxing (and potentially provide long-term health benefits), so these features might help Headspace attract new users, especially people who were curious about meditation but didn’t think they had time to meditate.

Just as importantly, it might also convince them to subscribe. Headspace, which raised a $30 million Series A in 2015, recently made two key hires to increase the number of paid users. In April, the company brought on Robert Lamvik, Spotify’s former director of its Premium service, and Dr. Megan Jones, former chief science officer at Lantern, as head of growth and chief science officer, respectively.

In order to convince people to pay (monthly subscriptions are $12.95), Headspace has to stand out from other meditation apps, including Calm, Pause, Buddhify, the Mindfulness App, Smiling Mind, and Apple’s Breathe for the Apple Watch (to name a few). It’s easy to try out a wide variety of guided meditations without spending any money, but Headspace’s new flexibility is certainly intriguing.